Facts on Study Abroad
Students report that study abroad experiences change their lives - opening their eyes to the world. As such, study abroad has been the topic of much research. In 1988, Hansel surveyed more than 2,500 students and reported that educational exchange was associated with a variety of learning outcomes. Students in his survey reported developing bilingual skills; expanding their knowledge of the host country, its people, culture, politics, economy, society and role in the world; developing the capacity to empathize with people from other countries; and gaining an understanding that the world is one community. Developing such knowledge, attitudes and beliefs tends to make one less ethnocentric and more adaptable. Study abroad helps students gain skills in creative and critical thinking as well as expanding their knowledge of their home country and culture.
In addition to the character benefits, study abroad can also be an excellent addition to your resume. Bikson and Law (1994) found that employers now put a high value on international skills such as knowledge of a foreign language and cross-cultural competence. A student that makes the most of a study abroad experience will certainly enhance these skills. This means reaching out to people of another culture, and possibly making mistakes by speaking in a foreign language.
Every year, the number of students studying abroad increases. In 1999-2000, over 143,000 students from the U.S. studied abroad, an increase of 10.6% over the previous year. In 2000-2001, 3,423 of the students who studied abroad came from the University System of Georgia.
The most popular region for study abroad continues to be Western Europe, especially the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France. Other popular non-Western European destinations include Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan and China.
In this year's catalog, there are 241 programs to 57 countries offered by colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia. This represents an increase of 39 programs from those listed in last year's catalog.
Money from Federal Financial Aid programs and the HOPE Scholarship may be used for studying abroad. Many students save money to pay for some or all of their study abroad programs. There are also some scholarships available. Study abroad is an investment in your own future.
Not all programs require fluency in, or even knowledge of, the host country language, and many programs offer courses in English. Beginning language learners wishing to learn a language may seek a language immersion program.
Credits will usually transfer back to your institution, and many programs offer resident credit at the home institution. Approval for academic credit for your study abroad program should be arranged prior to your departure.
Source: The University System of Georgia Study Abroad Catalog. For additional information-