study abroad" is a question both students and parents often ask.
Study abroad may not be for everyone, but the reasons I list below
should help you make up your (and your parent's) mind.
Competitiveness in the job market
A few years ago a California researcher conducted a survey of business
executives and published the following traits as those most desired
Living or traveling abroad
Foreign language competency
The last five traits listed above can be achieved or enhanced by participating
in a Study Abroad program thus increasing your employment competitiveness.
Today, more and more businesses in both the private and public sector
are globally involved. Indeed, even Indiana agriculture and related
businesses are faced with how to become more successful in marketing
their services and products abroad. Where local markets and opportunities
are saturated, opportunities for expansion exist abroad. Few employment
opportunities are not enhanced by the experience of having studied abroad.
Students should emphasize their international experiences in job interviews
and on their resumes.
Know thyself (and others)
Study Abroad offers the only genuine way to get to know other cultures.
Study abroad will not be like living in Indiana attending Purdue University.
It should not be? That's why you study abroad. The experience of being
immersed in the day-to-day life of another country is unique. The daily
experiences of eating different foods, traveling different paths, using
different modes of transportation, mixing with other cultures, and having
(or not having) different conveniences are unique to Study Abroad and
provide a new insight and appreciation for the culture and lifestyle
of others. Moving outside your comfort zone will provide new insight
into your strengths and capabilities while gaining a new level of independence.
Simple things taken for granted in the United States take on new meaning
when you're abroad. Study Abroad will initiate in students more of a
global outlook that hopefully will provide an understanding and appreciation
of the importance of national cooperation and the universality of human
Participate in more relevant, different, or intensified academic
Study Abroad provides the opportunity to study new subjects, and become
involved in academic programs and activities not offered on a home campus.
Marine Biology of the Irish Sea, Renaissance Art, Landscape Architecture
of English Gardens, Animal Production in China, Organic Farming in Europe:
any of these could be taught in a Purdue classroom but all become more
relevant when taught on site abroad. Study Abroad also provides the
unparalleled opportunity to become fluent or conversant in a second
language: a skill highly valued. It should contribute to intellectual
and personal maturity. The experiences outside a student's realm of
daily comfort should promote independent thinking, and increase self-confidence.
Make new friends and associates world-wide
Study Abroad provides the opportunity to make new friends with people
whose lifestyles you otherwise would not have experienced. In many cases
these will be lifelong relationships. In addition, the bonding with
students similar to you will result in a healthy reliance and cooperation
to achieve common goals.
It's fun! The new experiences, foods, sightseeing, friends, knowledge
are just a whole lot of fun! The memories of a special meal, a special
friend, an unusual outing, a theater performance, or a path never traveled
before remain forever in a special place called Study Abroad.
Introspection and Appreciation of Home
Finally, it heightens the awareness and appreciation of what it really
means to be an American. Only by comparison will you fully
understand the opportunities and responsibilities of living in America.
There's no place like home!