Almost all students realize how beneficial studying abroad can be. By traveling internationally, you can build your resume or earn academic credits, step out of your comfort zone, gain a new perspective on life, and meet new people! You discover more about yourself, your skills, and your interests. Thinking of all these perks could excite you, especially when you think about new foods to try, the different cultures waiting to be explored, the uniqueness of their people, the variety of fashion preferences, and the list goes on.
But did you know that more employers favor professionals that had global exposure through their college programs? In support of this trend, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act of 2017 was crafted to enhance college study abroad program accessibility. It was reviewed and forwarded to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 341,751 US students were studying abroad for credit. These figures demonstrated an increase of 1.6%. Among all students attending universities in the United States, this represents about 1.8 percent, and among those who have graduated from colleges and universities, about 10 percent. Nearly 40% of the companies surveyed reported that they had missed international business opportunities due to a lack of international talent. Considering the rise of globalization in all fields and industries, more students and future company workers should be encouraged to participate and experience life abroad.
Top Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad
There are thousands of students traveling across country borders, continents, and oceans to study abroad. But one question remains: what are the reasons for so many students choosing to study at universities abroad?
You can find a good job, improve your social life, and even find a great job abroad if you study overseas. Let’s explore the ultimate perks of studying abroad below:
It makes you learn about different cultures.
Many international students enjoy studying abroad because they have the opportunity to become immersed in a completely different culture. It’s different from watching travel shows and online videos when you get to witness rich cultures right in front of your eyes. You will gain insight into a culture other than your own and meet people who have grown up in a different environment.
In addition to trying new foods, listening to traditional music, enjoying local activities, and learning about your host culture, living abroad offers you so much more. You can even compare your own culture and realize that there could be similarities too. This is a fun journey for you to become culturally educated.
It lets you learn a new language.
Learning a foreign language presents one of the biggest benefits of studying abroad, regardless of how extremely challenging it can be! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back home to your country with bilingual or multi-lingual skills?
On the contrary, if you wish to polish up your English skills, studying in a country such as the USA or the UK can be very advantageous due to the universal nature of English. Studying in English and speaking to locals will give you a chance to develop your language skills more and more.
It opens many career opportunities.
A degree is generally acquired to improve one’s career prospects. A globalized and well-connected world makes international experience and education increasingly valuable to employers. When you study abroad, you learn new languages, gain insight into foreign cultures, overcome the challenges of living in another country, and develop a worldly perspective. Modern businesses look for all these characteristics when hiring new employees, and the importance of such traits will only grow in the years to come. Nowadays, many companies are looking for global-minded people who have had many realizations and experiences gathered in multiple or other countries.
It challenges and makes you grow as a person.
Like all other things, it’s worth pointing out that living and studying abroad is not all about rainbows and butterflies. There are several obstacles to overcome when studying abroad. It’s not easy to go overseas to study, but that’s what makes the experience fun and memorable. These trials will test and strengthen your character.
Leaving your homeland can be intimidating; being homesick is completely natural. Experiential learning happens when you step outside your comfort zone. Once you get accustomed to your new environment, the fun and excitement linger more than homesickness.
It provides you top-quality education.
You will always want to get the highest quality education, regardless of where you study. International students have much more study options than domestic students. With many studies abroad programs available at your disposal, it can be confusing and tricky which one to enroll.
Some of the world’s top universities are located in the UK, the United States, and Australia. You can explore your options from those countries if they’re the destinations you’re thinking of attending.
It allows you to travel and explore other places.
Additionally, you will have the chance to visit nearby countries while studying in your study destination. Making side trips will always be part of your study abroad journey. Make the most of your free days and try to book a trip somewhere near or beside your foreign city.
This is why studying abroad offers an unparalleled learning experience and the chance to see more of the world. You will develop a worldview and character after visiting other parts of the world and prepare for life in the global world. You’ll be going back home filled with realizations, open-mindedness, and lifelong learnings.
It grows your social circle.
