Study abroad or foreign study programs are widely promulgated throughout secondary and higher education; nevertheless there are few studies that concretely quantify the benefits always heralded. But there are undeniable benefits to the students who take part. Cognitive benefits include an elevation in creative thinking and intellectual development. Second language acquisition, if a student is
Studying abroad for that purpose, as well as enhanced intercultural and international communication skills are also clear benefits. All students, whether they are learning a second language or not, should study abroad, especially in this age of globalization and intense international bonds between countries. All students should study abroad. The benefits gained outweigh the stressors of studying abroad, and it is a wonderful experience. It would also have a significant beneficial effect on one’s future in more than one area. According to Sjoberg and Shabalina, “short term study abroad programs are a viable option to get more students abroad and to explore no-western, emerging markets” This statement supports the idea that the range of study abroad options should be open to all students, including those students whose major falls under Business, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or Nursing departments.
One of the problems faced by study abroad programs is an unfortunate lack of quantitative studies outlining the benefits of studying abroad for students. The lack of published data prevents study abroad offices, students, and university boards from determining how successful the programs that they run are. This can only hurt meaningful development of study abroad programs. And when partner
Institutions are in the process of creating courses for their students that meet all the requirements and goals of a study abroad program, having meaningful input from students is one of the best sources to draw from. Without that, programs will stop appealing to the students they are designed for. At the very least, the lack of published data makes it difficult for people to understand what the benefits of studying abroad are, which may make the difference for a particular student deciding to participate in a study abroad program.