Attending a university or college can offer a wide range of opportunities for academic and personal growth. One resource that allows for substantial development is study abroad programs. Studying abroad allows students the opportunity to earn class credit while spending time in a foreign country, and is something all students should consider trying.

There are 300 study abroad programs available in 80 countries through NIU, according to the Study Abroad office. These programs can range from just over a week to an entire academic year.

The only real negative about studying abroad is the extra cost for additional classes and travel.

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“The University offers travel grants and the college of business actually has a study abroad scholarship. Most of the students who want to study abroad get the scholarship”, accounting professor Chih-Chen Lee said. Additionally, the cost of studying abroad is charged to students’ Bursar accounts, meaning, any financial aid or scholarships that students have automatically get applied to the extra cost.  

Unlike a traditional college experience, studying abroad forces students to apply their skills and develop them in the real world. Typically, language skills are greatly advanced when studying abroad in a country where English is not the primary spoken language.

“It’s likely you’ll learn the language faster because you’re practicing it regularly,” according to Northeastern University’s graduate programs website. Students are also able to pick up the conversational language that can only be learned from speaking with locals. Students looking to advance their proficiency in a foreign language can set themselves on the right track by visiting the language’s native country.

The connections made while studying around the world can prove to be invaluable in the future. From career opportunities to internships and business partners, this experience will open many doors to bright futures.

The Institute of International Education conducted a study in 2017 that demonstrates the connection between participating in a studying abroad experience and the skills needed for employment in today’s workforce.

“Studying abroad for longer periods of time has a high impact on subsequent job offers and career advancement as well as the development of foreign language and communication skills,” according to the study results.

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