Students say their employability skills will benefit from study abroad programs, but two-thirds say cost is the primary barrier.

Students say study abroad opportunities boost employability skills

Two-thirds of students say cost is the primary barrier to studying abroad, and many don't feel completely informed about funding options

Key points:

Students in a recent survey say they believe participating in study abroad opportunities can help their personal and professional growth. Voice of the Students, from engagement edtech provider Terra Dotta, offers insights on students’ study abroad perspectives.

Studying abroad has shown to increase students’ graduation rates, employability and overall cultural awareness, and the survey concurs–90 percent of students indicate study abroad is important for their personal and professional growth. Most students consider problem solving (60 percent), adaptability (59 percent) and cross-cultural communication to be career-relevant skills they learn during a time learning abroad. Overall, 83 percent of students say that studying abroad has an impact on their worldview.

While two-thirds of students surveyed plan to go abroad, two-thirds also say cost is the primary barrier. Overall, 70 percent of students interested report that they rely on financial aid and scholarships to fund the experience, yet 60 percent don’t feel completely informed about how to manage tuition and finances.

“Students value study abroad as a global experience that can expand their worldview and it’s up to institutions to provide clear and reliable information on their options – including funding,” said Ron Carson, CMO of Terra Dotta. “By utilizing solutions to improve students’ access to program information and financial aid and scholarship resources, study abroad offices can help increase study abroad accessibility, while future-proofing for a new era of international education.”

Communicating the value

Higher-ed institutions play a critical role in promoting study abroad opportunities, as more than half of today’s students first discover study abroad through their university (e.g., information sessions, orientation, website or marketing), followed by family and friends (32 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) of students get their information from their school’s website and the top resources students cited as helpful in selecting a program are dedicated study abroad advisors, a database of student reviews and experiences and program provider info sessions.

There is an opportunity for institutions to better connect with students on important program details, because more than half of students don’t feel completely informed about credit transfer (62 percent), how to fulfill and align programming to degree requirements (56 percent) and tuition and financial aid options for learning abroad (60 percent).

Increasing accessibility

Improving affordability and sharing financial aid information for such programs is crucial to help grow the number and diversity of students who learn abroad. When asked about the top thing institutions could do to make learning abroad more accessible, 41 percent of students said the institution could help them learn about financial aid for study abroad and 30 percent said to make the process easier. Besides cost, global safety concerns (36 percent), worried parents (25 percent) and geopolitical issues (24 percent) are also prominent factors that might limit the number of students participating in such programs. This is an opportunity for institutions to do more to address safety perceptions and provide communication and alert tools. 

This press release originally appeared online.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione