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Key Benefits of Study Abroad

The point of departure

For many college students, a lifelong passion for exploration begins with studying abroad. A truly international educational experience fosters appreciation and understanding and is the hallmark of a quality education in the 21st century. It provides an opportunity for personal, academic, and professional growth.

Personal development

At its core, studying abroad is about excelling in the unknown, figuring out how to connect with others, and communicating effectively under any circumstances. Learning to navigate an unfamiliar country and its culture has a way of nurturing maturity and self-confidence, and encourages the kind of independent thinking and decisiveness that make young people stand out among their peers.

Stepping away from what’s comfortable and out into the world builds awareness and openness to new ideas and points of view, stoking the fires of curiosity. Opening up a young person’s understanding of the world, and his or her place and role in it, is an important part of the process. Experiencing reality from a different point of view, whether it’s the streets of Paris or the plains of the Serengeti, encourages students to act and think as informed, compassionate, global citizens.

Professional development

Companies today are searching for employees with international experience. Living and working in another country and culture is one of the best ways to gain life skills that aren’t taught in the classroom, like second-language proficiency, maturity and independence, and flexibility. As today’s world flows ever more fluidly across continents and over borders, the skills learned while studying overseas should be a pivotal part of any student’s professional development.

That’s why gaining hands-on experience is an important part of every CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange program. Through internships, volunteering, and field work, your son or daughter can explore an array of fields in a variety of settings. From public health-oriented programs in sub-Saharan Africa to corporate internships at the headquarters of multinational companies in the European Union, a semester, summer, or year abroad can shape your son/daughter’s vision for his/her own future. Along the way, CIEE provides structure, guidance, and direction to ensure that every student makes the most of time abroad.

Students who study abroad with CIEE:

  • Gain greater confidence, both at school and as they transition into the professional world.
  • Build a global network of friends and colleagues, working alongside students from around the world with similar interests, drive, and motivation.
  • Advance toward independence and adulthood, maturing rapidly while learning to self-motivate by gaining real experience in fields of study and professions that interest them most.

Academic progression

Every moment of a trip overseas is a learning opportunity, and the actual academic benefits of studying abroad are well documented. The American Association of Colleges and Universities has identified study abroad as a high-impact educational practice that research suggests may increase student engagement and retention. All students can fulfill academic requirements and earn college credits during their time away from home.

Every CIEE study abroad experience is approved by our Academic Consortium, which consists of representatives from nearly 300 leading colleges and universities. They’re charged with ensuring that CIEE-approved coursework continues to evolve and be relevant. For students, that means integrating into another culture while advancing in their chosen major. It also means exploring diverse fields of study as their dreams take shape.

When do students study abroad?*

Undergraduates tend to study abroad during the following time frame:

  • Freshman year: 3 percent
  • Sophomore year: 13 percent
  • Junior year: 36 percent
  • Senior year: 23 percent

Thirty-eight percent of students study abroad during the summer, while 35 percent enroll in semester-based programs.

*Open Doors, 2010/2011

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