8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (2023)

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students. From enhancing your global network to experiencing a new culture, the benefits to your education and career are significant.

Given this, it’s no wonder that the number of students earning a degree outside of their home country has tripled over the past 25 years. Currently, there are 100,000 more American students studying abroad compared to the previous decade, along with more than one million international college students in the U.S. What’s more, the student profile of those who study abroad continues to change, including an increase in the number of graduate-level students who choose to study internationally.

“When talking about studying abroad, you’re taking concepts from the classroom and watching it play out in real-time, in real life,” says Marissa Lombardi, assistant teaching professor and director for the Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations program at Northeastern University.

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Can You Study Abroad in Grad School?

If you didn’t have the opportunity to study abroad as an undergraduate, you might be worried that you’ve missed your chance.

Fortunately, some graduate programs offer students the option to study internationally during their studies. In fact, the number of graduate-level study abroad students continues to grow–more than 12 percent of students who studied abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year were enrolled in a graduate program.

8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (1)

Students participating in IFSE in Zurich, Switzerland. Photo credit: Michal Holland, CPS

(Video) Why Study Abroad | Marina Meijer | TEDxDelftSalon

At Northeastern University, for example, students enrolled in programs like the MS in Global Studies and International Relations are eligible to participate in the International Field Study Experience program. This 12-week course includes a one-week, on-ground international experience in which students work to solve a real-world issue for an established multinational organization. During this time, students act as international consultants and apply their learning to a practical scenario.

Although this course is offered as a capstone for the Global Studies and International Relations program, all College of Professional Studies students are invited to enroll as an elective to enjoy the benefits of international experience that are widely applicable across disciplines.

Not only are students able to study abroad in grad school, but doing so can have tremendous benefits to your education and your career. Below is a look at the advantages of studying abroad at any stage in your education, but especially at the graduate level.

8 Benefits of Studying Abroad

In an increasingly globalized world, studying abroad is now more important than ever. If you’re considering studying abroad in graduate school, here are eight ways it can benefit your education and career.

1. Improve your language skills.

By studying abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your language skills. While studying a language in class is rewarding, applying it to the real world is an entirely different experience. It’s likely you’ll learn the language faster because you’re practicing it regularly. You’ll also be able to pick up conversational language you wouldn’t study in class, enabling you to speak like a local.

8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (2)Developing your language skills can have a positive impact on your career, as well. Fluency in a second language is often helpful (if not required) when working at organizations with a multinational or global presence. If you’re interested in breaking into the world of international business or global health, for instance, having strong foreign language skills and experience that demonstrates those skills can help your resumé stand out to employers.

Many careers in international relations and diplomacy also rely heavily on foreign language skills. Although there are no specific language requirements to become a foreign service officer, proficiency and experience with a foreign language is a key component of a candidate’s competitiveness during the selection to become a diplomat, ambassador, or other positions with the United Nations.

2. Experience a different style of teaching.

Each country has its own unique style of teaching. Studying abroad can help you expand your academic horizon and develop the capacity to adapt to various educational settings.

Adapting to different styles of teaching can also help you adjust to different management styles, making you more versatile in the workplace.Teaching styles you may encounter abroad include:

  • Authority Style: A teacher-centered style where a professor is the authority figure and frequently gives long lectures or one-way presentations. There is a focus on set rules and expectations, and students typically take notes to retain information.
  • Facilitator Style: Professors promote self-learning by emphasizing the teacher-student relationship. They help students develop critical thinking skills by teaching them how to ask questions and find solutions through exploration.
  • Delegator Style: Professors assign lab activities and give students in-class projects to help them stay engaged. This is a guided learning style that places the teacher in an observer role while helping students remain active participants in their learning.

3. Impress employers.

Studying abroad can help launch your career and make you more competitive in the workforce. It gives you the opportunity to show future and current employers that you have the open mind, resourcefulness, and drive needed to adapt to a different environment.

(Video) The Student World - Why Study Abroad?

8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (3)

Many employers are looking for graduates who have international experience. According to a recent survey, 64 percent of employers consider study abroad experience to be important, and 92 percent of employers look for transferable skills that are typically gained from the experience, such as flexibility to new challenges.

“Students who study abroad offer more to the workplace than those who don’t,” Lombardi says. “They offer a fuller package than just a student who’s looked at how things are theoretically, as opposed to students who have the opportunity to apply the concepts in their studies to real jobs and experiences across various cultures.”

Another survey found that nearly 40 percent of companies missed out on international business opportunities due to a lack of personnel with international experience. Studying abroad can be a powerful resumé booster that shows employers that you have the skills they need to achieve their business goals.

