Studying abroad is a great way to find growth, career inspiration, and great experiences, but so many students today don’t get to experience this type of learning. In fact, only 1% of all students enrolled in higher education institutions today choose to study abroad. The cost of travel, fear, and an unwillingness to miss out on precious time at school are major reasons why so many students never go overseas for education, but we’d like to see students overcome these obstacles and enjoy the benefits of learning in another country. Read on to learn why studying abroad is such an important experience, and why many believe that study abroad programs should be required for higher education students today.
There’s no better way to learn a language:
Students today need to be linguistically and culturally competent enough to meet the international demands of business, government, and other institutions. But colleges are struggling to graduate students that can keep up. With a study abroad experience, students are immersed in a new language, and forced to quickly adapt and learn how to communicate, a skill that is highly useful in a variety of situations back home.
Students become more creative:
Whether it’s through entrepreneurship, science, or art, creativity and ingenuity are valuable skills for students to develop, and a great way to do just that is to travel abroad. According to the American Psychological Association, living abroad increases a student’s ability to be more creative.
Study abroad students are simply more employable:
This is especially true for students pursuing careers in business. Employers can appreciate that students have taken the extra step to not just travel abroad, but to study in another country, learning a new language, culture, and way of life.
Medical students can study new illnesses:
Students with international clinical rotation are exposed to illnesses and clinical presentations that they just don’t get access to in their own schools. This is incredibly helpful for public health in the case of pandemics, rare diseases, and unusual presentations.
Improved communication skills:
Studying abroad isn’t just useful for developing language learning; it’s a great way to improve communication skills in general. As students navigate daily life in a foreign country, they learn how to bridge the gap between the communication they’re used to and the way native speakers communicate with one another. This experience is incredibly helpful for learning how to communicate across different cultures, at home and abroad.
An expanded worldview:
You can read books, study photographs, listen to music, and even video-conference with people across the world, but there’s just no substitute for actually being there. Students who study abroad can become more open-minded to the world with an insider’s perspective on another country.
A new perspective on domestic issues:
The country you live in isn’t the only one with great ideas, but sometimes it can be difficult to get exposed to the insight of different countries. Studying abroad allows students to get an understanding of how other countries are dealing with issues like energy and economics, knowledge that can be put to work back home.
Studying abroad improves educational outcomes:
The Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative has discovered that studying abroad, thought by some to be a distraction, is quite good for educational outcomes. They’ve found that students who study abroad, perform better academically upon their return, and tend to graduate at higher rates than their peers who have not studied in another country. Requiring study abroad experiences could be a great way to help retain and improve educational outcomes for at-risk students.