Statistics reveal that between 2007 and 2007, about 262, 000 American students registered for studies abroad in different foreign countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and in the African countries based on their fields of study and interests. This statistics also indicates that the above data represents an 8. 5 increase in the students studying abroad from the previous year. About a decade ago, about 100, 000 thousand students took part in study abroad programs. The above representation infers that number of United States students studying in the international schools across the borders have increased by more than 130 percent within the decade. According to the worldwide statistics, more than 3. 2 million students are registering for international studies abroad, and the number seems to increase at about 5 percent every year. By 2025, studies project that about 10 million international students will be studying outside their homes. These researches have also indicated that learners are commonly found in the international institutions during their college education and continue with the increase in globalization. The mostly studied courses abroad include arts, humanities, business, social sciences, and life or physical sciences. However, a few students also travel abroad to learn international language majors (DuFon, & Eton, p13). This has been attributed to the fact that students studying abroad have increasingly become concerned with the development of their personal life, become more self-confidence, and broaden their scope of thinking. Research also reveals that perfecting a foreign language through learning in the classrooms is more difficult than living in the cultures where the language is the primary mode of communication.
Globalization has brought about international competition, which has made education an international concern. Most learners and professionals have identified the need for international competition. Therefore, the number of international students studying abroad has increased in the bid for international competition in the social, economic, and professional achievements (Byram, pp. 56-78). The competition in the professional world as well as production is increasing all over the globe, with employers raising the standards for employment to include the consideration of the credibility of the institutions of learning. Companies are also looking for potential employees with more studies, extensive curriculums, and more experiences in their fields of study. People are learning more languages to work in diverse environments, especially in the international markets (DuFon, & Eton, p. 79). They are equally acquiring more degrees to remain relevant to the international job market demands.
Studying abroad has been proven to increase the personal skills of the learner in addition to imparting more career knowledge on the learners. Students studying abroad, whether on long term or short basis have to deal with a whole new different environment with a host of different laws and regulations, different cultures, and a different general world including weather and other geographical differences (Carlson, & Keith, p. 15). These learners are consequently forced to adapt to these new environments. They are forced to deal with new ways of doing things and thinking. They learn from the local cultures and the ways of acting. These new experiences prepare the learners to know how to handle different situations in different perspectives. For instance, the rules governing doing business in Australia are different from those in Italy, France or Germany, or even the United States. While the learners require these diversities to handle different situations, they also boost their experience and exposure. The simple laws such as keeping left or right in different roads in different countries are equally important to learn while studying abroad.
Cultural integration is one of the resounding effects of studying abroad. While studying abroad, in addition to professional skills, the learners acquire social skills, which entail cultural mixing. There are learners from different destinations in international schools. Studying abroad implies that the students are studying away from their comfort zones, which are their homes in the company of different students from different cultures, beliefs such as religion, and other social skills. Students are assigned work or class assignments in groups with students from different cultures and they learn how to work together amidst their diversity. This provides an experience for the learners to find the midpoint of all the members of every team of students (Dwyer, p 154). Other school teams such as sporting teams or academic teams also bring student from different nationalities together. Consequently, the learners realize that there are several viewpoints of every situation, as well as several distinct ways of solving them. Additionally, while studying abroad, international students hold cultural events and invite students from different countries to experience their cultural diversity. Through such events, students experience and understand how different events such as birthdays or religious celebrations are celebrated across different cultures. A common saying goes that, if you want to learn about someone, walk in his shoes. Reading about other cultures in books or watching them on television does not provide the learners with the accurate information as traveling to these destinations.
On the other hand, studying abroad has been blamed for a number of problems on the learners. While students leave their homes for studies abroad, they experience new environments and freedoms, which come with being away from the control of their parents and family members. They are, therefore, left at the mercy of the society. In most cases, this has led to decays in their behavior. For instance, learners travel to the international schools to seek education in the international environments, where they are usually alone and are exposed to new behaviors. These students might be influenced by the behaviors in the new environments, and abandon their cultures. This will not only lead to cultural decay, but also to problems associated with the erosion of some cultures. As more and more students travel to the international community to seek education. Their local cultures get eroded. On the positive side, this can be translated to imply that the students returning from their international studies might influence the locals with their new cultural trends, thereby upgrading the retrogressive cultural practices.