4. Enhance your network.

Studying abroad helps you build invaluable relationships with people from all over the world. You broaden your international connections while having the opportunity to meet people that could turn into life-long friends. Some connections can even lead to career opportunities, including internships, job offers, and business partners.

The university where you study will often have a large community of students from local regions and abroad, giving you the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. The wider your network, the greater the likelihood you’ll be connected to exciting career and social opportunities.

Northeastern’s International Field Study Experience, for instance, allows students to work with established multinational companies on a real global issue that they are facing. Doing so is a unique opportunity to build relationships and expand their global networks.

5. Learn about new cultures and perspectives.

8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (4)Your experience with a different culture allows you to expand your worldview. By studying abroad, you’ll learn about new perspectives and develop cross-cultural awareness.

For example, you may work with people from other countries in your next job. By studying abroad, you’ll be more comfortable with people from different backgrounds, value their unique experiences, and establish a stronger relationship with them.

Oftentimes, our cultural background has a huge impact on how we react to different situations. Gaining a variety of perspectives can help you look at experiences in an entirely new way. By studying abroad, you’ll meet people with different upbringings, helping you widen your horizons and broaden your mind.

(Video) The Career Benefits of Studying Abroad

In addition, the best way to experience another culture is to immerse yourself in it, and the ideal way to do that is by living in another country.

6. Develop your confidence.

By immersing yourself in another culture, you develop valuable life skills needed for personal growth, including independence and adaptability. These skills can give you an added boost of confidence in your personal and professional life.

Studying abroad can be overwhelming, but the challenges you overcome can help you become a more mature person. You’ll find out that you can often thrive in new, unexpected circumstances, and you’ll boost your communication skills by speaking a new language—helping you further improve your self-confidence.

“It’s a great opportunity to work on cultural competencies, like being sensitive to other cultures, learning how to adapt to new situations, and tolerating ambiguity,” Lombardi says. “These skills are important to almost any job.”

Quickly adapting to your new environment will hone your self-reliance and resilience. From small tasks, like going to the doctor, to larger issues, like learning how to negotiate with a professor or adapt to a different culture’s management styles, your daily life can help you become a more capable person.

Studying abroad can also help you gain more confidence by improving certain skills that help you connect with others, such as:

  • Leadership: Strong leadership and team management skills are important in almost any environment. Knowing how to lead and inspire the people around you can help you establish stronger relationships, whether you’re working on a class project with a group of international students or completing an internship abroad.
  • Communication Skills: Strong written, public speaking, and negotiation skills are important to communicating effectively, particularly in an unfamiliar environment like a new country.
  • Cross-Cultural Awareness: Our experiences, values, and cultural backgrounds guide our viewpoints and actions. Studying abroad reminds you to be cognizant of others’ perspectives. Remember that what is considered appropriate in one culture can be inappropriate in another.

7. See the world.

8 Unexpected Benefits to Studying Abroad as a Graduate Student (5)

Studying abroad allows you to see the world and travel to new places you would otherwise not have visited. During your time away from your studies, you can go sightseeing in your new city. You’ll also get to know your region more intimately than if you were just visiting for a shorter period of time.

When studying abroad, you can also visit neighboring regions and countries, as you’re not limited to one place. For example, if you’re studying in Milan, you can visit Florence or explore the Tuscan countryside by train. With international budget airlines and travel deals, exploring the world is becoming increasingly more affordable.

Your newfound connections can also show you areas that a tourist otherwise wouldn’t experience.

(Video) CSUDH Office of International Education: Engaging in Study Abroad

8. Discover career opportunities abroad.

Studying in a new country exposes you to increased career opportunities, depending on your field of study. If you’re interested in finance, for example, consider studying in a region such as London or Hong Kong—two cities well known for business. If you’re interested in tech, then look into Berlin or Tel Aviv.

Oftentimes, organizations hiring international employees want to see evidence that candidates can thrive in a global environment. Studying abroad, especially in an area where you are interested in working, gives you the chance to showcase key skills and relevant experience on your resumé, like cross-cultural communication and an understanding of international policy.

Choosing a Graduate Study Abroad Program

The advantages of studying abroad are tremendous at any stage in your education. But, for those students looking to study abroad at the graduate level, finding the right program to fit their needs can be challenging.It’s important to find a program that will help you meet your goals. If you are balancing work and school, for example, a short-term program may be a better fit for you than a one- or two-semester trip.

For those pursuing a Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations, for example, Northeastern’s International Field Study Experience is designed to give students the experience they need for a global career.

“Our International Field Study Experience offers an experiential learning opportunity matching students with international organizations,” Lombardi says. “It’s truly an immersive program where you have the opportunity to learn about the culture and work with an industry partner. You are learning about different cultures and gaining work experience at the same time.”

