Why Study Abroad: Weekend Reading

Okay, yes, I know it’s Wednesday, which by most people’s standards is not the weekend. But during the beautiful Seattle summer, when there are hours and hours of sunlight even after the workday ends, every day feels a little bit weekendish. So if you want to get an early start and spend some time during these sunny afternoons and evenings reading about some of the myriad benefits of studying abroad, nobody could fault you for it.

In “How Studying or Working Abroad Makes You Smarter,” Time quotes one researcher, William Maddux from INSEAD, who writes, “People who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are better problem solvers and display more creativity, our research suggests. What’s more, we found that people with this international experience are more likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted.”

Inside Higher Ed reports on a decade-long study of study abroad outcomes at the University System of Georgia (which includes everything from community colleges to research universities) called the GLOSSARI project. Among their many other findings, they report that students who study abroad have slightly higher GPAs and better graduation rates. This, even after controlling for differences in SAT scores and other factors, so if all else is equal, the study abroad students fare better in these areas.

Despite all of this, it is important to remember that to really reap the benefits of studying, interning, or working overseas, you need to immerse yourself in the culture. As with most things, what you get from the experience depends a lot on how much effort you put into it. You don’t want to end up like this: “6-Day Visit to Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture.

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