There are several factors that might also hinder study abroad. For instance, cultural differences might prevent students from opting to study abroad. The parents might be unwilling to sponsor their children to study abroad for the fear of cultural differences. In addition, the cost of education is a major concern for several learners (Walton, 2009). These learners are faced with the challenge of securing the chances to study abroad and financing these studies as well as stay abroad. For learners from the underdeveloped economies, the costs of education and living in the developed world pose a major challenge. Therefore, they rely on sponsorship opportunities, which are usually rare and limited to a specific number. They might also fail to meet the qualifications for sponsorship. In this regard, study abroad has become the unrealized dream of many learners.
Away from the educational advantages of studying abroad, the adventures of studying in the international environment is advantage enjoyed by the students studying in the international community. As the living standards increase and the disposable income of individuals rise, they usually think of improving their knowledge and exploring more about the world. Studying abroad is one of the adventurous means of exploring the international environment (McKeown, p. 87). Studying abroad also enables the learners to develop their international attitudes as well as global perspectives. It also gives the students more prestige in their own country since the fact that people abandon their local education systems to travel to another country infers that they consider their host destinations superior to their systems. In this regard, members of the host countries feel honored.
Studying abroad also raises the value of the learners’ certificates and credentials. Students returning from their studies abroad usually get an upper hand in the opportunities available in their homes. While they have the advantage of acquiring job opportunities in the international markets, which local students might not be privileged to have, they can also access the local opportunities ahead of their local counterparts because they are believed to have acquired the best education in their fields of study from their interactions with the best methods of study. For instance, in the developing economies, they are always trying to upgrade their education systems to emulate those of the developed economies. In this regard, the international students from these countries are considered to have undergone the best education systems with the best resources. This implies that when opportunities are available for them, they are most likely to get first considerations, especially in fast paced environments.
In conclusion, studying abroad has been associated to several advantages despite limited criticism, especially from cultural conservatives, who would not want to embrace changes in the internationally integrating culture. The number of students seeking international education is increasingly high in the century, and further projections indicate that the students studying abroad will increase to about 10 million students by 2025. Most of the education systems all over the world are being upgraded to meet the required international standards to ensure that learners have the opportunity to meet the requirements of the international job markets. Some of the advantages of studying abroad include cultural integration, access to quality education with adequate resources and experienced staff, and widened scope of thinking through global exposure. Most students are yearning for opportunities to study abroad. However, the costs of education and living in the international environments pose a challenge to the learners. Another advantage of the study abroad is the increased interaction of the learners, which lead to increased globalization. Different learners from different environment meet to share their diversities and integrate to form a common culture, which shares common viewpoints and perspectives to handling different situations. With the proposed increase of international students, the rate of globalization will equally rise in similar or more percentages by 2025.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
Anderson, Philip H., et al. ” Short-term study abroad and intercultural sensitivity: A PilotStudy.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 30. 4 (2006): 457-469.
Byram, Michael, and Anwei Feng. Living and Studying Abroad: Research and Practice. Buffalo: Multilingual Matters Ltd, 2006. Print.
Carlson, Jerry S., and Keith F. Widaman. ” The effects of study abroad during college OnAttitudes toward other cultures.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 12. 1 (2010): 1-17.
Cressey, William W. Guide to Studying Abroad. New York: Random House, 2004. Print.
DuFon, Margaret A, and Eton Churchill. Language Learners in Study Abroad Contexts. Clevedon [Angleterre: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Print.
Dwyer, Mary M. ” More Is Better: The Impact of Study Abroad Program Duration.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad 10 (2004): 151-163.
McKeown, Joshua S. The First Time Effect: The Impact of Study Abroad on College Student Intellectual Development. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2009. Print.
Walton, Whitney. Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad: France and The United States, 18901970. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009. Internet resource.