In addition to career-specific benefits, Northeastern’s program also fosters personal development. International education promotes global learning, fosters understanding among groups from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and develops globally-minded individuals.

“Being able to take all of what we’re learning, focus it in the classroom, and apply it out into the field and world is amazing,” Lombardi says. “All students should take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

To learn more about advancing your global career, download the free guide to breaking into Global Studies and International Relations below.


What is the benefits of studying abroad as a student? ›

With study abroad, you can experience new places and cultures, make friends from around the world, and gain a global perspective–while earning credits towards your degree. It will allow you to develop highly-valued skills such as intercultural communication, foreign languages, adaptability, and problem-solving.

How do you answer why do you want to study abroad? ›

Top Reasons Why I Want to Study Abroad
  1. I'll have access to a better form of education. ...
  2. I get to experience a whole new and different country. ...
  3. I get to develop a deep sense of appreciation for my country. ...
  4. I can learn a different language. ...
  5. I can find attractive employment opportunities. ...
  6. I'll get to meet new friends.
17 Jan 2022

What do you think are the three biggest benefits of studying abroad? ›

Studying abroad helps you to learn new languages, appreciate other cultures, overcome challenges of living in another country and gain a greater understanding of the world. These are all things that modern businesses look for when hiring, and such traits will only become more important in the future.

Which reason for studying abroad would be the most important for you? ›

One of the ultimate reasons to study abroad is to gain life experience. You'll learn how to organize your life and condense it into one suitcase, handle unforeseen situations, be independent and self-sufficient. When you're thousands of miles away from home, spontaneity and adventure are your best friends.

What are five benefits of studying? ›

Don't be afraid to study later in your life.
5 benefits of studying later in life
  • Boosts your career. ...
  • Increases confidence. ...
  • Improves mental aptitude. ...
  • Lets you change direction. ...
  • Improves your social life.
19 Aug 2015

What attracts you to pursue your studies in this country? ›

5 Reasons Why Everyone Wants to Study in the U.S.
  • U.S. degrees have an excellent international reputation. ...
  • American universities are bastions of cultural diversity. ...
  • U.S. universities offer excellent support facilities. ...
  • U.S. universities invest in optimised classroom experiences.
20 Jan 2022

What is the purpose of you going abroad? ›

Going abroad is an exciting challenge and a great opportunity to escape your comfort zones. You'll have the opportunity to pick up new skills you may not have had the chance to whilst studying at home, including navigating a new city, communicating in a different language, and budgeting with an unfamiliar currency.

What are the four advantages of studying abroad? ›

Benefits of pursuing an undergraduate degree abroad

You are exposed to an international way of learning and working at an early stage. Your understanding of various cultures is nourished. Widens your scope of career options.

What skills do you gain from studying abroad? ›

Here are five career-related skills you can develop while studying abroad.
  • Communication. Studying in a foreign country enhances your communication skills. ...
  • Resilience. ...
  • Practical Skills. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Cultural Awareness.

What are the advantages 4 advantages of Travelling abroad? ›

So, without further ado:
  • Traveling doesn't have to be expensive. ...
  • You learn without even trying. ...
  • You interact with different people. ...
  • You can practice or learn a new language. ...
  • You learn to get around in a new environment. ...
  • You are more likely to do things you wouldn't normally do at home. ...
  • You grow and become a better you.

Why do you prefer to study abroad rather than your country? ›

One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad is the chance to experience another culture that's entirely different from your own. This enriching experience will help you see things in a different perspective. You will get to try new food, visit new places, listen to traditional music and lots more.

Why studying abroad could be the key to career success? ›

Study abroad contributes to improvement in intercultural skills, confidence building, self-awareness and problem-solving. While there are many ways to learn, it is learning by experience that allows for the deepest and most life-altering personal change.

What are the three benefits of studies? ›

Ans: According to The greatest essayist Fracis Bacon the main benefits of study are delight, ornament and ability.

What are the benefits of doing masters abroad? ›

The main pros of studying a Master's degree abroad
  • You can study at top universities worldwide. ...
  • You'll have more possibilities to improve your language and communication skills. ...
  • A graduate degree is a way to boost your confidence and responsibility. ...
  • An international diploma helps you stand out on the job market.
10 Jan 2022

What are some advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad for students? ›

Studying abroad is a great way to learn about a new culture and become more globally minded. The drawbacks are the added cost of living and the danger of becoming homesick. Studying abroad can also be distracting because it's difficult to focus on your studies when there are so many distractions in a foreign country.

How studying abroad helps your career? ›

Study Abroad has been shown to develop skills that all employers value. Even if you don't intend to work for an international employer or aren't sure of your career goals, developing traits like resourcefulness, adaptability, resilience, and empathy will give you an edge in any job market.