Regardless of where you attend university, you’ll meet lots of new people and make friends with people who share your interests. By studying abroad, you will meet people from all over the world and learn about their cultures and customs. You could even establish relationships that are worth keeping for a lifetime. Some friends you’ll meet become your business partners in the future or the closest friends you’ll ever have.
You can live, learn, and travel with your friends during your university studies, leading to lifelong friendships. You can also gain a huge amount of knowledge by knowing people from different countries worldwide. Imagine going abroad in the future, and knowing a friend who can help you with your tour or some important facts.
It teaches you to be independent.
The university years are often hailed as when students become truly independent of their parents and families. This even holds more truth when you study abroad. You’re all on your own, so you have to be responsible for all your obligations and commitments.
In the end, becoming independent is a challenge in and of itself. However, you will be better prepared for a successful career as an independent, adventurous adult after you live and study in another country.
Is it Worth It to Study Abroad?
Studying abroad can allow students to communicate with people from different cultures, no matter their career goals. Educators, entrepreneurs, and future leaders must also be well versed in intercultural competencies in this globalized economy. You get to advance your level more than your competitors when you have this specific advantage.
Students can usually find study abroad options that match their academic major or language requirements at colleges that offer the best study abroad programs. You can select different countries and check which programs and majors they’re famous for. You have many options, so all you need to do is maximize your research tools and resources, and you’ll find the best study program for you.
What You Should Know Before Studying Abroad
Traveling abroad is an entirely different experience, and studying abroad is even more difficult – partly because of the thorny issue of student visas. It is important to be prepared to cope with less tangible aspects of studying abroad, such as emotional turmoil and homesickness. Consider the following variables before choosing to study abroad:
One primary consideration is the cost of studying abroad, which will significantly depend on the program chosen. Costs are comparable to or even higher than tuition at American universities, and students must pay for flights, too.
How do you reduce your expenses?
- Check with your college or university about funding. Make sure your current scholarship covers your study abroad experience as well. You may also be able to get special funding for studying abroad through your school. Or you may check the financial aid options offered by a third-party program before you enroll.
- Next, look for scholarships outside of your school. Some scholarship programs give away tuition money worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. You just need to apply and check out their eligibility requirements. There are many other scholarships that you can find by doing some research.
- And, more good news: Many countries offer free or very affordable tuition rates to students considering attending a foreign university. Germany, Iceland, and Norway are countries where students can enroll in universities without paying a penny intuition. College can also be attended for about 1,500 euros a year in Austria, Greece, and Hungary.
Studying abroad can be perceived as a dream come true for anyone. The reality is that it is not all smooth sailing. Some students start with enthusiasm but then develop anxiety before departing and have difficulty adjusting to the new environment and people. Some experience culture shock that could even last for months.
Dealing with these different rides of emotions could be hard. Participate in your host institution’s activities to overcome homesickness. In most universities, events are organized for new international students. Help yourself deal with the new environment by checking around and see events organized for freshies and ex-pats. Moreover, there are often regular events hosted by international and ex-pat groups on Facebook. You won’t dwell on feeling homesick if you keep yourself busy and make new friends.
You learn a few words and phrases no matter where you are, even if you don’t study the language. Foreigners are appreciated when they speak the local language, making integrating into society a little easier. Explore the city, go for walks, and talk to locals and learn about the city. It will only be a matter of time when you’d feel right at home in your new foreign city.
Paperwork and Requirements
The experience of studying abroad is exhilarating. Nonetheless, before you fly, you have to do some tedious paperwork. Check out your program’s requirements ahead of time so you’re prepared. Here are some general things to expect:
- Ensure that your passport is valid for a long time, at least. This will save you the hassle of renewing it while you’re in a foreign country.
- The country where you want to study will also need to grant you a student visa. Typically, an application must be filled out and supporting documents gathered.
- To prove that you won’t overstay your visa, you may have to purchase round-trip tickets in advance.
- Additionally, some countries require records of immunizations and health insurance so take care of these aspects too.
