Why You Should Already be Planning For 2020 Study Abroad Programs

calendar, 2020 planning

As 2018 comes to a rapid close, it's natural to starting looking ahead to the new year and what 2019 may bring. For those of us that work in the study abroad and international education industry, the end of 2018 means that we should already be looking to 2020 and beyond.

If you haven't started already, now is the time to begin the planning of your 2020 study abroad programs. You should be in the process of organizing any included program field trip logistics, as well as any optional travel you will be offering to your students. If you're not yet convinced, we've compiled our list of three irrefutable reasons why starting to finalize your plans for your 2020 programs right now will be the best decision you make this year.

1) More Availability and Flexibility

Accommodations

If you don't find yourself often organizing group travel, you may not know that many accommodations sell out for the high season a full year or more in advance. So while it you may think you're being overzealous to plan your June 2020 program's travel a full year and a half in advance, you are actually right on schedule.

By planning your program and organized travel further in advance you will have a greater variety of options with more availability to choose from and therefore, you will afford yourself more flexibility before your plans are finalized. As the saying goes, early bird gets the worm or in this case, the best accommodation options!

Itineraries

Like any complex project, designing a study abroad program and the included or optional travel for students will likely go through many iterations before you finalize your plan and itinerary. The later you start the planning process the fewer options you will have and thus, less flexibility. Don't lose the chance to create the ideal program by waiting around, and instead you can start planning today.

2) Additional Time For Recruitment

A common request we receive from our partners is assistance in recruitment for their programs, so we're familiar with the process and the work that goes into student recruitment. Although program recruitment shouldn't be a daunting task, many study abroad professionals are constantly juggling a variety of responsibilities simultaneously and there can be a sense of urgency in recruiting a minimum number of student participants in order to run the study abroad program.

If a study abroad program is finalized far enough in advance, this allows staff to their begin recruitment a sufficient amount of time in advance of the program deadline, which leads us to our next point.

3) Less Stress

Although we can't guarantee this one, we can say with a high level of confidence that starting to plan for your 2020 programs now, will help you be less stressed in the future. If you allot more time into your timeline for planning, decision making and final approvals you will likely be less stressed and can relax knowing that all the details have been handled far enough in advance.

If you're ready to glide into the new year feeling confident about your programs in 2020 and beyond, we would love to chat about how we provide assistance to your and your program. Enter your information below and we can set up a time to talk about your needs.

How To Maximize Your Short-Term Study Abroad Program

passport, travel

In case you missed it, short-term study abroad programs are on the rise and considered to be "trending" in the world of international education. In our opinion, short-term programs are not merely a study abroad trend, but rather the opening of the door of opportunity for more students to experience a portion of their education in a foreign country.

The issue some critics bring forth when it comes to short term programs is whether or not program of a shorter length of time can have the same impact and benefits that students derive from a more traditional twelve to sixteen week program. As we have previously explored in our post, What's The New Value of Study Abroad and Why You Should Know About It, research has shown that the length of a study abroad program does not diminish the positive effects for students.

Whether your organization is already operating short-term or faculty-led programs, or you're considering to expand your offerings, we're taking a look at what you will need to maximize your short-term program for students.

So, what constitutes a short-term program?

A short-term program can be defined as a program of less than eight weeks in length and can be as brief as seven to ten days.

Tip 1 – Start your days early

As tempting as it may be to start everyday at a leisurely 10 AM, you will be wasting precious time each morning that you can't afford to lose during a short-term program. Many sights and museums open as early at 8 AM, which you can take advantage of to maximize every minute of your day.

When planning your itinerary remember to check opening and final entry times of the desired stops on your tour, as well as days of the week where they might be closed.

Tip 2 – Plan the program for the off-season

Offering your short-term program outside of peak season, AKA off-season (think Fall break, January, Spring Break or Maymester), you can provide potential cost savings to students with lower prices and provide a less hectic experience with fewer crowds at all the popular sights.

