Studying abroad is a fun experience for many college students, but it’s also incredibly valuable for their future. Study abroad trips can help expand a student’s understanding of cultures and the world, give them an opportunity to learn a new language, and it looks great on a resume.
Things that students learn from taking classes in a new country:
- Immersive language
- Continued studies
- Job relevant experiences and skills
All that sounds pretty good. But let’s play devil’s advocate and consider, what’s the negative of studying abroad? For some studying abroad can be too challenging financially or socially. It often includes the normal costs of a semester at their institution, plus extra travel costs, and maybe some additional fees. Plus, being far from family and friends can be a scary experience that some students just aren’t ready for. However, students who are apprehensive about this distance at first may soon discover in their travel journey that there is a lot of liberation, excitement, and freedom involved in the process. A huge plus is that in 2023, it is easier than ever to stay connected with your home people (plus, after study abroad, stay connected with all your new abroad friends).
Where to even begin?
What can you do to help your student? If you’ve seen them show interest in studying abroad, or just in travel in general, start up a conversation with them. If they’ve thought about a semester away, they’ll probably be very enthusiastic to share what they are hoping to do. And if they haven’t given it a lot of thought yet, you can begin to discuss locations, programs, and costs to decide if it’s the right move for them.
Some of the most popular study abroad destinations:
See also: How to Choose Where to Study Abroad
Important to keep in mind is your student’s current school. It’s likely that they already have established location partners. If your student doesn’t know where they want to go, encourage them to ask their advisor, look through their school’s website, and talk to anyone on campus they know who has gone abroad already.
Another thing that can complicate study abroad goals is what program your student is studying in. Some schools and curriculums have more freedom in continuing studies from another country than others. This can get even more challenging the closer to graduation students get, as their classes usually get more specific to their degree and may include a capstone – things that schools don’t often allow students to complete abroad.
Study abroad on a resume
Now besides location, there are other things to think about for planning study abroad trips. What are the benefits of the trip? Do they outweigh the costs? For hundreds of thousands of students each year, the answer to that is yes, definitely! We’ve already mentioned that studying abroad can look good on resumes. Let’s look deeper into that. Why does study abroad look so good on a resume?
- Extracurricular interests
- Cross culture communication skills & empathy
- Different world views
- Adaptiveness to changes, resiliency, dealing with ambiguity
- Planning and organization skills
Employers want to know that their future employee already has strong communication and organization skills. They can teach their employees the hard skills of the job, but it’s a lot harder to teach an adult soft skills like how to stay calm and keep being productive in high stress or unfamiliar situations. Studying abroad gives your student a foundation for that. They are out on their own, potentially in a country whose main language they don’t speak fluently, and must navigate staying healthy, happy, and maintain their grades.
Safety first while abroad
One of the main concerns parents often have for students studying abroad is safety. You want your student to stay safe while they are far from home, both physically and mentally. It’s important that you ensure your student has taken precautions before leaving. Things like choosing their destination based on health and safety knowledge, learning local laws and customs, knowing where the embassy is, and bringing backup copies of important documents are helpful prep for safe travel. While they’re away, remind your student to keep their valuables locked up and to travel in groups when possible. Remember that even at home, your student’s safety isn’t guaranteed, but so long as they’ve made good choices, take precautions, and stay aware of their surroundings, they should be okay! To prevent or ease homesickness, make a plan for regular communication and check-ins with your student. This can be helpful for both your worries, and theirs. Plus, it means you won’t be left playing phone tag across time zones wondering why the other won’t pick up!
Most importantly, remember that this is your student’s life and experiences. If they don’t want to study abroad that’s okay! And if they do, that’s awesome! It’s just important that they are organized and understand all the aspects from additional costs, or program limitations, to international safety before they get too far into planning. From seeing new places, to improving the resume, to learning about different foods, cultures, and languages – studying abroad is an exciting experience. Maybe you can even visit your student abroad for a little vacation, too! 😉 Our flight and hotel deals are available to everyone, not just students!