Why Study Abroad?

To launch your future!  To become more employable!  To learn from the world!

Studying abroad is not just an adventure, but an investment in your future!  Understanding the complexities of this diverse world and developing intercultural competencies will help you to function effectively in different contexts – personally, academically, and professionally.  Employers want the skills study abroad provides: cross-cultural competence, language ability, ability to deal with people of diverse backgrounds, and flexibility in dealing with new situations.  And research shows that students who studied abroad end up with higher salaries than those who did not.

All majors can and should study abroad!  The IIE Open Doors Annual Report indicates that in the U.S. more STEM and Business majors study abroad than any other major.  Several research studies show that students who studied abroad graduated faster and increased their GPA’s more than their classmates who did not.  Plus, while abroad you have the opportunity to:

  • Understand your major from a different perspective
  • Take courses abroad not offered at UC Irvine
  • Increase your foreign language skills
  • Improve your understanding of the U.S. and foreign affairs

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While studying abroad is a great opportunity to expand your academic and professional attributes, it is also a time that is uniquely yours!  Study abroad returnees report that while abroad you can:

  • Make lifelong friends from all over the world
  • Gain greater independence and self-confidence
  • Acquire a greater tolerance for ambiguity
  • Become more flexible, adaptable
  • Develop unique problem-solving skills
  • Expand your communication skills

According to a study conducted by AIFS Abroad, 92% of study abroad participants felt their study abroad experience gave them a better understanding of themselves and their values and 93% stated that it contributed to their sense of confidence in new situations or when meeting new people. (1)

Launch your future! 

Employers seek university graduates who have authentic and sophisticated multicultural knowledge and possess the skills necessary to interact successfully with people from different cultures.  The great thing about studying abroad is that you can also participate in internships, research, or volunteer work that will enhance these skills.  Studying abroad is beneficial to you in these ways:

  • Expand your knowledge of possible career paths
  • Broaden your networks
  • Develop the 21st Century Workforce Skills that IIE has determined will make you a competitive applicant for post-grad opportunities like graduate school, the Fulbright, or full-time job opportunities in your field (2)
  • Research conducted by IIE found that 78% of study abroad returnees discussed their study abroad experience in a job interview (3).
  • According to IES Abroad, 97% of students that study abroad get a job within 6 months after graduating compared to only 49% of non-study abroad students. (3
  • If you are considering grad school, 90% of study abroad alumni who applied got into their 1st or 2nd choice grad school. (3)
  • According to a study completed by Amerispan, 73% of employers say that study abroad is valuable to have on a resume because of the hard skills you will develop from the experiences you will have abroad (4).

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Going the distance makes a difference!

We encourage you to do the following when considering, planning, and executing your study abroad experience so that you can reap the full benefits:

  • Consider your goals. Give your academic and financial plan some thought.  Know what you want to get what you want!
  • Push the envelope.  The more you step out of your comfort zone (culturally, linguistically, etc.) the more opportunity for growth.
  • Reflect on your experiences.  Unpack the benefits of your experience in our optional seminars while abroad and upon return.
  • Don’t let the flight home be the end of your journey.  Explore Returnee Opportunities to continue your global learning.