"The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless,” said first lady Michelle Obama in a recent interview with CNN while promoting international travel and cultural exchange in Beijing, China. Here at Calder Classics, we agree. Below, we've outlined three of the top benefits of studying abroad: College admissions, getting a job, and gaining a new perspective on life.
1. College Admissions
There’s no doubt about it, getting into college is difficult. As we noted in a recent blog post, Harvard accepted just 6.9% of its applicants in 2014. Dartmouth, 11.5%. in 2013, UCLA accepted 20.43% and Boston University accepted 36.22% of applications. While there’s no secret to acceptance, pursuing an interest by participating in an academic program abroad can impress college admissions officers. In their advice to candidates, Yale University writes that “within the context of each applicant’s life and circumstances, we look for that desire and ability to stretch one’s limits.” This can take a variety of forms and studying abroad is one of them. You’re in a completely new place and out of your comfort zone. Michelle Obama notes, “You can’t approach these opportunities thinking that everything is going to feel good and comfortable and that you’re going to get everything right. You’re probably going to make a lot of mistakes. But you know what, that’s life.” Stretch your limits by learning in and experiencing another culture.
2. Landing a Job
According to Generation Study Abroad, less than 10% of U.S. College students study abroad. Taking the plunge can set you apart as you enter a tough and increasingly globalized job market. “First of all, it is going to make you more marketable in the United States,” said Michelle Obama. “More and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world." The first lady isn’t the only one encouraging you to gain global experience. Howard Wallack, vice president of global business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, and also interviewed by CNN, notes that studying abroad builds skills they wouldn’t necessarily be introduced to otherwise. "Living in another country, you learn to deal with a variety of people," he said. "You learn to listen, be proactive, be patient, assertive. All those are translatable skills."
3. Gaining New Perspectives
Mark Twain wrote that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Experiencing a new culture and meeting new people who live life in a different way will change your perspective on life. Wallack attributes his compassion and resiliency to the time he spent working in a rural health clinic in Guatemala after a major earthquake helped him find compassion and resiliency within himself. "If you just stay in your own country, you have a certain mindset about your own culture,” he said. “When you step out of that, you challenge your experiences and find out about yourself, which can translate in the workplace.”
So stretch your wings, meet new people, go global. Study abroad!
"Michelle Obama's Reasons to Study Abroad," CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/politics/michelle-obama-study-abroad-interview/
Jareen Imam, "Studying Abroad Could Give You an Edge in the Job Market," CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/travel/irpt-study-abroad/
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad / Roughing It
Tanya Abrams, "Colleges Report 2013 Acceptance Rates," Nytimes.com, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/04/15/education/thechoice-2013-acceptance-rates.html/
"2014 Ivy League Admissions Statistics," The Ivy Coach, http://theivycoach.com/2014-ivy-league-admissions-statistics/
"Profile of Admitted Freshman 2013," UCLA Undergraduate Admissions, http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/prospect/adm_fr/Frosh_Prof13.htm