study abroad: benefits and options

Posted : February 5, 2007
Last Updated : October 18, 2021

study abroad: benefits and options

Studying abroad has proven to be an exciting learning experience for many college students. Over the years, students who have chosen to study abroad have said the experiences positively impacted their personal, academic, and professional lives. If you are interested in studying abroad, check out these benefits and program options.


If you decide to study abroad, you will:

  • Become more self-reliant. Because you have to live in a foreign place and interact with foreign people, you develop a sense of independence. Since you don't have the familiars of home, you have to learn to adapt to new surroundings and situations.
  • Improve foreign language skills. Repeated exposure to a foreign language will help you become fluent in the language.
  • Develop a more international perspective. By traveling to a foreign country and experiencing their culture and views, you will be able to see the world from a different perspective. This will help you gain a greater tolerance for other people's opinions.
  • Become more marketable in the workforce. Studying abroad may help you secure a job because you gain skills that employers look for, such as adaptability and confidence.
  • Experience a different way of learning. You may experience an entirely new academic system and have the chance to take courses not normally offered at your current college.
  • Find new interests. Studying in a different country offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home.
  • Make new friendships. Not only will you make friends with other students in your study abroad program, but you will also make friends with the locals. Making friends with the locals will help to expand your perspective even more.
  • Learn about yourself. You will most likely return home from study abroad with new ideas and perspectives about yourself and your own culture. The experience abroad may even challenge you to reevaluate your own beliefs and values.

Program Options

Study abroad programs vary from school to school. Check with your school for specific programs. Here is a list of general options:

  • Exchange Programs. With exchange programs, you study at University X, and a student from University X comes to your college to study. Because there is an even exchange of students, you generally pay the same amount that you would spend on a semester at your own school (i.e. tuition, fees, room and board).
  • Faculty-Directed Programs. With faculty-directed programs, small groups of students are led by professors to explore the cultures, languages, literatures, and history of other countries. Cost and length of these programs vary depending on location and time of year.
  • Co-Sponsored Programs. With co-sponsored programs, students can participate in a number of study abroad programs that are organized by agencies specializing in international education (i.e. Arcadia, CIEE, IES, IFSA, etc.). Students will receive support and services from their college as well as the third party company.
  • Outside Programs. There are a large number of outside companies who offer study abroad opportunities for students. These programs are not affiliated with colleges, so you may or may not receive college credit. While these programs offer the most variety, they are usually the most expensive option.

If you decide to study abroad, check out these tips to ensure you have an enjoyable experience. Contact the study abroad coordinator at your school for more information.

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