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Studying abroad can be an extremely rewarding academic, professional, and personal experience. It gives students a chance to immerse themselves in another culture, learn or enhance language skills, launch lifelong pursuits, and gain an invaluable edge in an increasingly competitive global job market and grad school admissions process, among many other benefits.
Teaches real-world skills that aren’t found in classrooms: “Students today will be competing for jobs with peers around the world, and those jobs will require advanced knowledge and non-routine skills,” said the U.S. Department of Education’s new plan, “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement.” Today, cultural awareness and second language proficiency are two skills that companies drastically need. Studying abroad can help students hone both, which can set them apart in graduate school applications and in today’s competitive job market.
Improves proficiency in a second language: Experiencing daily life in another country may mean learning how a language is spoken “in real life”: the facial expressions, body language, and the local idioms that a textbook can't teach. Studying Mandarin for a few hours a week at home won’t deliver the same results as would living in Beijing for a semester. While there are a variety of study abroad program types for SCU students to choose from, total immersion is the bridge to language fluency.
Builds global friendships and connections: One of the most enriching experiences of studying abroad are the friendships made with people from around the world. Many of these friendships continue long, long after students return home. Your student will also likely be around others who are studying in their field, which can greatly expand their global, professional network.
Develops confidence and independence: Adapting to an unfamiliar culture, trying new foods, navigating verbal and non-verbal communication, and figuring out a new transportation system are all part of the experience! Students often return home with an increased sense of self-confidence in their abilities to problem solve and adapt to life’s challenges. And this is a great mindset to have!