Additionally, remember to take other factors into account. Consider whether your phone plan covers international roaming fees and how your health insurance works abroad. A place to live is also necessary if your study-abroad program doesn’t handle housing for you. Check all of your documents and paperwork so that your journey abroad will be smooth and trouble-free.
Different Types of Study Abroad Programs
Programs for studying abroad come in a variety of formats. Choose the program that is a good match for your interests and goals. Some of the most popular forms of the program are listed below.
College learners can choose from a wide range of programs offered by third-party organizations. Usually, these experiences are structured, so students enroll in required courses and stick with their cohort for weekend trips and cultural experiences. Students are also usually provided with accommodations, and fees cover many expenses that arise daily.
Many US universities and colleges offer study abroad programs. The host country might have study-abroad centers or agreements with higher education institutions abroad. Universities sometimes assign courses to students, but in other cases, students set their schedules. Students can also transfer foreign courses back to their home universities by asking professors to approve them. Accommodations and group treks can often be pre-arranged. Non-English-speaking students can enroll in courses in foreign languages, as well.
These opportunities provide students with another means of integrating into the local culture. If they go somewhere like England or Australia, they will take classes with students from that country, either in the host country’s language or in English. Additionally, students are responsible for their finances and housing. This is the path students take when they enroll for their entire degrees at a foreign university, but they can also study abroad for a semester or a year.
Additionally, you can find experiences outside of the categories listed above. The students may attend classes onboard a cruise ship while exploring countries along the way. Furthermore, students can apply to internship programs, work experiences, and research funding abroad.
Which Countries Are Best for Studying Abroad?
According to Open Doors, studies abroad are most popular in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Students studying art history and design often choose France as a study abroad destination. The Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican are leading destinations outside of Europe, partly because their cultural significance in American history and culture is notable.
A student’s preferred destination for studying abroad depends on their personal goals and professional aspirations. Identifying if a program meets a student’s degree requirements will narrow the list of programs available. Choosing the right study abroad program is also a matter of consideration for tuition, scholarships, and the general cost of living in the destination.
Best Colleges With Great Study Abroad Programs
As a private research university whose campus encompasses nearly 9,000 acres, Duke University was founded by Methodists and Quakers in 1838. It boasts a marine laboratory, a botanical garden, a historic chapel, and a 210-foot-high tower. There are currently 15,000 enrollees at Duke University, and they all could study abroad in countries like Singapore and China and with many more research and education programs in other countries.
Under the university’s management, Duke University offers undergraduates international and domestic study abroad through the Global Education Office (GEO). Duke in China and Duke in France are the oldest programs that have already lasted 25 years. The university now offers semester and summer programs to study abroad in as many as twenty countries. Despite Duke’s offerings, you may request faculty approval for a program of your choice if you are not satisfied with any of them. A study abroad fee of $4,580 for Duke-approved (external) programs; however, semester financial aid is available for all programs. The Stephenson Pope Babcock Scholarships are available to students who apply to a program administered by Duke. These scholarships are available to students applying to college-administered programs. During the Global Education Fair held annually, the school displays all of its study abroad resources. It is also a place for interaction with fellow students and the program personnel.
This private, nonprofit liberal arts college located on a campus in the heart of Hartford, Connecticut, is the second oldest in the state and has 2,192 full-time undergraduate students and 39 academic programs. Through its Office of Study Away, Trinity offers nine-semester study abroad programs in different countries.
Before graduating, Trinity University students study abroad in more than 60 countries. Student lengths of study abroad programs differ depending on program models, but students have the option to go abroad in the summer for as little as three weeks or the full academic year. This is as flexible as it can be, so you’ll be able to plan out your study abroad program by yourself. In Trinity’s year-long and semester-long college-directed programs, students can take core courses, electives, internships, independent studies, and community service projects led and taught by faculty members at Trinity and hosted universities. Trinity has had a Rome Campus operating since 1970, with about 60 participants attending each summer, spring, fall, and winter session for courses, field seminars, internships, and academic excursions. Student Ambassadors at the college are available to help students new to the concept of studying abroad with their pre-departure travel preparation.
