Should every student try and study abroad at some point?
You don’t have to be diagnosed with a severe case of travel-phobia to opt out of the study abroad experience. If you don’t want to go, you’re not alone, as approximately 80-90% of American undergrads decide not to study abroad. There are logical and justifiable reasons to stay in the states. For example, financial considerations need to be taken into account. Even though financial aid often carries over to study abroad programs, the variable and sometimes weak state of the dollar can put a strain on the wallet that might not be worth the headache. Plus, students who are involved with on-campus organizations, such as student government, the student newspaper, or athletics are hard-pressed to find time to take a semester or two off. They make have to ask themselves whether they’d rather work towards their on-campus goals here or set those goals aside to study somewhere else. While going abroad can be a resume-booster in some situations, it’s important to figure out exactly what you’re leaving behind and if you’re willing to make that sacrifice.
Are you willing to make academic sacrifices? Some students are in degree programs with a very tight curriculum, meaning it could take longer than expected to graduate or you could end up having to carry more classes than you want to in order to graduate on time. Some students who study abroad also complain about the inferior quality of local academic courses when compared to what is offered at their home universities. With that said, before you make any decision to study abroad, know that it could have a significant impact on your academic plans and goals.
Everyone should make an effort to go or at least look into the process. For some, it’s a simple decision. Going abroad appeals to students actively seeking that once-in-a-lifetime experience. The opportunity to live in another country and mix with an entirely new group of students and locals is just too good to pass up. Plus, students can explore a place that may be completely new to them, learn all cultures they’ve never experienced, and fulfill their sense of curiosity and desire for adventure.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
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