Study Abroad Student Handbook
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Center for Global Education

Why Study Abroad?

Global terrorism highlights the importance of international safety issues and the need for a U.S. citizenry capable of understanding and working with people. Even in a time of added caution and uncertainty, study abroad remains a beneficial and safe way to enhance a student's education and promote self-growth. According to former U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige:

Complex global interactions, once reserved for the diplomatic corps, are today the stuff of everyday business deals and cultural exchanges. If we expect students to navigate international waters, we need to give them an international education that meets the highest standards...

Study abroad is one way that U.S. students are best introduced to the cultures and citizens of the world. By spending the time abroad, students learn the language, culture, and philosophy of others. Study abroad affords students the opportunity to be ambassadors, set an example, help break down stereotypes and prejudice, and learn while living with others. However, experiencing personal growth through study abroad comes with personal challenges.

One challenge for the study abroad student is a lack of consistent policies and procedures in place by study abroad program providers. According to Gary Rhodes, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Global Education:

The only thing I can guarantee about the many study abroad programs and different study abroad program providers, and their policies, procedures and support services is that they are all very different. Some colleges and universities have a 40-80 person infrastructure, while others have no full-time study abroad program administrators. No national organization exists which review, evaluates, and approves or rejects programs or support services in study abroad. This lack of regulation accentuates the need for participants and their families to look closely at the programs available, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of their support services.

Parents and participants must be prepared for both the best and worst case scenarios that could happen abroad. When you were deciding which university or college to attend, you and your parents carefully considered the pros and cons of the academic programs and student services each institution could provide. We urge you to take the same time and effort in selecting your study abroad program. To better insure your health and safety abroad, try to evaluate every aspect of the program you choose.

Is studying abroad worth the time and money?

In today’s economy, students are primarily concerned about employment after graduation. In a highly competitive job search, students need to market themselves and network. Furthermore, you must gain employable skills such as cross-cultural communication, collaboration, and adaptability. Regardless of industry or profession, entering the workplace involves solving complex problems and working with diverse people. By studying abroad, you will gain work-related skills that recruiters seek.

  • 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills such as curiosity, problem- solving skills, tolerance, and confidence
  • 64% of employers think international experience is important for recruitment
  • 64% of employers say graduates with international background are given greater professional responsibility
  • University of California survey found 97% of students got a job within 12 months after graduation compared to 49% of their peers and earn 25% more

Why is study abroad essential?

New technologies have influenced the way nations and firms trade goods, provide services, invest capital, and organize operations. As a result, there is greater interdependence among companies and nations. For people to successfully compete in a global economy, private and public sectors need employees with cross-cultural competence and foreign language skills. Companies can lose business as a result of language and cultural deficiencies or ignorance. Businesses need people with effective communications skills in building relationships with clients, customers, and suppliers.

  • By 2025, 45% of the world’s largest companies will probably be based in emerging markets
  • 40% of U.S. Companies missed international business opportunities due to a lack of internationally competent personnel
  • 95% of consumers live outside the U.S.
  • International trade creates and supports jobs in the U.S. More than 1 in 5 American jobs are tied to international trade

Without a doubt, studying abroad offers you the opportunity to experience different cultures, learn new languages, and enhance your college education. But as you analyze the statistics, you realize studying abroad is more valuable and worth the investment.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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