Study abroad programs at NYU are some of the best globally, with campuses in over 15 countries worldwide. Prague, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires are some cities available to study for undergraduates. Students can also study abroad in Accra, Ghana, directly or through urban/metropolitan studies coursework.
Students at NYU have options for traditional overseas experiences and summer and January programs specifically designed for first-year students. Additionally, London offers a master of arts program in historical and sustainable architecture. Real estate development is the subject of this program. So there are a lot of study overseas offerings you can enjoy from New York University. The tuition, financial aid, and credit from NYU’s international campuses can be transferred to students studying abroad. You can explore different funding opportunities from this institution.
Colorado College is a historically black, liberal arts college founded in 1874. The college operates a unique block schedule, in which students have the liberty to take one course each time in which they could select from a pool of 80 majors and minor programs. In addition to earning credit, completing service work, and conducting research in international fields, their unique plan allows a high percentage of students studying overseas to travel abroad for a week, semester, or even for a full year.
CC’s study abroad program is ranked the second-best among all colleges because of the number of different programs and countries. Students can have their credits for Spanish courses abroad from a semester program that includes travel to some countries in South America. Students who wish to study abroad at the University of Regensburg or the University of Göttingen for a long term should inquire about full scholarships offered to German university students. Some academic year block programs also include interesting ones, so feel free to inquire from the educational institution about their offerings.
A liberal arts college is ranked first as the best school for studying abroad, as all of its students complete an overseas experience. That’s nothing short of amazing as all of their students have international experiences. In Baltimore, Goucher College believes gaining an international experience is crucial to every student’s success and future career paths.
All undergraduate students are required to study abroad to cultivate this perspective. Students typically complete this requirement during their third grade as an undergraduate. However, some opportunities are open to first-year students as well. So if you enroll as a freshman in this institution, you can start your international experience as early as possible.
There are many options at Goucher College. They offer students the chance to learn about a different culture in a short period. But there are also options where you can study for a full academic year overseas. Choose from over 50 study abroad programs, including language, arts, and environmental programs. Whatever field of study you’re interested in, they will have something great to offer. There are also international internship opportunities. More than 32 countries host Goucher College students, including almost all the continents in the world. Some countries you may want to apply to are Australia, Russia, South Africa, Israel, and Germany.
In addition to placing highly on the list of schools with the most international students from US News and World Report, Goucher College has also received recognition from highly respected publications. The Princeton Review has also praised Goucher College and high rankings. Careful planning is a major part of Goucher College’s success in study abroad. If you want to enroll in an overseas study program that is hassle-proof, you may go for Goucher College for sure. A Study Abroad 101 Session covers opportunities in general, and a Study Abroad 102 Session explores specific programs and travel opportunities.
The academic options Arcadia University offers will fit your needs in terms of studying abroad. At least 130 study abroad programs are available, with subjects ranging from biology to art and literature. Students from universities across the United States can study abroad through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies and Arcadia undergraduates.
There are about 14 countries that you can select to travel to. Multiple country programs are also available if you have trouble deciding on one nation to study in during your studies. With Arcadia, we offer programs that balance learning inside and outside the classroom, helping you acquire life skills like problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and leadership. A group of 17 students from Arcadia University sailed to Europe in 1948 to study the post-World War II economy, launching the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University, which has hosted more than 65,000 students from colleges and universities across the country.
While Arcadia University does not force all its learners to study abroad, it does strive to ensure that every student interested in them can easily gain access to the experience. The College of International Studies at Arcadia University provides scholarships to approximately 70 percent of students who study abroad. Scholarships can be awarded a maximum amount of $2,500.
A private Ivy League research university established in 1769, Dartmouth College boasts a proud history of pre-Colonial America. Undergraduate college offers nearly 45 departments and programs, but the university receives more than 20,000 applications and accepts only 1,000 students on average.
