97 percent of students who study abroad will find a job within just one year after graduating, according to the University of California.
Courtney Kroll, the University of Washington Study Abroad Manager, believes traveling abroad could benefit many students.
Kroll started traveling when her school considered studying abroad a prerequisite. She earned a double major in French and elementary education while studying abroad several times throughout college. Kroll said studying abroad “Completely changed [her] life.” She continued to travel after graduating college and now works in UW Tacoma’s Office of Global Affairs.
Many people often believe that only the wealthy can afford to travel abroad as a student. While it’s not untrue that international travel can rack up some bills, Kroll believes it’s realistic. She acknowledges finances aren’t necessarily a debilitating hurdle students can’t overcome.
The way for students to study abroad regardless of income: planning. “Taking a step back and saying OK I want to do this, how can I make it happen” proves the best way to surpass these barriers, Kroll says.
She acknowledges the difficulties of studying abroad, some of which financial. However, that shouldn’t stop students.
“Not thinking about this early enough and planning early enough” can make these hurdles even harder Kroll said.
Most universities offering travel abroad also offer scholarships, as well as financial aid, including the University of Washington Tacoma. Many would agree these are indispensable when planning to travel abroad.
Donna Kopmar, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, just got back from Moscow, Russia.
“Study abroad was something I always wanted to do. I tried to do it the year I graduated but couldn’t … because of financial reasons. Later I realized I missed a great opportunity to study in a different country.”
Kopmar continued to have interest in studying abroad. A few years after her missed opportunity, she decided to “go for it” even though finances still factored in. She believes the experience greatly outweighed the struggle. She recommends “that every student should study abroad … to learn to communicate with people who have other views/ways of living is so important.”
According to the International Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the number of students participating in study abroad programs has risen several million since the mid-1970s. This number will continue to rise 12 percent every year.
In 2012, Harvard Business School began sending hundreds of students abroad. Studying abroad continues to become an important point of academic success in America, as well as other countries.
“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century resume,” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, a former faculty member at Georgetown University and a current leader at the Institute of International Education.
The benefits of studying abroad don’t even compare to the minimal downside. If at all able to study abroad, do it, you won’t regret it. Those who have would likely agree with Kopmar:
“It’s such an adventure. It’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.”