Tip 3 – Do your long-distance traveling overnight

A great way to not lose any of your valuable waking minutes is to plan any longer distance travel for overnight buses or trains. This is an incredibly efficient and popular way to travel between destinations that are further away and may normally require a flight. These options can often be more affordable than flying for student groups, so you're saying precious daytime, as well as Euros.

Want more advice on how to maximize your study abroad program? Contact us, we'd love to chat.

3 Things Students Want Out of A Study Abroad Program

Cinque Terre, Manarola

When a student decides to study abroad, whether it be for a semester or short-term program, they have a vision of what their program and time abroad will be like. After spending months or even years crafting what their study abroad will be, most students begin their time abroad with an idea of what they would like to get out of their unique adventure.

As study abroad professionals who work with students every year, what can you do to help facilitate a study abroad program that lives up to their expectations and hopes? In order to do so, you must arm yourself with the knowledge of the evolving needs and desires of study abroad students, and provide them with the tools to accomplish their "study abroad bucket list." Armed with this knowledge you can ensure every student heads back to their home university with the satisfaction of a life changing experience that surpassed all expectations.

So, what do students truly want most out of their study abroad program? We've narrowed down the top three most important study abroad takeaways for students along with our tips on how to make these a reality.

1. Cultural Immersion

We consistently hear from our former guests and students that the number one reason they wanted to study abroad was to experience and immerse themselves in a different culture. Whether they're interested in arts and architecture, or language and food, studying abroad sets the stage to experience it all.

  • Offer free walking tours – During their first few days in city students tend to be overwhelmed with adapting to their new home, AKA culture shock. To help ease them in, offer a few walking tours to get them acclimated and comfortable in their new city and neighborhood.
  • Screen films in original language – A great way to learn a foreign culture is to watch famous films from the country in their original language (with English subtitles).
  • Partner with a local university – By connecting your program with a local university you provide a direct link for your students to local students who they can meet for language exchange or simply make new friendships.

2. Travel

A huge motivation for students to go abroad is the opportunity to travel and do so cost effectively! Europe is the ultimate hub for study abroad students who want to travel due to the close proximity of each destination and growing network of low-cost travel solutions.

  • Organize optional weekend trips – As experienced tour operators, we know that group travel is always a better value for students. By taking advantage of group buying power, you can offer your students weekend trips at a cost that saves them valuable Euros and allow them to visit more incredible cities and countries.
  • Provide resources for independent travel – For many students studying abroad, this is their first experience traveling alone, much less traveling internationally alone. There are many options for students to save money while traveling such as Student Universe for flights or the International Student Identity Card that offers student discounts in over 130 countries.

3. Transferable Skills

The third most important takeaway from a study abroad program is the transferable skills they take with them back to their home university and beyond to their future careers. Skills such as communication problem solving and other valuable skills are refined throughout the experiences abroad.

  • Bring in professional speakers – Your program can contact local english-speaking professionals who can speak to the valuable skills they look for in potential candidates. They can give an overview of their position and provide an opportunity for students to ask questions about their real world position.
  • Host a career workshop – A career/post-grad workshop is a great opportunity to offer resume and cover letter reviews where you can provide feedback to students directly. You can also hold mock interviews so that students can feel prepared for the process going forward.
  • Offer internships – Interning abroad provide students the chance to add international work experience to their resume and improve upon their transferable skills. If the internship can be applied to course credit or help students earn some money while abroad, that is an added bonus.

3 Best Cultural Weekend Trips From Rome

Tiber River, Rome,

Studying abroad in Rome is an incredible experience for students and affords them the opportunity to explore the Eternal City and everything is has to offer. Rome is a well-connected city with trains, buses and planes taking you wherever you would like to go. The central location of Rome allows students to travel with ease to all of the unique locations within Italy during their time abroad.

Based on our 15 years of experience in the student travel industry, we've compiled our list of the top three cultural weekend excursions to take with your students from Rome.

The Amalfi Coast

Located nearby the port city of Naples, the Amalfi Coast is overflowing with stunning views, amazing seafood and a storied history. There are many beautiful towns to choose from along the gorgeous coast, but we have narrowed down our four cities that you can't miss when planning your trip.