More than 50 percent of Dartmouth’s student body participates in off-campus academic programs before graduating. This off-campus program it offers is deeply woven into the college’s curriculum because of faculty involvement. Dartmouth University offers four study abroad programs that are eligible for credit. Scholarships are available on the college’s website; 12 require endorsements or nominations from the school. With a maximum of $3,000 available funding, which can be obtained from more than 20 different college-sponsored opportunities, they offer non-credit international internships and fellowships. Global Insight Expeditions offer students short-term programs in specific study areas. Dartmouth offers so many study abroad opportunities indeed.
As well as being the oldest coed school in the state, St. Lawrence University offers many unique characteristics. Among its first programs for first-year students was one of the oldest in the United States. The semester abroad in Kenya program at St. Lawrence University ran for 40 years, a span of 40 years – one of the longest-running programs for sending students to Africa.
A total of 25 off-campus programs are offered by the Patti-McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies for students from 19 different nations. In addition to programs in Kenya, England, Senegal, and Spain, St. Lawrence University offers programs in New York City, the Adirondacks, and Boston. Homestay accommodations are included in most of these programs. Other programs also allow you to travel to other countries like Denmark, Thailand, Japan, Jordan, India, Czech Republic, Austria, New Zealand, and Australia.
The university offers several study abroad options in the summer and other semesters, but more than half spend more than a month overseas. During the international study experience, students pay regular tuition and fees instead of a study abroad fee. Additional travel expenses, however, such as airfare, are their responsibility. St. Lawrence University was named one of America’s best universities for study abroad because of the breadth of its study abroad opportunities.
US News & World Report and the Institute of International Education awarded Elon University a top ranking for its study abroad program. The university was also named the most innovative school in America and was tied for first place among Best Colleges for Vets and Regional Universities by US News. They have had a popular record of sending 72% of their students overseas during the 2014 academic year. This indeed is an unbeatable record.
Students at Elon University have the option to study abroad in a variety of ways. The school runs nearly 100 semester-long programs that take students to faraway lands throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, South America, and different cities and states all over the US.
At Elon University, you can also take short-term courses. The Winter term may include a three to four-week overseas trip. Three to six weeks are typically covered by a summer study abroad program. Students who want to travel but cannot be away from home so long can take a semester-long course on travel at the college’s North Carolina campus and complete a trip abroad during a semester break. Through the Independent Elon Program Abroad (IEPA), students can also do an internship or independent research project.
Interested students may contact the Carleton College Office of Off-Campus Studies for assistance with study abroad arrangements. There are several faculty-led studies abroad programs available at various times of the year and in various subjects. You may opt to study ecology in Australia, London, India, or Chile as these are the recent famous study overseas options. In addition, students can attend educational travel courses at destinations across the country to learn about art, political science, and history.
The private college has a long tradition of encouraging and facilitating study abroad opportunities to offer various international study opportunities. The percentage of students studying abroad varies wildly from 70 to 100 percent for one single graduation class at Carleton College.
Carleton College provides a comprehensive fee that includes tuition, living arrangements, making it easy to estimate the cost of a study abroad experience. The money that students pay should only cover travel costs to and from the academic program and their study materials. Also available to students are numerous grant and scholarship opportunities. Furthermore, Carleton College also excels in providing study abroad opportunities to all of its students.
More than 2,200 students at Susquehanna University, a private liberal arts university with more than 100 academic programs and small classes, receive financial aid in 96 percent of cases. The global Opportunities Program (GO) at Susquehanna University is a core university curriculum offering study abroad programs in domestic and international settings.
With SU, students can choose short, long, or individualized programs that include university-hosted and externally provided options. External providers already have academic credit approved by the university for many programs. The Go Your Own Way program allows students to design their own two-week or longer study abroad trips through research and the guidance of an advisor. You can design your own overseas journey. Study abroad opportunities at Syracuse University are facilitated by IIE, which gave SU the highest award in 2013 to promote cultural competency among students. Students can apply for a GO Short Grant during a GO Long semester and keep their traditional financial aid during this time. On the study abroad webpage of the school, the Financial Aid section provides a list of the least expensive semester programs offered by each region. GO Short trips fulfill two semester credit hours even after the GO requirement has been met, while the GO Long trips can cover two semester credit hours.
