You've probably had a school counselor, teacher, or parent tell you at some point that you ought to study abroad because it will "expand your worldview". And while this sounds like a worthy goal, there was little more than anecdotal evidence for years that study abroad had any real effects on the way students see the world. Thanks to a recent study, though, these intercultural benefits have been quantified in a real way, and with some impressive results.
The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) recently released a survey to determine the long-term impact of study abroad on students. Their findings show that a large percentage of students who engage in study abroad report experiencing a change in the way they view the world and their place in it.
- 95% said their study abroad experience had a lasting impact on their worldview.
- 98% of the students reported that study abroad helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases
- 82% said that it helped them develop a more sophisticated way of looking at the world.
- 94% stated that their study abroad experience continues to influence interactions with people from different cultures.
- 87% of the students said that study abroad influenced their subsequent educational experiences. Nearly half of all respondents took part in international work and/or volunteerism since studying abroad.