5 Benefits of Multi-Country Study Abroad Programs
Study abroad programs have been around for many years, and many of the benefits are undisputed. In today’s global economy, it is simply not enough to get a college education in a home country. Study abroad programs present students with access to cultures, societies and political leanings that simply cannot be learned from a textbook. Add to this the fact that immersion in a different language helps students to learn the language more quickly and many would argue that enrolling in a study abroad program is essential to today’s college education as well as tomorrow’s career possibilities.
Multi-Country Study Abroad Programs
Study abroad has been well-defined until a few new types of shorter, multi-country programs became available. In this type of program, students do travel to a different location to study, but do not stay in one place. Instead, the experience is a study abroad that moves with its enrollees. These flexible multi-country study abroad programs have many benefits that simply cannot be experienced in a typical semester-long course. Some of the benefits include:
1. Life Skills
– It has often been said that stress, if responded to correctly, can make students grow stronger. And moving from country to country can be very stressful, even in a guided multi-country study abroad program. Students who have successfully completed such experiences report that they have gained self-confidence in their abilities including talking to people they do not know and managing to communicate in a language they are not fluent in. Add in the everyday experiences that become difficult in different countries, such as connecting for a foreign phone network, ordering dinner or even taking a taxi to a venue and this type of program can be greatly stressful and just as greatly beneficial.
2. Many Cultures
– Even within the same country, there can be vast cultural differences. Being able to experience these and learn from them can help many students to qualify for jobs in the international marketplace. Also, many students find that they have a deep affinity for one culture above all others and look to focus their learning in that direction in order to qualify for a future career that will involve businesses and interactions from that location.
Students who do not find that they enjoy one culture over others still attain the benefit of learning about different cultures. The network of friends and associates that are frequently built in this type of study abroad program is typically one that can enhance a student’s career and overall life. Not only will students gain a network of other students who are also enrolled in the program, they will benefit from interaction from business professionals, children in the area, even retired seniors who appreciate interaction with students from other countries.
3. Diverse Experiences
– Stepping out of the culture that a student has experienced over a lifetime and into multiple cultures in quick secession provides a look at how each location is similar and dissimilar. Students who experience a traditional study abroad program may be able to gain an in-depth look at how two cultures compare, but the ability to add in 5 or 6 different locations, countries or cultures is vastly different. One result of such a program is that students may be better equipped to relate to others that initially seem to be very different, as students tend to relate more readily and easily the more they understand about the many unique cultures in the world.
4. Unforgettable Adventure
– Don’t leave out the fact that this type of multiple destination study abroad can be an unforgettable adventure. There are simply not many times in life when students are able to safely travel from country to country, from one unique city to another and learn as they go. Some of the best and most beneficial study abroad programs are staffed by well-known professors and business entities. Both help to provide real-life learning as they ensure the comfort, travel and safety of each student are of utmost importance.
5. Unique Planned Experiences
– Students who enroll in a multi-country study abroad typically benefit from a more intense opportunity-filled experience. Some of these opportunities include interacting with business executives involved in multi-national companies, visiting and learning from well-known companies like Coca-Cola, BMW and AT&T, and staying in 4-star hotels that are similar to those that a company may book for its own employees.
While there are certainly benefits to both long-term and shorter-term multi-country study abroad programs, students should take time to carefully weigh the benefits of each before making a selection. By looking at how each type might benefit future career goals and evaluating what type of learning can be experienced through each program, the choice becomes one step easier. After a study abroad program, students may find it easier to envision themselves in a future career and interacting as an important part of a global economy.