Lee University is a Christian school that offers a religious worldview centered in Christ and offers ample opportunities to travel. The Global Perspectives program at the private school requires students to gain international experience. Approximately 75 percent of the Lee University batch in 2014 achieved a study abroad experience. However, the remaining participants employed nontraditional study abroad programs or traveled cross-culturally through military or missionary groups.
Lee University offers their staple study abroad experience in the United Kingdom during the spring season for those interested in studying there for an entire semester. During the 10-week course, students will travel to sites across the United Kingdom and study topics related to cross-cultural studies.
In addition to over 30 short trips, Lee University professors offer short trips across almost all continents of the world, which take place during semester breaks. Through the individually arranged studies options, students can tailor their experience abroad to their needs.
Lee University’s Christian affiliation goes beyond the practice of faith. Religious studies and religion must be part of the core curriculum for all students. After graduating from Lee University, all students will have completed enough courses in religion to earn a minor in religion. Aside from its mission, the school’s cross-cultural requirements exhibit its Christian affiliation. Global World’s Fair, held annually by the school to highlight the different study abroad options and trips available, helps students choose the right study abroad program.
The University of Delaware was founded in 1743 and currently has over 20,000 students enrolled across seven colleges throughout Delaware. UD started America’s first study abroad program in 1923; its students can study abroad in more than 40 countries.
According to The Princeton Review’s list of the best study abroad colleges for 2017, UD is the most affordable college. UD offers foreign exchange programs with one week (spring break) to a full semester. The University of Delaware can help you have an internship in any country you prefer. Wherever you want to study, UD will be happy to lend a hand. In addition to offering scholarships, IGS’s Delaware Diplomat program helps students afford these trips. The program pages for each program list the likely course options available to students. Several programs offer students an internship and academic credits simultaneously, others offer multiple countries during the semester, and others offer both.
Off-campus education is important at Calvin College, another Christian school. This school was founded in 1876. Fall and spring semesters each last four months, and in between, the interim term lasts one month. When it comes to international education, students can choose from several options in this schedule. Calvin College students can take a semester-long or interim study abroad program, and 75% of them take the program.
School offers 11 off-campus programs run by faculty for students who would like to study abroad for an entire semester. You have many destinations of choice. Students can also opt to explore studying domestically in other cities, for example.
Three weeks is the average length of an interim study abroad experience, as opposed to a semester. School faculty often plan trips to about 25-30 locations. From teaching foreign languages to studying foreign cultures and ancient history, studying abroad can cover many topics. Several interim programs concentrate on domestic travel to areas in the United States, such as Hawaii, Montana, and Washington, DC. As well as offering an interim study abroad opportunity during the summer, Calvin College also offers a study abroad opportunity over the summer.
The school’s transparency regarding access to overseas trips is one thing that sets it apart. Both interim and semester study abroad opportunities are described in detail according to how the cost is calculated. In addition, student options are explained so students are aware of what they can expect. In some cases, Calvin College students may only have to pay $100 more for studying abroad than the price they would already be paying for campus-based studies.
This liberal arts college was established in 1911. It has nearly 2,000 students, 56 majors and minors, and 56 certificates. In addition to its study-away programs, Conn’s Global Focus oversees external programs approved by the college, which send over many students abroad each year.
NAFSA: Association of International Educators has awarded Connecticut College. Students seeking to study abroad in a foreign country while learning a language can take advantage of the small college’s 11 language programs. A potential internship or summer research project can be funded by Conn with up to $3,000 towards travel abroad or domestic. During their sophomore year, Conn sophomores will plan their expeditions. Student Away offers a convenient website with resources and timelines to help them get started. Conn’s programs are diverse, both academically and culturally.