Must See Cities

Sorrento

Sorrento is the last stop at the end of circumvesuviana train which takes you along the coast from Naples, passing by Pompeii on the way. The history of this city dates back more than 2000 years and previous inhabitants include the Greeks and Romans. The city boasts a quaint downtown area full of shops and restaurants and when visiting Sorrento you can't miss the gorgeous sunset.

Positano

When you think about the Amalfi Coast, a picture of colorful buildings stacked into the cliffside are most likely what comes to mind. This famous city is none other than the captivating town of Positano. Visit the 300 meter long Spiaggia Grande, which is one of the longest beaches in the entire Amalfi Coast or climb the 2,000 steps to the top of the town to see the gorgeous view from above.

Capri

The stunning island of Capri was originally a Greek colony before becoming a resort (Capreae) destination of Roman emperors in the early years of the Roman Empire. The island is home to the world-famous Grotto Azzurro, the Blue Grotto. Be sure to pick up a bottle of their delicious limoncello made from lemons grown on the island.

Pompeii

This UNESCO World Heritage site is well-known for being destroyed by a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which resulted in the entire city being covered in volcanic ash. Tour guides paint a picture of daily life of the city before its demise as the city was discovered to be well preserved underneath the ash with many of the buildings and artifacts still intact.

Florence

Known as the Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is a beautiful city located in the center of the region of Tuscany and is home to beautiful architecture, art and history. Florence was first founded around the 1st century BC as a Roman military colony and grew to be a thriving hub of commerce and learning during the Renaissance.

Top Sites

Cathedral of Florence, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

Towering over the cityscape, the Cathedral is an incredible architectural achievement built in Italian Gothic style. The large dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and is a testament to his mastery of technical knowledge in 1436.

Piazzale Michelangelo

This spot affords visitors a sweeping view of Florence and is a perfect location to catch a sunset. If you don't believe us just check out the amazing views in our photo above.

Michelangelo's David

A trip to Florence would not be complete if you don't visit the world famous Michelangelo's David. Housed in Accademia Gallery, the David is a commanding 5.16 meters tall and carved out of a single block of Carrera marble by Michelangelo in 1504.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is located in the Northern Italian region of Liguria and is comprised of five small villages along the coast. The hiking trails that connect each town are a protected National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site. We highly recommend visiting all five towns and eating delicious seafood while taking in the sweeping views.

Our Favorite Towns

Manarola

The second town from the La Spezia train station is a picture perfect village with colorful stacked houses and crystal blue waters. Here you can capture gorgeous photos along the walkway (like our photo above) before swimming in the waters below.

Vernazza

Vernazza is the fourth town in Cinque Terre and is also home to colorful stacked buildings. We recommend grabbing a slice of pesto pizza as pesto originates from Liguria!

Monterosso al Mare

The last and largest of the five towns is Monterosso al Mare. Here you can visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista which was built in the 1200s and is located in the main square of the old town.

What is your favorite Rome weekend trip? Share your experiences in the comments below.

7 Ways to Add Value to Your Study Abroad Program

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

In order to provide a unique study abroad experience and help your program stand out amongst others, it's important to provide added value that will persuade students to select your program and have zero regrets.

We're breaking down seven ways that you can provide value from cultural, financial and educational perspectives. These are simple enough to implement relatively quickly and will help market your program going forward.

Cultural Exposure

1. Language Exchanges

The best way to learn a foreign language is total immersion in the culture, and what better way for your students to immerse themselves than having a language exchange with local students. They can practice their skills, while also helping their speaking partners English skills!

For students studying in English speaking countries, try arranging hangouts with local students where they can help acculturate your study abroad students to local customs and the cultural norms of the country.

2. Cooking Courses

Help students learn what it's like to be from their host country by teaching them how to cook the local cuisine. Bringing back new cooking skills from studying abroad is the gift that keeps on giving!

3. Field Trips and Excursions

If your program already includes field trips and excursions, then this may seem like an obvious way to provide value for your students, but as study abroad industry professionals we know that you always have to keep reinventing the offerings for your program.

