Studying abroad is an increasingly popular choice for undergraduate students--and for good reason! It provides said students with an opportunity to explore different cultures, immerse themselves in a new language, and broaden their intellectual horizons. For many people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime educational pursuit.
Yet, studying abroad may also improve your chances of gaining acceptance into graduate school. How?
Nearly every industry is growing more globalized, and companies are beginning to demand that employees understand the world in a different manner. Studying abroad can deepen one's exposure to new places, ideas, and cultures. Graduate schools seek well-rounded students who can compete in a globalized, ever-evolving market.
Consider writing about your study abroad experiences in your personal statement. You can elaborate upon viewing your prospective industry, education, or research on a global level, from the perspective of a different culture. This can add an additional layer of context to your persona as an applicant, as well as demonstrate a broader knowledge base than the student who has never left his/her home state.
Studying abroad can be challenging, as you are introduced to a new academic system, a new country and culture, and perhaps a new language. If you can overcome and succeed in this environment, you may prove to graduate schools that you are prepared to shoulder the more rigorous curriculum they offer.
Graduate schools desire students who are self-motivated and willing to explore academic pursuits beyond the classroom. Studying abroad shows a genuine passion for your field and that you wish to challenge yourself beyond the basic curriculum.
Study abroad programs can be especially helpful for those studying foreign language majors and minors. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture and language may be the ideal way to truly become fluent. Bilingual students will likely stand out in graduate school admissions.
If you plan to attend graduate school outside of the country, a study abroad program can present you with a great opportunity to explore possible locations and learn more about your prospective schools. Additionally, your experience will prove to those schools that you are ready, willing, and able to take on this exciting challenge of living and studying in a different country.
Study abroad programs are much different than classes at your college or university. Depending on your program, you may have the option to travel with undergraduate and graduate students from schools all across the country and the world. This is a wonderful opportunity to network with diverse individuals.