If the question “why study abroad?” has crossed your mind, you’ve probably done preliminary research to discover the benefits of studying abroad. During said research, you’ve likely come across reviews from study abroad alums describing their experiences as “life-changing.” While that’s quite the high praise, a 2022 survey exploring the long-term impact of study abroad overwhelmingly shows the personal, professional, and academic benefits study abroad students gain from their programs do, in fact, change their lives.
According to the survey, 96% of students said study abroad increased their self-confidence; 95% said going abroad impacted their worldview; and 95% shared their time abroad helped them mature. These are only some of the many lasting benefits study abroad can have on your life overall.
From setting your career up for success in today’s increasingly globally diverse world to forming friendships all around the globe that’ll last a lifetime, you’ll end your CIEE program with numerous advantages of study abroad that are sure to positively benefit your future wherever you go next in life.
Discover Our Top 7 Benefits of Studying Abroad in College
1. You’ll connect with new cultures and languages.
One of the key benefits of studying abroad is being able to immerse yourself in a culture that’s different from your own. Maybe you’ll choose to study in Spain and live with a host family to learn how they cook authentic paella. Perhaps you’ll choose to study abroad in Sydney where you’ll learn about the Aboriginal culture that dates back more than 60,000 years ago. Maybe you’d like to study abroad in Jordan and visit Petra, home to Al-Khazneh, one of the oldest and most magnificent structures on the planet. Regardless of where you choose to go, one of the main benefits of studying abroad is connecting with new cultures, people, art, values, fashion, and more.
In the vein of making connections, studying abroad will also help you build new (or strengthen your existing) language skills in a native-speaking country. Being fully immersed in a culture that primarily speaks their native language is one of the most effective ways to develop and improve your foreign language skills. Whether you want to refine your Spanish language skills in Latin America, study Chinese for the first time in Shanghai, or put your Korean language skills to the test in Seoul, CIEE’s programs in 30+ diverse global cities around the world offer you plenty of places to learn an entirely new language or improve your existing knowledge in a real-world context.
2. You’ll meet locals who help you feel at home away from home.
Establishing your home away from home can be tricky, especially in the first few weeks in a new city. Thankfully, the people you meet abroad are determined to help you feel right at home. Not only will your host family welcome you into their home with open arms, but our on-site staff at each CIEE center work hard to foster a sense of community with you abroad as well.
Whether with your favorite local pastry shop owner or one of your professors, engaging with locals abroad can help you build a home away from home. Not to mention, feeling connected to your community abroad will combat any feelings of homesickness you may (or may not) experience during your program.
“I had a fantastic time and the CIEE Seoul staff were so attentive and helpful at all times. They were like my family here while on study abroad.” – Aaliyah A., Howard University.
3. You’ll see the world and gain a new perspective.
Challenging your worldview is one of the most important skills you gain from study abroad. During your time living and learning in a new country, you’ll not only explore new environments, but also gain a more nuanced perspective of humanity, geopolitics, the environment, and more. In doing so, you’ll have more empathy toward others, appreciate how other cultures approach work, religion, family, and so on, and acquire a deeper understanding of how the world works.
By the end of your program, your newfound global perspective will impact the way you approach your education, career, family, friends, and community back home, whether you realize it – or not.
4. You’ll go on unique cultural excursions to bring your studies to life.
Each study abroad and global internship program at CIEE is infused with unique cultural excursions, giving you plenty of opportunities to take your learnings outside of the classroom for real-world application and impact. Through our one-of-a-kind excursions and study tours, you’ll apply your academics to the outside world by exploring important cultural sites, chatting with local guides, cooking authentic cuisine, and more!
From a day-trip two hours outside of Seville to the seaside city of Cadiz to an overnight excursion to the luxurious city of Marrakesh in Morocco to a visit to the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul, CIEE’s cultural excursions offer something for everyone.
5. You’ll boost your resume with real-world international work experience.
Studies show 97% of students who study abroad find employment within 12 months of graduation and 25% earn higher salaries than their peers. With a global internship, you can boost your resume and gain the competitive edge you need to stand out to future employers. From problem-solving and communication skills to adaptability and cultural competence, companies love to hear about demonstrable skills gained abroad that you can bring to their organization.
Whether you long to intern with an environmental organization in Costa Rica where you’ll work hands-on to learn about sustainable waste management on a dairy farm or you’d love to spend your summer interning in Barcelona at a startup organization in the retail space, the career benefits you’ll gain during a global internship are unmatched and highly competitive.
From semester-long internships to summer internships to study abroad programs with internships baked into them to virtual opportunities, we offer global internships for all types of work experiences in a wide variety of industries that are guaranteed to benefit your future career.
6. You’ll form new friendships that’ll last a lifetime.
The moment your study abroad program begins, you’ll meet new people you likely wouldn’t have met otherwise and develop strong bonds with them through your shared cultural experiences.
From CIEE staff, professors, and administrators to your fellow classmates, you’ll form strong connections with your community abroad as you live and learn in a new city together every day both in and outside of the classroom.
What better way to make the most of your study abroad journey than sharing your experience with your new besties immersed in the program with you? With such a unique shared experience, it’s no wonder alums say they form long-lasting relationships with the friends they meet abroad.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I discovered so much about myself and the new culture, as well as having made long-lasting friendships!” – Clara D., Arizona State University
7. You’ll enjoy best-in-class academics.
No matter which CIEE Study Abroad program and location you choose, you’ll take top-tier academic courses that earn you transferable college credits. We give you the option of enrolling in courses exclusively delivered by CIEE and courses offered by the host institutions we partner with, which may never have otherwise been available to you. Topics cover a wide variety of areas of study, including (but not limited to):
- Intercultural Communication
- Language Studies (e.g. varying levels of Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese, Italian, Korean, etc.)
- Environmental Conservation
- History and Philosophical Studies
- Public Health
In addition to your coursework, you may also have the option to complete independent research or an internship in your desired field. To ensure the courses you complete abroad can be transferred to your host university, you should consult your study abroad advisor.
With study abroad benefits like these, it’s no wonder students often describe their study abroad experiences as life-changing. Rest assured that when you study abroad with CIEE, you’ll experience the main benefits of studying abroad discussed in this article, from receiving best-in-class academics to gaining a newfound worldview – and everything in between.
Ready to take the next step?