In order to stay up to date with current demand from students, we recommend surveying former study abroad students to ask them what included trips they liked or disliked and where they would have liked to visit with the program.

Financial Savings

4. Included meals

A great way to help your students save more money for museums and train tickets is by including some meals in their program fee. Whether that be lunch vouchers that can be used at local restaurants that you've partnered with or weekly dinners your program organizes, anyway to save students some extra cash will be looked at as a positive factor to consider for students who may want to study with your program.

5. Optional group trips

The huge bonus of studying abroad in Europe is that there are so many incredible destinations to travel. Unfortunately, sometimes travel options are not as cheap as a student budget allows. To provide your students with the ultimate value add, arrange weekend getaways both within the study abroad country and throughout Europe a cost that works with their budget. Students can choose if they would like to sign-up and pay for these weekend trips, which can vary in what they include.

These program organized trips give peace of mind for students and parents as they can rest assured that students on these trips will be traveling safely and affordably!

Interested in learning how 4.0 Tours can assist your program with optional or included weekend tours? Submit your contact information below for a complimentary consultation with a 4.0 Tours manager to discuss your program-specific needs.

Educational Experiences

6. Business Visits

The post-grad job market is competitive, which means your program needs to do everything it can to help students set themselves apart. Ensure that your course offerings include site visits to businesses that are relevant to coursework and allow students to make connections with industry contacts.

7. Professional Seminars

If you're unable to visit the business on-site, consider asking the industry experts and professionals to come speak on campus. Hold professional seminars where students can interact with international professionals in fields related to their studies and ask questions. This provides intangible added value for students and allows them to make connections for potential future positions after graduating.

What ways does your program add value for students? Let us know in the comments below.

Students On a Budget: How to Keep Study Abroad Affordable

It’s no secret that the cost of attending college in America is rising each year. In fact, the cost of a university education in the United States has increased more than 500 percent since 1985. This cost increase is deterring U.S. students from studying abroad as their student loans and other financial responsibilities appear too large to take on the cost of studying abroad.

According to data provided by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the percentage of U.S. students studying abroad each year has remained relatively stagnant or decreased since 2011. In order to reverse this trend, we need to change the way we frame studying abroad and strive to make it affordable for all university students. Find out how you can assist potential students make their study abroad dreams a reality with our how to guide below.

1. Provide Resources and Counseling on Financing Their Study Abroad

Often times students are misinformed or lacking the accurate resources they need to have a realistic understanding of the financial requirement of studying abroad. Whether they are receiving inaccurate information online, or hear stories about students who came back from studying abroad with their credit cards maxed out, university students may be deterred from studying abroad before they have spent the time to genuinely consider the opportunity.

Our Recommendations

Update online resources to answer frequently asked questions

Most students do research online when considering studying abroad. If you work for a university study abroad department, make sure your website answers these important questions.

  • What tuition costs will be due to the university in addition to study abroad program fees?
  • Do their university scholarships and grants still apply while they study abroad?
  • What study abroad scholarships and grants are offered by the university?
  • Are there other 3rd-party scholarships and grants they can apply for? If so, provide links to official sites where they can apply directly.

If you work for a study abroad program or provider, include answers to these frequently asked questions on your website.

  • Do you offer scholarships or grants for students?
  • What is the estimated total cost of the program? Including program fee, housing, textbooks, estimated extra money spent on travel, food and activities.
Hold frequent information sessions

You likely won’t be able to provide answers to every specific question that students may have regarding the financial cost of studying abroad. A great way to provide information to a large group of students is to hold information sessions where students are able to discuss their specific financial situation and receive advice tailored just for them. This can be done online or via a webinar and we recommend offering these several times each semester to provide several opportunities to answer student questions.

3. Offer Short-Term Programs

Did you know that approximately 63 percent of study abroad students participate in short-term programs (i.e., programs of less than 8 weeks in length)? These short-term programs are a great option for students as they are typically accompanied by a lower cost to students.

