Benefits of Study Abroad
"Before this semester I lived the way I had been taught to live by my culture and had the feeling that I really couldn't change anything. After being in Australia the last three months, I am beginning to have a whole new outlook and realize that changing the way we live is feasible."
Alum of the Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action program
Study abroad is widely recognized for the value it adds to an undergraduate education. Many universities are strongly supportive of international study (even mandating it in some cases), and new federal and state legislation supports increased funding and support for international education. Employers are interested in seeing international education experience on resumes and discussing this experience during interviews.
SIT Study Abroad programs have unique qualities and components, particularly in the areas of experiential, field-based learning; undergraduate research; deep cultural immersion; and community engagement.
Here are just some of the benefits of studying abroad:
- Gain new perspective on the world. SIT Study Abroad programs take students through a cultural and academic experience from the inside out. Students explore issues related to globalization, development, poverty, and social inequity from many different perspectives. When they return to the US, students almost always see things differently: They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes more easily and have a more nuanced understanding of the world.
- Increase language skills. Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught all or in part in the target language. By using language skills in daily life, students on our programs discover that they not only can survive but flourish in another country.
Note: No formal language instruction is offered for credit on IHP/Comparative programs.
- Learn research methods and ethics. Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program theme. Students develop research skills and approaches including: cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.
- Improve, learn, and refine decision-making and problem-solving skills. Students studying abroad find themselves in new situations all the time. When students maneuver through uncharted territory and convey their needs and thoughts using new language and intercultural skills, they gain confidence. These skills are transferable to other aspects of life, both personal and professional.
- Test your interests. While studying abroad, especially on a field-based program like SIT, students can often take their interests in a more specific, applied direction. For example, they can try field research or clinical work and/or interact with professionals working in fields of interest to them.
- Make new contacts and form lasting connections. Between academic directors, in-country lecturers, and program staff; other SIT students; homestay families; and program contributors, students form a large network of people during their study abroad experience. Some students may call upon their in-country professional contacts soon after the program’s conclusion, perhaps in pursuit of a Fulbright or Watson scholarship; others stay in touch with homestay families for decades; still others form lifelong friendships with their SIT peers. These relationships can be deeply enriching.
"My experience abroad reemphasized where my interests lay, both personally and academically, and at the same time provided a holistic and invaluable aspect to my education involving insight into the human condition. Although people of different cultures and traditions may vary, certain human aspects have basic universal components worldwide. The interactions I had with several Kenyans emphasized those components and allowed me to expand my perception of people and my respect for differences."
Alum of the Kenya: Islam and Swahili Cultural Identity program
- How to Choose a Program
- View SIT Study Abroad Undergraduate Research / ISP Collection
- View the 2013 Overview Brochure (PDF, 1MB)
- View the 2013 Semester Catalog (PDF, 4MB)
- View the 2013 Summer Catalog (PDF, 1MB)
- View Our Photo Galleries on Flickr
- Academic Resources/Library
- Track Your Application Online
- US State Department "Students Abroad"
- SIT Study Abroad Gear