Benefits of Study Abroad

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While available statistics on study abroad might still be limited, there are some notable studies on study abroad and careers, learning, academic performance, retention, and personality development. Here are some of the more remarkable findings:

Study Abroad and Graduation and Academic Performance



greater improvement in GPA post-study abroad. Student GPAs tend to rise as they approach the completion of their undergraduate degree. Students who studied abroad saw their GPAs rise twice as quickly as a result of going abroad compared to students who stayed in town, according to a Georgia study.*



more likely to graduate: that describes how much more likely study abroad participants are to graduate in six years than non-participants. Even in four years, study abroad participants are 15% more likely to graduate based on a University of California at San Diego study. University of Texas at Austin and Georgia data show a similar trend.*

Study Abroad and Personality



A University of Maryland study on IES Abroad study abroad alumni found that students attributed increased maturity to study abroad.*



of study abroad alumni claimed an increase in self-confidence as a result of study abroad.*



of study abroad alumni reported that study abroad facilitated a greater tolerance for ambiguity.*



A German study compared personality development and found that students who studied abroad showed improvements in five core traits compared to their peers who did not study abroad: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability.*

Study Abroad and Careers, Salaries, and Job Skills



of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation, when only 49% of college graduates found employment in the same period. That means they were twice as likely to find a job. Among study abroad alumni, 90% landed a job within 6 months. A UK study supports U.S. findings that study abroad returnees are more likely to find employment within six months.*



higher starting salaries: that's how much more study abroad students earn than those college graduates who do not study abroad. A British study found their study abroad graduates out-earned their peers by 17%. This equates to approximately $7,000 annually for U.S. students and £3,120 for UK students. Maintaining this earning advantage translates to earning an extra $567,500 over one's career in the U.S.*



of study abroad alumni who applied got into their 1st or 2nd choice graduate school.*



of study abroad alumni felt their studies abroad helped them build valuable skills for the job market. A second study confirms this at 85%.*



of study abroad students reported that study abroad allowed them to better adapt to diverse work environments.*



of study abroad alumni claimed that, because of study abroad, they were more satisfied with their jobs.*



of employers said study abroad would be valuable in an individual’s career later on with their organization.*



of study abroad alumni claimed that study abroad helped them choose their career field.*



lower unemployment rates were found among study abroad alumni according to a British study.*



A British study found the greatest increases in salary earnings among study abroad alumni (compared to their peers) were among seven majors: sociology, computer science, theology and religious studies, electronic and electrical engineering, and physical geographical sciences. *

*Statistics compiled by University of California, Merced