Our Recommendation

Invest in the development of faculty-led programs

Faculty-led programs provide an excellent opportunity for students to study abroad, while being led by a university faculty member and receiving course credit. These programs have a unique opportunity for further subject matter integration throughout the time abroad, more so than what a traditional study abroad class may be able to offer. Additionally, many universities are able to offer grants or subsidies to cover part of the cost of the program, which can help keep student budgets in check.

3. Explore Adding Low Cost or Included Excursions To Your Program

A large expense for students is often their recreational and cultural travel they plan on their own and is often a large part of their decision to participate in a study abroad program. To keep costs in check, your university or study abroad program can provide excursions that are either included or optional for students to participate in.

Our Recommendation

Take advantage of tour operators

Tour operators not only take the stress out of group travel planning, but also are able to leverage group buying power and longstanding relationships to snag lower prices saving you and your students valuable time and money.

Want to talk to us about helping with your study abroad program logistics and operation? Fill out our form below to speak with a 4.0 Tours manager.

5 Must-See World War II Sites in Europe

Auschwitz II - Birkenau
Auschwitz II-Birkenau

The second great war left a permanent mark on the world, and particularly Europe where a majority of the conflict took place. The impacts of World War II can be seen across Europe and serve as a reminder of the gravity of the war and tragedy that ensued. Today, these sites can be visited to gain a greater understanding of what happened over seventy years ago and provide the context of what students learn about in their textbooks and classroom lessons. Discover our list of the five most impactful and must-see World War II sites in Europe.

1. Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp – near Krakow, Poland

Auschwitz Concentration Camp - outside of Krakow, Poland
Auschwitz I Concentration Camp

Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is located 45 minutes outside of Krakow, Poland and was one of the deadliest Nazi death camps. Entrance to the grounds are free, but we highly recommend booking a tour to learn more about the people who perished here and how the camp operated during the war. The concentration camp was in operation from May 20, 1940 until it was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945. Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau is incredibly chilling and elicits a emotional response that can’t be explained until you experience it for yourself.

2. Normandy Landings, D-Day – Normandy, France

Omaha Beach, France
Les Braves Omaha Beach Memorial

The beaches of Normandy, France are the site of historic D-day which took place on June 6th, 1944. D-day marks the beginning of the Battle of Normandy which lasted from June 1944 until August 1944. An estimated 2,000 American troops lost their lives storming the beaches and thousands more were wounded or missing in action. Today, you can visit the Les Braves Omaha Beach Memorial, the sculpture was created by Anilore Banon and consists of three specific elements explained by the sculptor.

The Wings of Hope

So that the spirit which carried these men on June 6th, 1944 continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to changing the future.

Rise of Freedom

So that the example of those who rose against barbarity, helps us remain standing strong against all forms of inhumanity.

The Wings of Fraternity

So that this surge of brotherhood always reminds us of our responsibility towards others as well as ourselves. On June 6th, 1944 these men were more than soldiers, they were our brothers.

3. Site of Battle of the Bulge – Bastogne, Belgium

Mardasson Memorial

In one of Hitler’s final offensive attempts, the Battle of the Bulge was the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the heavily forested Ardennes in the Nazi’s attempt to reach Antwerp. The battle took place from December 16, 1944 until January 25, 1945. The line defining the Allied front took on the appearance of a large bulge, which is the reason for the name of this historic battle.

The Mardasson Memorial, pictured above, is a monument honoring the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during the Battle of the Bulge. There is also the Bastogne War Museum, which provides a picture of how the civilians lived during the occupation, during the battle, and afterwards. The consequences of what was one of the most impactful and deadly battles bring this part of history to life.

4. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Berlin, Germany

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

The memorial was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005 in the center of Berlin as a place of remembrance and warning of the atrocities of the mass murder of Jewish peoples across Europe throughout World War II. The exhibition at the Information Centre documents the persecution and extermination of European Jews as well as note the historic sites where the crimes took place.

5. Normandy American Cemetery – Colleville-sur-Mer, France

Normandy American Cemetery

The Normandy American Cemetery covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,385 American military, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and subsequent battles. There is also the Walls of the Missing, on the east side of the memorial which contains the names of 1,557 soldiers who remain missing in action. This site is the first American cemetery on European soil in WWII. The perfectly aligned white crosses allow visitors to take in the tremendous impact the war had and reflect on these events that took place.

