Why Study Abroad/Away

In our globally-connected world, spending time in another community gives students a unique chance to develop skills that will benefit them academically, professionally, and personally. 

If you’re a bit nervous about them going into unchartered territory, remember to focus on the positive impacts that this experience will bring:

Global learning…

  • 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. Study 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 community 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 UCSC 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!