Study abroad programs provide a rare insight into a country’s culture and people. Today’s global economy means that people of all cultures work and live together. Students who study abroad, particularly those who participate in full immersion programs, learn about a country’s educational system, work ethic, social structure and distinct perspectives.
Research conducted by the International Education of Students (IES) found that students who studied abroad felt that their time in a different country was a defining moment and forever impacted their lives. Personal growth was a significant factor, with 97% saying that studying abroad increased their maturity level, 96% saw an increase in self-confidence and 73% said their experience influences decisions they make within their own families.
Studying abroad also increases awareness and respect for the economic and political systems of different countries. The IES researchers found that 98% of students who studied abroad felt that the experience helped them understand and define their own cultural values and question their biases.
Studying Abroad Opens Doors
Lasting friendships and contacts are made when studying abroad. Nearly all subjects in the research conducted by IES engaged in international volunteerism or work after completing the program. Business contacts are made as well, often resulting in overseas careers. Few educational experiences yield as many benefits as a semester or more in a study abroad program.