7 Electronic Gadgets to Bring on Your Study Abroad

Studying abroad and traveling are made easier and stress-free thanks to the many advance in technology and the useful gadgets we have available to us. Review our list of seven electronic gadgets to add to your packing list for your travels abroad.

Unlocked Smartphone

If you want to be able to use your phone abroad, we would not recommend paying for an international plan with your American provider. These plans are often times costly and provide questionable service in Europe. Instead, have your phone carrier unlock your phone so you can pop in a European sim card. European phone plans are typically less expensive than American plans and you can pay on a monthly basis for as low at €10 or €15 a month for internet data and calling. Using an European sim card abroad is even easier now that most plans allow your phone to work in all countries within the European Union.

Portable Charger

A portable charger is the the electronic gadget you didn’t realize you need, and once you have it you won’t know how you lived without it before. Portable chargers allow you to charge all your electronics on the go so you can travel stress-free and not have to worry about finding an open outlet to charge your phone or camera.

Universal Adaptor

A universal adaptor allows you to bring one useful adaptor abroad that will work in all the destinations you travel to. Be sure to purchase a converter if your electronic chargers are not dual voltage, as this will convert the voltage without frying your device.

E-Reader

If you’re planning on reading while you’re abroad, paper books will take up too much precious luggage space that you can’t afford to lose. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read during your time abroad, so an e-reader is a perfect solution. Amazon Kindle has several different e-readers at various affordable prices, and typically the e-books are cheaper than their paper counterparts for those on a budget.

Luggage Scale

There are few things more stressful when traveling than being worried that your luggage is overweight. You don’t want to be surprised by an overweight luggage fee at the airport, so do yourself a favor and purchase a luggage scale in advance of heading abroad.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are an absolute lifesaver for studying and traveling abroad. Whether you want to block out noise and distractions while studying or be able to fall asleep easily while on the train or bus to your next destination, invest in quality noise-canceling headphones and thank us later.

Action Camera

The reality is that there are certain places and activities we would not recommend bringing your phone, such as swimming the ocean or hiking up a mountain. Get yourself an action camera that is built to withstand the elements so your memories aren’t limited to where you’re able to take your phone.

3 Risk Management Procedures Your Study Abroad Program Needs

risk management meeting

While there are a number of benefits and valuable experiences to be gained from studying abroad, there are also inherent risks that students and programs are exposed to. In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your students, learn about the three must-have risk management procedures.

 

Require Travel and Medical Insurance

Many study abroad programs include a certain level of travel and/or medical insurance, but it’s important to ensure that your students are fully covered when they head overseas. To guarantee that your students are adequately equipped with travel and medical insurance, your program or university can offer full-coverage options or require that students provide proof of insurance before they depart.

Options students can consider:

  • Speak with your current insurance provider to see if they include international coverage, or if it is possible to add this on for an additional cost during the duration of the program.
  • The International Student Identity Card offers Basic, Premium and Explorer level cards with varying coverage. This card also offers the benefit of student discounts in over 130 countries.
  • Research supplemental insurance plans for your time abroad. There are many insurance providers who specifically provide additional insurance for traveling abroad.

Include Safety Training in Program Orientation

For a large percentage of study abroad students, their time abroad will be their first experience living in a foreign country. It is an essential responsibility of the study abroad program staff or professors to provide the necessary information in regard to safety and legalities students should be aware of during their stay.

Recommended included trainings:

  • Provide an introduction to the local laws and customs. Study abroad students should not be in situations where they are in hot water simply because they were uninformed of the laws within their host country and city. Educate your students on the major legal differences that need to be aware of most.
  • Present an overview on tips and relevant information for traveling safely within the country and throughout Europe. Many students will be traveling during their time abroad, which is a different experience than traveling throughout the U.S., so including helpful information on how to travel safely is crucial.

Have Staff Available 24/7

Having program staff available via a 24/7 emergency phone line, for both students and parents, ensures that your program is accessible to handle any problem that may arise. The staff member on call can address the issue immediately or escalate through the organization’s emergency protocol when necessary.

 

Have questions about risk management for your specific program? Contact us.

5 Reasons Why Business Students Should Study Abroad

business students study abroad

Study abroad was traditionally reserved for liberal arts students studying language, fine arts, history and other similar subjects, but not anymore. More and more university students studying a variety of subjects are expanding their world and participating in study abroad programs during their college years. In fact, according to NAFSA data, between the 2015-2016 academic year participation in study abroad programs grew 3.8 percent, from 313,415 students to 325,339 students.

If your business students still have their doubts about studying abroad, show them these five irrefutable reasons why they should study abroad.

1. Gain a new perspective

As we’ve learned, our world is becoming more and more globalized with each passing year. Although you might learn about international business and how to adapt to a ever changing global economy in the classroom, arguably the best way to learn about these topics is to experience them firsthand. Many study abroad programs today are developed for a variety of business majors and set-up internships or visits to relevant international businesses. Students are able to learn directly from international business professionals and gain a new global perspective that they can apply to their future studies and careers.

Additionally, studies have shown that studying and living abroad increases self-concept clarity. Self-concept clarity is defined as an individual’s understanding of themself, people with a high self-concept clarity would agree that they have a clear sense of who they are. A person’s understanding of themself helps translate to the workplace as they are able to project a consistent self-image to their co-workers, leading to a higher level of understanding amongst their colleagues and therefore results in a more efficient work environment.

2. Build applicable skills

There is a particularly important set of skills is the valuable byproduct of studying, known as transversal skills. According to the Erasmus Impact Study, 92 percent of employers are looking for applicants with transversal skills such as curiosity, problem-solving, tolerance and confidence. In that same study, 81 percent of study abroad students stated that they perceived an improvement in their transversal skills after they returned home. These types of skills are tested and enhanced through study abroad experiences and lead us into our next reason why business students should seek out an international education.

3. Decrease chances of unemployment

Students can set themselves apart from other applicants when entering the workforce by having study abroad or international experience listed on their resume. Based on the aforementioned Erasmus Impact Study, 64 percent of employers think international experience is important for recruitment, which is an huge jump from 2006 when just 37 percent of employers who felt this was an important factor for hiring. Today’s job market is incredibly competitive with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the last ten years. Therefore, anything that students can do to stand out when applying for jobs is going to give them a competitive edge. In fact, study abroad students reported a 23 percent lower unemployment rate compared to those students who did not.

We found IIE’s study, Gaining an Employment Edge: The Impact of Study Abroad on 21st Century Skills & Career Prospects, to be incredibly valuable in discussing the impact that study abroad had on 4,500 alumni surveyed. A business major who participated in the study stated,

“…I had a 3.9 GPA, I interviewed for five different internship positions and I couldn’t land a single internship. I studied abroad for a year, I came back to the states, and the first two internships I interviewed for I got offers from both … And my whole interview … all they did was ask me about my time abroad.”

The findings of this study strongly suggest that study abroad programs that clearly articulate career-focused goals help students to identify the skills they will learn abroad. Additionally, this helps students to understand how they can articulate to potential employers later on how these skills were learned and will transfer to their future work.

 

4. Improve chances of living and working abroad

 

International Life statistics
source: esn.org

 

If your students are interested in a career in international business or the possibility of living and working abroad in the future, studying abroad is highly recommended. Based on the findings of the Erasmus study, students who study abroad are 17 percent more likely to move to another country after graduation than students who don’t study abroad. Students who expose themselves to an international experience while at university can also more easily envision themselves living abroad again in the future.

5. Make international connections

Similarly, studying abroad can lead to students making international connections both with business contacts and other study abroad students. Their experience abroad will allow them to reach an entirely new set of individuals who may be an integral part of their education or future career. Business students would benefit from seeking out opportunities that connect them to international organizations or offer internships throughout their time abroad. They say that a key pillar of business is about who you know, and you never know who you your students might meet while studying abroad.