Table of Contents
As a parent or guardian, prioritizing your child’s safety and future means making difficult decisions. Letting your child study abroad might be one of them. Studying abroad can be expensive and might seem dangerous or intimidating; you might worry that the experience won’t match up to the expense, or you might fret over the well-being of your child in a new environment. These concerns are valid but studying abroad is more than just risks. Studying abroad provides long-term benefits for your child’s personal, academic, and career development. Before you make the decision, here are some benefits to consider.
Several studies support that study abroad increases self-confidence, independence, global competency, and open-mindedness as noted in this 2016 peer-reviewed journal published by Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.
While abroad, your child will be exposed to new environments and cultures that challenge their perceptions of the world and cultivate open-mindedness. They’ll learn skills and values such as cultural-sensitivity that will help them succeed in an increasingly diverse world. The challenges they face, whether that be accomplishing work, acclimating to a new language, or learning to make their own decisions, promote independence, and increases self-confidence as they prove to themselves they can handle a challenge.
In this 2012 research article on the cognitive benefits of studying abroad, the authors note that students who studied abroad outperformed those who do not plan to study abroad in creativity tests. The results imply an increase in creative thinking that promotes creative solutions, innovations, and novel ideas.
Students who study abroad might find that the experience changes their academic outlook. In this 2013 peer-reviewed journal of Frontiers Journal, one of the benefits found of studying abroad includes the impact the experience has on choosing one’s major.
In another study, published by Florida State University in 2003, participants of study abroad had a “higher rate of graduation, a higher percentage of advanced degrees attained, a shorter time to graduation for the Baccalaureate degree, fewer degree changes after admission for degree recipients, and a higher overall grade point average as compared to the non-study abroad group.”
In a 2012 survey on recent graduate students, The Institute for the International Educational of Students (IES) reported that 84% of the 1,008 survey participants indicated that studying abroad helped them build job skills. In another research conducted in 2011, 90% of respondents reported that their study abroad experience prepared them for the “real world”. Preparation for the “real world” ranges from gained interpersonal skills and global marketplace knowledge to bolstering resumes and anecdotal evidence for real-world experience during job interviews.
Study abroad experiences also “significantly impacts college students’ self-knowledge such as interests, values, and skills, and the capacity to relate self-knowledge to career options,” according to this 2016 peer-reviewed journal. The same students “report having a clearer picture of career goals, interests, and talents, or vocational identity.”
Taking the jump! The decision is tough, but we hope that this information helped guide you. If you’re interested in sending your child abroad, consider one of our programs geared for minority youth.