Get Global: Benefits Of Global Education For Bachelor’s Students

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The Unit­ed States is the world’s num­ber one des­ti­na­tion for inter­na­tion­al stu­dents. Many Amer­i­can stu­dents, how­ev­er, are also study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s programs. 

While study­ing abroad has its ben­e­fits, it comes with chal­lenges, too. Here, we will look at these ben­e­fits and chal­lenges as well as the ways of over­com­ing them. We will also dis­cuss the step-by-step process of study­ing abroad. 

Relat­ed Resource: Lan­guage Edu­ca­tion Oppor­tu­ni­ties: A Guide for Lan­guage Lovers

Enhancing Cultural Understanding Through Studying Abroad in Bachelor’s Programs

There are many ben­e­fits of glob­al edu­ca­tion for bach­e­lor’s stu­dents. Inter­na­tion­al stu­dents enjoy immer­sive expe­ri­ences in a for­eign coun­try. Their every­day expe­ri­ences include inter­ac­tions with the locals, explo­rations of local places, and par­tic­i­pa­tion in local events. Over time, their immer­sive expe­ri­ences break down stereo­types and expand their under­stand­ing of the local peo­ple and their culture. 

Inter­na­tion­al stu­dents gain more under­stand­ing of glob­al issues and a more glob­al per­spec­tive. Instead of see­ing only one side of the sto­ry, you will appre­ci­ate the oth­er side’s sto­ry, too. After your study-abroad expe­ri­ence, your world­view will change for the better. 

Aside from pro­mot­ing cul­tur­al under­stand­ing, study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams offers many per­son­al ben­e­fits for stu­dents, too. 

Learn a new language. 

Chal­lenge your intel­lect by learn­ing a new lan­guage. You will love the excit­ing thrill as you progress in your lan­guage stud­ies. Your com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills with the locals will improve, too. In the process, you’re bet­ter able to appre­ci­ate their cul­ture, social norms, and literature. 

If you decide to stay in the host coun­try, your employ­ment prospects improve. Even if you return home, your bilin­gual skills will also open job oppor­tu­ni­ties. You can, for exam­ple, work in a multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tion where bilin­gual­ism is valued. 

Gain cul­tur­al aware­ness and competence. 

You will appre­ci­ate the diver­si­ty of cul­tures, human expe­ri­ences, and aspi­ra­tions. With your cul­tur­al aware­ness and com­pe­tence, you can pro­mote diver­si­ty and inclu­siv­i­ty in any sit­u­a­tion. These are val­ued traits in mul­ti­cul­tur­al work­places, a com­mon sight in the Unit­ed States. 

Enjoy per­son­al growth.

When you’re adapt­ing to a new cul­ture, you can sink or swim. But think of it as an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty for per­son­al growth. Chal­lenge your­self to get out of your com­fort zone. You will become more open to new peo­ple, places, and expe­ri­ences. Your resilience and resource­ful­ness increase, too. 

Expand your network.

Every per­son you meet as an inter­na­tion­al stu­dent becomes part of your net­work. Class­mates, pro­fes­sors, and local com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers can become your pro­fes­sion­al con­tacts in the future. The more expand­ed your glob­al net­work, the bet­ter for your career advancement. 

Receive a qual­i­ty education.

For some rea­son, many peo­ple believe that study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams means sac­ri­fic­ing the qual­i­ty of their edu­ca­tion. Look beyond the Ivy League uni­ver­si­ties and expand your edu­ca­tion hori­zon. You will find many of the world’s best col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties abroad, too. Tsinghua Uni­ver­si­ty, the Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty of Sin­ga­pore, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mel­bourne are excel­lent choices. 

Fur­ther­more, you will be immersed in dif­fer­ent types of teach­ing and learn­ing. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford, for exam­ple, uses the tuto­r­i­al sys­tem with reg­u­lar stu­dent-pro­fes­sor meet­ings. You will be encour­aged to think and learn dif­fer­ent­ly than your US-based counterparts. 

But it isn’t just about learn­ing in the class­room either. The world becomes your class­room. You can take every encounter as a learn­ing expe­ri­ence in a for­eign country. 

Save on your col­lege education.

Tuition is on the rise among col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in the Unit­ed States. The cost of liv­ing is on the rise, too. Even with stu­dent finan­cial aid, the cost of atten­dance is still a sig­nif­i­cant barrier. 

If you plan it well, you can save mon­ey on your col­lege edu­ca­tion vt study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams. Many Euro­pean coun­tries offer afford­able col­lege edu­ca­tion through low-tuition and no-tuition pro­grams. Ger­many, Nor­way, and Fin­land are pop­u­lar choic­es for Amer­i­can students. 

You can also save mon­ey on your col­lege edu­ca­tion through reduced time-to-com­ple­tion. In Euro­pean col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, for exam­ple, stu­dents earn their bach­e­lor’s degrees in three years. 

Unlike bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams in the Unit­ed States, their cur­ricu­lum focus­es on the area of study only. Stu­dents in Euro­pean schools don’t com­plete gen­er­al edu­ca­tion cours­es for a year. 

Get trav­el opportunities.

Inter­na­tion­al stu­dents can spend their free time becom­ing famil­iar with their host coun­tries. If you study at a col­lege in main­land Europe, for exam­ple, you can explore the con­ti­nent by train and car. You won’t have to spend wads of mon­ey to explore new countries. 

Indeed, becom­ing an inter­na­tion­al stu­dent is an adven­ture in itself. But you’re also prepar­ing for a suc­cess­ful career ahead by gain­ing skills that employ­ers look for.

If you want to max­i­mize your inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence while study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams, you must plan accord­ing­ly. Yes, it’s a trans­for­ma­tive expe­ri­ence, but it can be trau­mat­ic, too. The more pre­pared you are, the more trans­for­ma­tive your inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence can be. 

In the fol­low­ing sec­tion, we will dis­cuss the step-by-step guide for plan­ning your inter­na­tion­al stu­dent expe­ri­ence. Note that the fol­low­ing process applies to under­grad­u­ate stu­dents enrolled in aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams in the Unit­ed States but want to study abroad. The time spent abroad can be a semes­ter or an aca­d­e­m­ic year.

If you’re plan­ning on enrolling in an aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram in a for­eign col­lege as a fresh­man, the process is dif­fer­ent. But many of these steps still apply. You should work with your par­ents in plan­ning and exe­cut­ing your study-abroad plan. 

Start the Planning Process 

Start plan­ning for your study-abroad expe­ri­ence two years before your depar­ture. You want to give ample time to address issues that come up dur­ing the plan­ning process. 

  • Per­form a thor­ough self-assessment.

What are your per­son­al and aca­d­e­m­ic goals for earn­ing your bach­e­lor’s degree abroad? What are the aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams, col­leges, and coun­tries that inter­est you? What are your expec­ta­tions and your cur­rent realities? 

You must ask your­self these ques­tions and be hon­est in your answers. When you under­stand your moti­va­tions and set real­is­tic expec­ta­tions, you can enjoy mean­ing­ful and enrich­ing expe­ri­ences as an inter­na­tion­al student. 

  • Per­form detailed research into the col­leges and countries.

For­tu­nate­ly, reli­able infor­ma­tion is avail­able on the offi­cial web­sites of the for­eign col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties you’re inter­est­ed in. You can also read stu­dent tes­ti­mo­ni­als and share infor­ma­tion with Amer­i­can stu­dents with study-abroad expe­ri­ences. Your pro­fes­sors and aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sors are also excel­lent sources of information. 

Be sure to check the cur­rent con­di­tions of the coun­tries you’re inter­est­ed in, too. Gov­ern­ment web­sites, embassies and con­sulates, and trav­el guides are go-to sources. 

  • Look at your cur­rent finances and lan­guage skills.

Even with low-tuition and no-tuition pro­grams abroad, finan­cial issues can be a huge chal­lenge for inter­na­tion­al stu­dents. Your liv­ing expens­es, health and trav­el insur­ance, and room and board are among the biggest wal­let burn­ers. Be sure to con­sid­er the finan­cial aid options offered in the col­leges you’re inter­est­ed in, too. Ask for your fam­i­ly’s finan­cial sup­port, if possible. 

If you’re plan­ning on enrolling in a non-Eng­lish pro­gram, your lan­guage skills will be an issue. You should be pro­fi­cient before step­ping foot on a for­eign campus.

Academic Planning

When you have decid­ed on your pre­ferred col­lege and coun­try, you must talk with your aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sor. You want to check that the cours­es tak­en in the host col­lege will be cred­it­ed to your home col­lege. Your aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sor will also pro­vide insights and infor­ma­tion about oth­er aca­d­e­m­ic requirements. 

If you’re enrolled in a U.S. col­lege that offers a study-abroad pro­gram, you should fol­low its process. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Los Ange­les, Boston Uni­ver­si­ty, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia are notable examples. 

Application Process

When it comes to study­ing abroad in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams, stu­dents should absolute­ly be plan­ning way ahead of time. About 9–12 months before leav­ing the Unit­ed States, you should start the appli­ca­tion process. Be mind­ful of the appli­ca­tion dead­lines, process, and papers lest you find your­self miss­ing out on the oppor­tu­ni­ty. By this time, you and your par­ents and aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sors have decid­ed on your pre­ferred study-abroad pro­gram, col­lege, and country. 

The basic steps dur­ing the appli­ca­tion process include: 

  • Gath­er the required aca­d­e­m­ic doc­u­ments. Offi­cial tran­scripts, let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion, a per­son­al state­ment, and an endorse­ment let­ter are common.
  • Com­plete and sub­mit your appli­ca­tion forms and sup­port­ing doc­u­ments to your pre­ferred college.
  • Apply for a pass­port if you don’t have one yet. If you have it, check that your pass­port will be valid at the time of your departure.
  • Check the visa require­ments for your cho­sen host coun­try. You may be asked to pro­vide sup­port­ing doc­u­ments, such as proof of enroll­ment, bank state­ments, and passport.

Keep in mind that your incom­plete or inac­cu­rate papers can pre­vent your entry into your host coun­try. Be mind­ful of entry require­ments in addi­tion to social norms, gen­er­al laws, and safe­ty concerns. 

Financial Planning

Unless mon­ey is no object, care­ful finan­cial plan­ning is a must for aspir­ing inter­na­tion­al stu­dents. Plan your finances at least a year before your depar­ture, but make the nec­es­sary adjust­ments as you go along. 

  • Cre­ate a budget 
  • Apply for schol­ar­ships and grants in your home country 
  • Ensure that your bank pro­vides access to your funds while you’re abroad 

Health and Safety

You’re in a for­eign coun­try where your fam­i­ly and friends won’t be around when you’re sick or in dan­ger. Be sure to get health insur­ance with for­eign trav­el cov­er­age. You must also: 

  • Get vac­ci­nat­ed or immu­nized based on the iden­ti­fied health risks of the host coun­try. Check the CDC’s Trav­el­er’s Health page for specifics. 
  • Share your emer­gency con­tact infor­ma­tion and oth­er rel­e­vant safe­ty infor­ma­tion with trust­ed fam­i­ly and friends. 
  • Research into the safe­ty issues of your host col­lege, city, and country. 
  • Mark hos­pi­tals and police sta­tions in and near the cam­pus of your host college.

Being too care­ful with your health and safe­ty abroad isn’t over­think­ing on your part. It’s a must for an enrich­ing inter­na­tion­al experience. 

Pre-departure Orientation

For­eign col­leges accept­ing Amer­i­can stu­dents usu­al­ly have ori­en­ta­tion pro­grams for incom­ing stu­dents. Be sure to attend them. You will gain more infor­ma­tion about the arrival pro­ce­dures and meet fel­low stu­dents on the same journey. 

And now you’re set for an adven­ture of a life­time. Dur­ing your stay in a for­eign coun­try, you should enjoy the good and the bad. Your learn­ing expe­ri­ences in and out of the class­room will influ­ence your per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al growth. 

Integrating International Experiences Into Resumes

Enjoy­ing inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ences is among the best advan­tages of study­ing over­seas in under­grad­u­ate pro­grams. How­ev­er, it can be tricky to per­sua­sive­ly inte­grate them in your cov­er let­ter, resume, and per­son­al statement. 

Here are use­ful tips for doing so for your resume. You can pro­vide more details in your cov­er let­ter and per­son­al statement. 

  • High­light your inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence in a sep­a­rate sec­tion, such as “Inter­na­tion­al Study Experience.”
  • Men­tion the for­eign col­lege and aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram, as well as your cours­es com­plet­ed. High­light your aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ments but state them in a fac­tu­al man­ner (“Best in Under­grad­u­ate Thesis).
  • Describe your vol­un­teer work, if any, includ­ing the name of the orga­ni­za­tion, your role and impact, and dates of participation.
  • High­light the soft skills devel­oped dur­ing your inter­na­tion­al study. Learn­ing a new lan­guage, being more resilient and resource­ful, and devel­op­ing cul­tur­al aware­ness are great examples.
  • Put a num­ber on your achieve­ments. If you vol­un­teered for a com­mu­ni­ty project, for exam­ple, your resume can state that it ben­e­fit­ed 500+ children.

Most impor­tant­ly, the words on your resume high­light­ing your inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence must always be tai­lored to the job you’re apply­ing for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I con­sid­er study­ing abroad for my bach­e­lor’s degree?

Study­ing abroad offers learn­ing expe­ri­ences that you won’t get while study­ing in your home coun­try. You will enjoy cul­ture immer­sion expe­ri­ences, push your­self through chal­leng­ing aca­d­e­mics, and expand your net­work. Your lan­guage skills improve, and your growth oppor­tu­ni­ties expand.

What do col­lege stu­dents learn when they study abroad?

Earn­ing an inter­na­tion­al bach­e­lor’s degree and glob­al per­spec­tives are relat­ed. You will learn that the world is inter­con­nect­ed and that humans are inter­de­pen­dent. Your per­spec­tive of the world changes, and, in turn, your opin­ion of who and what you are in the gen­er­al scheme of things changes, too.

How impor­tant is study­ing abroad for a col­lege stu­dent?

Col­lege stu­dents must expe­ri­ence inter­na­tion­al study because of its life-chang­ing ben­e­fits. Even a sin­gle semes­ter abroad can bring pos­i­tive changes in your world­view, sense of self, and independence.

How can study­ing abroad help col­lege stu­dents devel­op a glob­al per­spec­tive?

You will gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of a for­eign cul­ture, includ­ing its peo­ple, his­to­ry, and tra­di­tions. Your cul­tur­al aware­ness and com­pe­tence improve. You can see the world from a dif­fer­ent perspective.