study abroad: benefits and options

Posted : February 5, 2007
Last Updated : July 29, 2013

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.
  • 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.

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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