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Top Reasons To Study Abroad

Top Reasons To Study Abroad


Are you pondering the idea of doing a semester or two of your college studies overseas? Every year, large numbers of people set off to Europe, Asia, Africa, and other far-off destinations to spend a few months or an entire year to study abroad. The benefits are numerous and nearly everyone who studies overseas enjoys the experience. But, there’s a serious side to the endeavor.




That’s because study abroad programs help attendees develop foreign language skills, often come with lower tuition costs, broaden students’ cultural knowledge, add to any resume and serve as excellent sources of networking. There’s an additional advantage and that’s the fun factor. Living and studying in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most who do it. Here are a few pertinent details about why people choose to travel abroad during college and complete a summer, semester, or entire year of classes.


Language Skills

Perhaps the number one reason for heading abroad is to acquire or sharpen language skills. This is particularly true for programs based in Spain, Mexico, France, Germany, China, Japan, and South America. Many schools encourage foreign language majors to do at least a summer abroad session to hone their skills in a place where the core language is spoken, like France or Spain. But business and liberal arts majors also choose to matriculate overseas to acquire basic language skills. After graduation, most discover that it’s easier to land a high-quality entry position if they speak a second language. This is especially true for grads who want to teach at the college level or wish to find jobs in international business.


You Can Afford It

Don’t fall for the myth that if you choose to study abroad, you won’t be able to get a student loan. The vast majority of government and private loan programs treat overseas expenses exactly the same as they do domestic educational costs. Lenders are only interested in making sure the abroad program is approved by your original institution. When you take out an education loan to cover degree program expenses, it may be enough for some or even all of the costs. Remember that a large number of foreign exchange schools overseas charge lower fees than your domestic institution. For some students, that means they can get by with borrowing slightly less when they head to a distant country to earn a semester or full year’s academic credit.


Cultural Knowledge

Spending several months or an entire year in a foreign nation has a way of broadening a person’s horizons. For so many former abroad-program alumni, the cultural experience is what they remember most. The world is a big place, and there can be great value in seeing how others live, work, and play. Students who enroll in overseas programs in Asia, Russia, and Africa learn lifelong lessons about the variations of the human experience.


Resume Enhancement

There’s a practical side to studying abroad, and it’s related to your future job search. While resume enhancement is not the sole reason for doing a semester in places like Tokyo, Madrid, or Paris, it’s hard to deny the value of this single line item on a resume. Hiring agents are usually impressed by the fact that applicants traveled to a foreign nation for a part of their degree program. If nothing else, including year abroad program participant on your resume can set you apart from dozens of others who might be applying for the same job. Be ready to answer an interviewer’s questions about why you made the choice and what you learned from it.



There’s no law against enjoying college, and people who do a semester or two in far-off locales can have a lot of fun while they learn. It’s no surprise that many graduates return to their study countries later in life to work, live or vacation. Some of the best work life balance nations are full of post-collegiate travelers who stayed to start their careers. A majority of non-Japanese business professionals in Tokyo got their first exposure to the country as college exchange students.



One of the secrets of international study is that it can be an incredibly efficient way to develop a professional network. Making contacts with professors, foreign nationals, and business people while you’re still an undergraduate in a foreign nation can help jumpstart your after college network. Make a point to be social, get to know instructors in your field of discipline, join professional societies when possible, and make friends. Then, once you return home, stay in contact with as many of those people as possible. If you want to return to the country to work after graduation, the networking list will become an indispensable tool in finding a good job.