Did you know that only 1% of US students study abroad each year? But with all the personal and professional benefits that come along with the experience, you can’t help but wonder why more college students aren’t taking advantage of study abroad opportunities.
So if your kid’s interested in an international college experience—but you’re still on the fence about it—read on.
“Luckily, I didn’t have to do much convincing to get my parents on board. They know that I have a love of adventures and traveling, so the opportunity to do that while getting an education was an easy sell!”
–Ashley Novak (Marquette University, ’09)
Money matters aren’t as big an issue abroad as you may think.
Many parents worry that a more worldly college experience comes with a more eye-popping price tag, but that’s not necessarily the case. For example, I talked to Megan Falls (Boston University, ’08) and she said her parents were, “On board as long as there weren’t significant additional costs involved compared to my regular college experience.” (Which there weren’t.)
Megan’s parents also wanted to be sure that she had enough money to survive the five months, and that there was an easy way to get money to her in case of emergency. She says, “I got a credit card for the trip just in case—and my parents got access to my bank account so that if needed, they could help.” Along the same lines, Ashley Novak (Marquette University, ’09) eased her parents’ nerves by assuring them that her debit and credit cards would work abroad.
Personal growth doesn’t just sound good—it actually occurs (abroad).
Research shows that people who study abroad report feeling more mature and self-confident. Ashley says, “While abroad, I became more organized, more responsible with money and better with managing time—my parents are really proud of how independent and self-reliant I became.” Megan adds, “I learned how important exchange rates are and how to budget and keep better track of money. It was a little scary not being able to call my parents if I was in a jam!”
Professional skills acquired abroad make students more marketable.
It’s no surprise that in this increasingly global world, employers tend to gravitate towards people with unique international experiences. Megan said, “Through my classes and internship I was forced to work outside of my comfort zone. Things are done differently in London which forced me to change and adapt.” Ashley adds, “For my semester group project in my marketing management class, I worked with students from Spain, Russia and China. Working with such a diverse group of people was an amazing opportunity.”
If you’re still not confident that studying abroad is something your son or daughter would really benefit from, think about this…
“Now is the time for your kids to do it—once they get out in the working world it will get tougher and tougher to travel for extended periods of time…and being able to put an abroad experience on a resume may help your kids stand out when they start looking for jobs!”
-Megan Falls (Boston University, ’08)
And when you feel sufficiently convinced, check out this Study Abroad Parent Guide—it’s got tons of preparatory questions and answers you may find helpful when sending your child off to another country.
What are other reasons why your kid should consider studying abroad?