Encouraging study abroad sooner than later

Chris Cook, Coordinator of Academic Support Services and Director of the Sophomore Experience Abroad (S.E.A.) for COS Academic Services, had an article titled “Encouraging Study Abroad Sooner Than Later” published in the December 2011 edition of Academic Advising Today, NACADA publication.

“Adaptability, like most skills, is more beneficial the earlier it is learned. In the September 2010 issue of Academic Advising Today, Ian Keil (University of Southern California) described the importance of study abroad. In his article, Keil (2010) demonstrated how fundamental the development of “adaptability” is to a study abroad experience and to students’ academic careers. While Keil provided readers with an excellent argument for promoting and supporting study abroad, I would suggest that advisors should go a step further and encourage students to experience different cultures earlier in their academic careers.

Carlson, Burn, Useem and Yachomowicz (1990) noted that study abroad experiences promote higher educational attainment for participating students (p.92). In fact, Young (2004) found that students taking part in a study abroad at a particular liberal arts university were more likely to graduate in four years than those who chose not to do so (p. 20). Among the many studies on the benefits of study abroad, Milstein (2005) reported a 95.5 percent increase in perceived self-efficacy (p. 228), Twibell & Ryan (2000) describe a major impact of the experience being an increase in personal growth (p.421), and Juhasz and Walker (1988) argue that study abroad participants develop more realistic self-appraisals of self-confidence, self-reliance, maturity, and independence (p.336). In sum, Leslie and Sutton (2010) compiled evidence that the study abroad experience fosters growth in self-identity and the understanding of personal goals in a broad social and cultural context with impacts “far beyond language acquisition” (pp. 166-171). These are qualities most advisors would like to cultivate in our freshmen and sophomore advisees. Taken one step further, it is equally important that we consider how more exposure to global and cultural issues can increase our students’ chances for success in the future.”

Read more of Cook’s piece here.

Comments are closed.