How students can benefit from study abroad programs
Study abroad program participation understandably dipped in recent years as the world confronted a global pandemic, during which many countries closed their borders to non-residents for a period of time. In fact, according to NAFSATM: Association of International Educators, the number of students from the United States studying abroad in the 2020-21 academic year declined by 91 percent from the year prior. Since then, the world has largely returned to normal, and that means tens of thousands of students are once again considering study abroad programs.
Participation in a study abroad program can be a life-changing experience for young students. As students and their families consider study abroad programs, they can consider these notable benefits of signing up to study overseas.
· Experience a foreign culture: The chance to experience foreign cultures firsthand compels many students to study abroad each year. Data from NAFSATM indicates that 44 percent of American study abroad students study in just five countries: Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland. But study abroad programs are active in just about every corner of the globe. That means study abroad participants can experience foreign cultures similar to their own or go to school in countries with cultures vastly different from their own homeland.
· Enhance your career prospects: Study abroad programs can help students enhance their career prospects after graduation. NAFSATM notes that a 2014 survey found that nearly 40 percent of companies indicated they missed out on overseas business opportunities due to a lack of personnel capable of working abroad. Students who study abroad can stand out in crowded applicant pools, particularly among employers looking to expand their international operations.
· Build networks: Networking is perhaps more valuable to professionals than ever before. Students who enroll in study abroad programs may ultimately graduate with both domestic networks and international networks through their universities at home and abroad. Career placement offices at both schools can help students connect with alumni and professionals. In addition, students can build relationships with professors and fellow students they meet while studying abroad, further expanding their professional and personal networks.
· Improve your earning potential: The Institute for the International Education of Students, also known as IES Abroad®, reports that its alumni earn an average of $6,000 more in starting salaries compared to recent college graduates in the United States. That's a significant benefit for students on the cusp of graduating who will have to confront a rising cost of living that has made it as challenging as ever for young adults to establish their financial independence.
Study abroad programs have much to offer. Students who enroll in such programs may find the benefits of studying overseas pay dividends for the rest of their lives.