Why Go Abroad?
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As you consider how to make the most of your time at Penn, we encourage you to take the leap and go abroad. It is important to consider the possible benefits and ways in which the experience will shape your future career, academic potential, and personal development. The benefits below can be seen as a guide as you are setting your goals and as you explore program options.
Advance Your Career Potential
Aside from direct experience in the workforce through internships abroad, study abroad and other types of global experiences have been shown to give students an edge in the job market. Employers understand the importance of global competence and cross-cultural skills, but also recognize how spending time abroad develops other qualities such as problem-solving and communication skills.
Within different program types, you have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, take unique courses, and/or improve language learning in an immersive environment. Using academic skills and learning within a different context also pushes you and allows for a deeper understanding of previously gained knowledge. Studies have shown that students who go abroad have a higher GPA than others who stayed on campus.
Further reading: Impact of Going Abroad Research Through NAFSA
Challenge Yourself and Develop a Clearer Sense of Self
Students frequently report significant personal growth from their experience abroad. Challenging yourself to live, study, work, travel, and/or adapt to a new environment can allow you to develop in ways you did not expect. Students who have a global experience tend to see growth in:
Further Reading: Study on the Impact of Living Abroad and Personal Growth
Penn Abroad strives to ensure that every Penn student who wants an international experience can have one. Some of the common reasons students think they cannot go abroad are:
Concerns about staying on track academically
Affordability and other financial concerns
If you consider any of these reasons to be an obstacle, meet with an advisor to discuss programs, policies, and finding the right opportunity for you.