Ever wonder what it’d be like to study in a foreign country? Well, with study abroad programs you can find out! In this lesson we’ll cover the basics of study abroad programs, who can participate, and the benefits. A short quiz follows.
Guten tag! Konnichiwa! Bienvenido! That’s just three ways to welcome someone, but there are hundreds out there. The world is truly massive and contains billions of people in thousands of unique and distinct cultures. How are you supposed to learn about all of these people? Sadly, you’ll never have enough time to experience them all, but with a study abroad program, you can have the chance to learn with and about a unique culture by diving in and getting hands-on.Study abroad is the term given to a program, usually run through a university, which allows a student to live in a foreign country and attend a foreign university.
In most cases, two universities have an arrangement which allows them to exchange students (hence the term ‘exchange student’) so that these students can learn about a foreign culture and broaden their horizons. The program usually grants credit for courses taken at the foreign institution and some also arrange for a work-study or internship agreement.Study abroad programs come many shapes and sizes. The typical program one thinks of allows a student to spend a semester studying abroad, but some programs run for multiple semesters or up to a year. Some are geared solely around studying and attending a foreign university, while others emphasize internships or volunteer experiences. Programs also vary in how the student is supported, with some having a ‘host family’ situation, whereby the two students who are exchanged live at the other’s respective house. Other programs simply provide a dorm or apartment for the student.
There are also study abroad programs for high school students and college graduates. High school students, due to their age, are often required to live with a host family or in a supervised living situation. A recent trend among college graduates has been the opportunity to teach abroad, frequently as part of a master’s degree program to become a teacher in their home country. Others participate in research endeavors at foreign universities while pursuing graduate education.
Until recently, there had never been any real scientific rigor applied to study abroad programs. Everyone just assumed that they were beneficial because those who participated in the programs said so. However, researchers have recently been investigating the benefits of study abroad programs, and the results have been very promising.
Here’s a quick rundown of just a few major benefits experienced by study abroad program participants:Language Acquisition: This one seems fairly obvious, but it’s pretty hard to live in a foreign country without picking up the language. Students who choose full-year programs and live with locals have a very good probability of becoming functionally fluent in the language of their host country before they return home.Personal Growth: The vast majority of study abroad students in one study (greater than 90%) reported that they felt more mature, confident, and had developed a broader worldview as a result of their time abroad. Students also reported that they developed lifelong friendships, and their study abroad experience still influences their life many years later.
Cultural Values: Another interesting benefit of study abroad is an increased ability to reflect on one’s own culture. Most students return with both a more open view of other cultures, but also a greater understanding of their own culture and how it influences their decision-making and beliefs.Career and Education: Many students who study abroad find that it allows them to narrow down their search for a career and makes them more focused on their education. In fact, study abroad participants have a higher rate of degree completion and often a higher level of educational attainment. Experiencing another culture allows them to see options they might not have otherwise considered while demonstrating the benefits of a quality education.
Hopefully, you can see the benefits of a study abroad program.
Remember, study abroad programs involve students traveling to a foreign country so they can live and study in a different culture. There are opportunities available for high school, college, and graduate students. Benefits range from learning a foreign language to gaining a new appreciation of your own culture. Au revoir!
After finishing the video, you should have gained enough knowledge to:
- Explain what it means to study abroad
- Recall the types of study abroad programs available
- List some of the benefits of studying abroad