Why every ASU student should study abroad

Students often cite studying abroad as the highlight of their academic career and a crucial moment in helping them gain a more nuanced view of the world. Study abroad programs provide an opportunity for all students to develop a valuable skill set that can truly enhance a college experience. 

For Sun Devils, the world is rife with opportunities for exploration.

The Study Abroad Office at ASU works hard to ensure any student can take advantage of the opportunity, no matter their course requirements, financial aid status or destination of interest. The office hosts more than 250 programs in over 65 countries, and students can explore program options on all seven continents. Students may study in a wide range of disciplines, from mathematics to fashion to forensic science and beyond. Time restrictions also pose no barrier to the intrepid student, as all can attend programs as short as seven days to as long as an entire academic year.

The personal benefits of study abroad are abundant — students can grow personally, academically and professionally, developing critical skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. They also increase their knowledge of their chosen field of study through the lens of different cultures, traditions and histories. 

Anyone, from a nontraditional student on the West campus to a student athlete housed in the Greek Village, can travel out of their comfort zone to network with students, faculty and community members who have similar interests and goals. Thousands of Sun Devils embark on new journeys across the world each year to accomplish all of this and more. 

Through these dynamic experiences, students also develop their leadership skills and confidence while navigating a brand new city. Planning their route on the London metro, navigating their walk to class in Lima, Peru, or figuring out the bus system in Sydney, Australia, students learn to rely on newfound abilities and trust themselves to flourish in unfamiliar settings.

Academically, studying abroad opens doors to global learning with a new perspective, where every study abroad program is credit-bearing and can count toward graduation requirements. No need to worry about receiving credits for a study abroad program. It’s simple — students can find ASU-equivalent academic credits when they travel on a study abroad program. All credits received will count toward their GPA, and by working with their academic adviser, students could be able to complete much-needed graduation requirements like a core class or an internship. Then with a diploma in hand, the global Sun Devil can easily turn their experience abroad into professional opportunities. 

Nikil Selvam, a computer science and economics major, cited how much students can learn from studying abroad: "You learn from a lot of different people and you learn a lot about the world itself in a way that just being at ASU won't teach you."

Professionally, students open themselves up to a world of opportunities to grow and better position themselves for a head start on their career goals. Many know that study abroad is an experience that can help students master a foreign language — a boon in many of today’s career paths — however, programs also aid in students’ understanding of intercultural dynamics and world issues. This is an invaluable attribute on any student’s resume and the perfect talking point to highlight in interviews. Studying the elements of modern design in Vietnam or the techniques of sustainability in Costa Rica ensure students are well-positioned for an internship or full-time job soon after.

Morgan Wendlandt, a business entrepreneurship major with minors in theater and studio art, talked about how study abroad affected her career path in her blog post "A Change in Perspective May Just Change Your Life." “I realized that I wanted to own my own art-based business as well as live in Ireland. Now I am looking for another internship and making plans to move to Dublin after I graduate,” she wrote.

Overall, study abroad is an opportunity students will treasure for a lifetime.