Is studying abroad a good idea? ›

Studying abroad is not only about educational and cultural experiences. It looks great on your resume as it provides excellent career opportunities. You can gain many hard skills from your period of time abroad. These include language skills or a specific area of study.

What are the benefits in going to another country? ›

14 Life-Changing Benefits of Living Abroad
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone. ...
  • Developing cultural awareness. ...
  • Making friends from all over the world. ...
  • Having more opportunities to travel. ...
  • Learning how to effectively manage a budget. ...
  • Discovering how to manage relationships. ...
  • Learning a new language. ...
  • Better career prospects.
19 Apr 2022

Is it worth studying abroad? ›

The answer is a resounding yes. While studying overseas is a big commitment that involves a great deal of time and money, it's also beneficial to you in many ways. On a practical note, getting an overseas degree opens up many opportunities to you, and puts you on the path to success.

How studying abroad changed my life? ›

Studying abroad forces you to become truly independent from your parents and family. You will be on your own, making adult decisions and, maybe for the first time, truly taking care of yourself. You will likely develop or enhance your problem-solving skills, social skills, and time management skills.

Are there any advantages to traveling abroad rather than traveling in your own country? ›

The skills and experience you gain from traveling abroad can give you life-long personal benefits as well as a leg up in the professional world. In high school and college you have the luxury of having flexibility since you can study anywhere in the world and have relatively long study breaks.

What's the greatest benefit of travelling to other countries essay? ›

Perhaps the greatest benefit of travelling far away from home is the experience. This because of thrilling moments which provide us with so memorable moments. However, there are not always such good experiences in travels, but in my opinion, travelling is the most beautiful way to gain experience in many areas.

What are 3 benefits of attending a university? ›

  • You can become an expert in a subject you love. ...
  • University can prepare you for a specific career path. ...
  • Graduates earn more. ...
  • Uni gives you time to gain work experience. ...
  • You'll get a taste of independence. ...
  • You will gain high-level transferable skills. ...
  • It can broaden your mind.

What are among the two 2 benefits of living abroad? ›

No matter what your reason is, living abroad is worth it; if not for the numerous benefits –– like making life-long international friends and having better career prospects –– then at least for unearthing what you don't like and what you're capable of doing on your own.

What are the benefits of studying? ›

Benefits of Education are Societal and Personal
  • Poverty Reduction.
  • Connecting Across Borders.
  • Sense of Accomplishment.
  • More Productivity.
  • Better Communication.
  • Critical Thinking Skills.
  • Identification of Skills.
  • Greater Sense of Discipline.

What are the benefits of working abroad? ›

Top 7 benefits of living and working abroad
  • Better self-esteem. ...
  • New life skills. ...
  • New perspective on life. ...
  • Better communication skills. ...
  • Better foreign language skills. ...
  • Advantage over other jobseekers. ...
  • Expand your professional network. ...
  • Related links:
13 Dec 2021

What benefits have you gained from your university course? ›

Five Soft Skills You Develop at University
  • Communication skills. As a student, you've probably had to write A LOT, especially if you're an arts student. ...
  • Budgeting and money management. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving. ...
  • Taking constructive criticism.

What are two reasons you can benefit from going to college? ›

Here are 7 reasons why college could be important for you.
  • Earn More on Average. ...
  • Increase Chances of Employment. ...
  • Experience Greater Job Satisfaction. ...
  • Prepare for the Future. ...
  • Build New Relationships. ...
  • Achieve Your Personal Goals. ...
  • Make a Difference.
19 Sept 2022

What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying in abroad? ›

Comparison Table for Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
Build a better networkUnforeseen circumstances can cut short your studies
Learn about new cultures
Develops confidence
Provides a wider perspective
4 more rows
9 Mar 2022

Why is education important 10 reasons? ›

It helps people become better citizens, get a better-paid job, shows the difference between good and bad. Education shows us the importance of hard work and, at the same time, helps us grow and develop. Thus, we are able to shape a better society to live in by knowing and respecting rights, laws, and regulations.

What is your motivation in applying abroad? ›

Cross-cultural interest: “To get in contact with people from other countries” Career perspectives: “To expand my career opportunities” Search for independence: “To find greater freedom”

What are some advantages and disadvantages of working abroad? ›

Here are the pros and cons to keep in mind when deciding to live and work overseas.
  • Pro: Experience the Global Marketplace. ...
  • Con: Interrupted Career Progression. ...
  • Pro: Cross-Cultural Communication. ...
  • Con: Office Politics in a Second Language. ...
  • Pro: Diversify Your Income. ...
  • Con: Hidden Costs of Living Abroad.


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