While many students study abroad while in college, there are plenty of opportunities available to high school students, college graduates, and even young professionals.
High School Students
The greatest benefit to your child studying abroad in high school is that it will introduce them to different cultures at an early age, which can set them up for great success once they enter college. Often times, students are only ever interacting with friends who reflect their own neighborhoods and identities, meaning other students of similar ethnic/minority backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses or even interests. By going abroad, they become exposed to how much more diverse cultures are around the world.
Furthermore, your child’s study abroad experience will enhance their college applications, and make them more competitive candidates for top institutions. That a child studies abroad for a period of time illustrates their willingness to be open minded, meet others, and live away from home; all of which will help ease their transition to college. Also, your child will become more likely to study abroad during college, and will have a better appreciation for how this experience can impact their futures.
Community College Students
If your student attends a community college, study abroad is an excellent opportunity for them to explore a different educational system before potentially transferring to a four-year college or university. Studying abroad will give your child a chance to experience what it is like to live away from home, and allow them to become more mature and self-confident.
Does your child not have plans to transfer? For students seeking their associate degree or a certificate, a study abroad experience will not only enrich their educational experience, but it will also help them stand out when pursing future career opportunities.
There are a wide range of study abroad opportunities available to university students. Depending on where your child goes to school, they may be able to study abroad during any year of their undergraduate studies, from freshman to senior year. The majority of students study abroad for a summer or a semester. However, there are also opportunities for your student to go abroad for a short-term period, such as during winter or spring break.
It is important to consider how your student’s study abroad program fits in with the rest of their academic plan. The best time for your child to go abroad depends on their major and what classes are available. Your student needs to speak with their academic and or study abroad advisor to determine when they should study abroad.
Going Abroad After Graduation
There are still many opportunities for your student to go abroad after college. For example, your child can study abroad in graduate school or teach abroad. There are also many exciting opportunities to volunteer, intern, or work abroad. Competitive fellowships can also be an option, and these are often very prestigious and provide selected participants with a vast network of professionals in their interested field.
No matter when your student travels abroad, their experience will serve as a stepping stone to many future opportunities. Whether they are transitioning to another institution, going on to graduate school, or entering the workforce, their time abroad will be an impressive addition to their application and oftentimes a conversation starter during interviews.
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education