5 benefits to studying abroad for your college-age child

Tips By Lauren McMenemy Jan 15, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

It can be nerve-wracking to send your child out into the world unaccompanied, but research shows many benefits to studying abroad. Spending an extended period in another country can not only make them more resilient and confident, but it could also set them on an exciting career path.

Here are five ways studying abroad could benefit your child as they start the next chapter of their life.

1. Increased confidence, resilience and independence

When your child arrives in a new country, they’ll have to adapt quickly. Adjusting to a new culture can feel overwhelming as the tasks they take for granted become more challenging, like going to the doctor or ordering food. However, overcoming those challenges will ultimately help to enhance their self-reliance and resilience.

A survey by the Institute for the International Education of Students explored the long-term impact of studying abroad on a student’s personal, professional and academic life. It found that 97% of those who studied internationally said it helped them feel more mature, 96% reported increased self-confidence and 89% said it helped them to tolerate ambiguity.

2. Stronger career prospects

Research from the British Council found that overseas-educated graduates have “strong advantages” in several professional areas, including interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving, analytical thinking and creativity. These graduates could expect a salary boost of 10% to 20% compared with other candidates.

Similarly, international study organisation Erasmus researched its alumni to understand the impact that studying abroad had on their lives. Results showed that 80% of their graduates found their first job after graduation within three months, which is greater than those who had not studied abroad during higher education.

Choosing the right international programme can teach your child the skills that employers seek, such as strong leadership and team management skills, strong communication, flexibility and cross-cultural awareness. Navigating a new home involves logical planning and critical thinking, which are essential in the modern workplace.

3. Cheaper tuition or cost of living

It’s likely you’ll need to give some financial support, no matter where your child settles at school. However, you can make the cost easier for everyone to bear. One of the less-cited benefits to studying abroad is taking advantage of cheaper tuition and costs of living.

Many parts of continental Europe, Asia and Latin America are home to schools with low tuition fees or none at all. The lower price of basic goods in other countries can also make it easier to handle the cost of living away from home for the first time.

Of course, if there still needs to be a direct line to the Bank of Mum and Dad, solutions like the Western Union® app can get money to a student abroad quickly and reliably, easing money concerns for everyone.

4. A larger, more diverse personal network

Also essential in modern business is a global network. Studying abroad won’t just help your child to build personal relationships with people from all over the world, it will also introduce them to future colleagues, employers or business partners.

The Erasmus report found 75% of alumni who had studied abroad were planning to set up their own company in the future, and 10% already had. By studying abroad, your child will meet ambitious, entrepreneurial and curious people with big plans and networks.

5. An overall broader worldview

It goes without saying that the benefits of studying abroad largely centre around experiencing new cultures. Studying abroad can open your child’s mind to new perspectives and lifestyles in a way that they wouldn’t get from a one-week vacation.

Living and studying in a new country will open your child’s eyes to how others live. They will become more tolerant of difference, and develop an openness and curiosity about new challenges.

Global leaders know the importance of seeing the world and developing an understanding of cultures and backgrounds other than your own — studying abroad can help your child gain the skills needed to be a leader for tomorrow’s world.