Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad?

Photo

Photo by: Jacob Kuber - Summer 2017 - JFRC

As societies across the world grow even more interconnected, having the skills to adapt and work across cultural boundaries is increasingly vital. Studying abroad can help you gain those necessary skills and help you to become a globally adept citizen. No matter what length of time your study abroad experience is, you will gain lots of skills and benefits which extend beyond your time abroad. Many students view their study abroad as a truly life-changing experience affecting them for years after.

Studying and living in a different culture can help you see the world from a different perspective. This new perspective can help to challenge stereotypes as well as break down cultural barriers and misunderstandings. Many students gain an appreciation of global diversity and return with an understanding of the world viewed through a wider lens. This change in worldview can also have an effect on the student's home and host communities by giving the students the opporutnity to share their experiences and points of view while gaining a global network of support.

Many students report benefits from studying abroad in countries where their families have roots. This experience has allowed students to learn about their ethnicity and culture as well as explore their own identity. Our identities are constantly changing and study abroad can challenge students' perceptions of their narrative, history and self. Students report that studying abroad changed their view of not only the world around them, but themselves as well. They grew more independent and self-reliant through challenging themselves to get out of their comfort zone.

In our globalized world, intercultural and overseas experiences are becoming vital qualifications for careers in many sectors as well as admission to graduate school. Study abroad creates globally-minded students and employees. Employers value applicants who have taken that step and can navigate a workplace, whether domestic or international, with openness and assurity. In addition to these skills, students can have an internship abroad for international work experience.

A new report by IIE details how international experience is highly valued in the workplace.

  • More than 70% of study abroad alumni said their overseas experience significantly developed their intercultural skills, flexibility and adaptability, self-awareness, curiosity, confidence, communication and problem-solving skills.
  • 95% of study abroad alumni found employment or were enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduating.
  • 80% of employers actively sought graduates who had studied abroad.
  • 72% of employers agreed that knowing a second language adds to the appeal of a candidate.