Why every student should study abroad
A semester or year abroad offers a unique opportunity to take your studies to another level. You will experience new ideas, make many new friends and come back with a new perspective on life. Ask any friend or family member who has studied abroad and doubtlessly they will tell you that their time abroad was the most rewarding experience in college. Before taking the leap, be sure to ask yourself important questions before deciding to study abroad. In case you are still unconvinced that studying abroad is for you, here are eight more reasons why you should take the leap:
Eight Reasons to Study Abroad
#1. Study abroad is the optimal way to learn a language.
There is no better or more effective way to learn a new language than to be immersed in it. When you study abroad you will be constantly surrounded by and take part in conversations that will push your abilities to new heights. You may even surprise yourself at how quickly you can learn a new language.
#2. Study abroad provides the perfect opportunity to travel.
Every weekend and academic break will be an opportunity to venture out and explore your surroundings. Don't waste these moments! You never know when and if you will be able to return after graduating. Some study abroad programs also have planned field trips incorporated into the curriculum.
#3. Study abroad allows you to experience another culture first-hand.
Differences in culture are more than just language, food, appearances, and personal habits. A person's culture reflects very deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence their daily life and view of the world. As a study abroad student you will personally experience these cultural differences that will hopefully allow you to come to a better understanding of yourself and others.
#4. Study abroad will help you develop new skills.
Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting is scary at first, but it's also exciting. It's an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities, conquer new challenges, and solve new problems. You will encounter situations that are completely unfamiliar and you must quickly learn ways to adapt and respond.
#5. Study abroad allows you to make friends around the world.
While abroad you will hopefully meet many new people and be exposed to new ideas. You will meet not only natives to the culture in which you are studying, but also other international students studying abroad like yourself. These friendships are an important part of becoming a global citizen and will hopefully stay with you for a lifetime.
#6. Study abroad will help you learn more about yourself.
Students who study abroad will often return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. The experience abroad may challenge you to reconsider your old beliefs and values, or abandon them and embrace new concepts and perceptions.
#7. Study abroad is an opportunity to break out of your academic routine.
Study abroad will be unlike anything that you have experienced so far as a student. You will have the opportunity to experience an entirely new academic system and the chance to take courses that might not be offered on your home campus. Did you ever want to learn how to tango? You won't find a better teacher outside of Argentina!
#8. Study abroad enhances your future employment opportunities.
Currently only 4% of U.S. undergraduates study abroad before graduating and yet the world we live now continues to become more globalized. As economic walls continue to come down it has become increasingly important for businesses large and small to enter the international market. Your study abroad experience will help you stand out from the other 96% of graduates and show employers that you are self-motivated, independent, willing to embrace challenges, and capable of coping with diverse problems and situations.
The greatest things about studying abroad were the wonderful people and the amazing food. - Jeana Delamarter
Current Study Abroad Statistics in the United States
- In 2007/08, 262,000 American students studied abroad in foreign countries. This represents a 8.5% increase in participants from the previous year and a 130% increase in study abroad participation over the last 10 years.
- 36% of study abroad participants study abroad during their junior year. While the junior year continues to be the most popular single time to study abroad, increasing numbers of participants choose to study abroad at another point in their education.
- 65% of study abroad participants each year are female.
- 40% of those studying abroad do so for a semester or a quarter. The majority of study abroad participants choose to study abroad for 8 weeks or less (56%), while only 4% of those studying abroad left for an entire academic year.
- Only 6.2% of students studying abroad are foreign language majors.
Current Statistics of International Students Studying in the United States
- 672,000 international students were enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges in 2008/09.
- Nearly half of all U.S. international students come from one of five countries: India, China, South Korea, Canada, and Japan. Students from Asia make up 57% of the enrolled international students in the U.S.
- The University of Southern California enrolls more international students each year than any other U.S. university. In 2008/09, nearly 7500 students from other countries studied at USC. New York University and Columbia University each hosted about 6700 international students.
- 38% of international students have a declared major in the business and/or engineering fields. Other popular declared majors are the physical and life sciences (9.2%), social sciences (8.5%) and mathematics and computer science (8.4%).