CISabroad White Paper: Positive Impacts of Study Abroad

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The Positive Impacts of Education Abroad Students will increase interpersonal skills and competencies modern employers crave WANT TO DIG DEEPE


Check out our discus sion qs and share your though ts: pact

by Kris Holloway, MPH, President, CISabroad

There are many studies that point to the benefits of students receiving part of their undergraduate education abroad. What are those benefits that could be realized in the classroom through tapping into new attitudes and skill sets? And what are the benefits realized to the student and the institution for years to come?

How does education abroad position the student for success and, therefore, raise the profile of their home institution as a place where good ideas, unique talents, and individual growth are fostered and valued?

Positive Impact No. 1

Your students will increase their intrapersonal skills. Intrapersonal skills are those internal communication skills, the self-talk, that guide our emotion and behavior. They apply to a person’s emotional intelligence. Many of these skills are not taught in school but are critical to success in work and life.

Data According to analysis of CISabroad student evaluations in 2016, responses to the question, “In which of the following ways has your study abroad experience impacted your life?” included: ● Increased self-confidence: 82% Agree ● Increased independence: 97% Agree ● Expanded curiosity of the world: 96% Agree ● I was able to adapt to my new culture and its challenges: 100% Agree CISabroad Positive Impact of Study Abroad, 2016 According to a 2012 study by IESabroad, the long-term benefits of study abroad include: ● Personal growth: 97% report increased maturity, 96% report increased self-confidence ● Intercultural development: 98% report a better understanding of their own cultural values and biases The Benefits of Study Abroad, IES Study, 2012


Data Why is this important? Check out the chart below about what attributes employers are looking for!


Positive Impact No. 2

Your students will increase their interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are those that involve communicating and working with other people. As our world is increasingly complex, the ability to communicate in teams, across time zones, ages, cultures, and languages is critical.

Data Responses to: “In which of the following ways has your study abroad experience impacted your life?” Study abroad has further developed my interpersonal communication skills: 75% Agree CISabroad Positive Impact of Study Abroad, 2016 ●

According to a 2017 study by the Institute for the International Education of Students, different types of programs abroad build different interpersonal skills - all valuable in the modern workplace. ● Studying on a longer-term program (semester or longer) increases communication skills. ● Studying on a short-term program (less than 8 weeks) increases teamwork skills. ● STEM majors who study in non-STEM fields have high gains in skill development. Gaining An Employment Edge - The Impact of Study Abroad, IIE Study, 2017 2




Ability to work within a team


Communication skills (written)


Problem-solving skills


Communication skills (verbal)


Strong work ethic




Analytical/Quantitative skills




Technical skills


Job Outlook 2016: Attributes Employers Want to See on New College Graduates’ Resumes, NACE Study, 2016

“Start fresh and truly immerse yourself in the new country. You’ll have to behave a little differently, communicate differently, and be uncomfortable. It’s much easier if you don’t think, ‘This is not how we do it in the U.S.,’ and instead think, ‘I’m in someone else’s shoes. How do they live their life?’” Galina Fendikevich, New York Institute of Technology, Semester in Prague - Fall 2015

Positive Impact No. 3

Your students will increase competencies that matter to employers and graduate schools and that will make a difference in their careers. And what about their careers? Students who studied abroad find employment more quickly than their peers post graduation, but they’ll also see more long-term impact to their careers. ● Students who took the challenge to study in alternative destinations had bigger gains in skill development and career utility. ● Students who study abroad are twice as likely to be employed within 6 months of graduation. ● Skills gained have long-term impact on career progression (promotion and differentiation from competition).

Data Gaining An Employment Edge - The Impact of Study Abroad, IIE Study, 2017 Cathy N. Davidson, author of “The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux,” detailed what Google recently learned about its employees and what that means for students across the U.S. Their biggest takeaway? As Davidson details in a recent article in the Washington Post, “Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.” Washington Post, The surprising thing Google learned about its employees - and what it means for today’s students, 2017

“Before applying for this internship program, I was hesitant because I wasn't sure if the large financial investment would pay off. Now that it’s my last week, I've realized what a great decision it was. Not only have I gained a tremendous amount of technical skill, but I’ve also improved my social skills. Many students underestimate the value of having and being able to show that one has experience working with people. Company recruiters look for people who can work well with others. Sure, technical skill is important, but ultimately, you won't be doing your job alone.” Jennifer Seki, UCLA, UC Davis Custom Internship in Sydney - Summer 2017

SUMMARY These three positive impacts of study abroad are exactly what employers are looking for. And, frankly, they’re what we all want for our students and even our own children. So, no matter if it’s a short-term faculty-led program, a summer internship, or a full semester or year with CISabroad, the benefits to students are a key part of a quality U.S. undergraduate education.