Is Study Abroad Essential?

As we continue to live in an increasingly globalized world, cross-cultural competence has become an essential skill for succeeding in the global marketplace. Studying abroad is a great way for students to expand their horizons and can open up a world of personal and professional opportunities that will enable those who have the opportunity to study abroad to become effective global citizens. However, some believe that the merits gained from studying abroad aren’t worth the time or cost.

IIE’s President Allan E. Goodman and international careers expert Stacie Nevadomski Berdan recently weighed in on the debate surrounding study abroad for the New York Times Room for Debate: A Year Abroad vs. A Year Wasted. An excerpt from their perspective is below: 

"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study abroad.

Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues shared across borders.

Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy. With only about 10 percent of students studying abroad at some point in their academic career, we have a long way to go."

Read Dr. Goodman and Stacie Nevadomski Berdan’s full response as well as other perspectives on studying abroad on the New York Times and add your comments to the discussion. We would love to hear what you think!