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5 Reasons to Encourage Your Kids to Study Abroad


To a lot of parents, a study abroad program often seems like a lot of money for little in the way of concrete returns. However, if there is an affordable opportunity, getting into a study abroad program can be a valuable way to help your children learn more skills and promote the kinds of awareness and abilities that will help them later in life. Regardless of what some people might think, allowing your children to explore the world beyond their home country can lead to some very positive results. Here are some good reasons to encourage your kids to take a trip beyond the border at some point in their academic lives.

1. Independence

Being out of the country leads to a fuller sense of personal independence. This is important for young people; when they are forced to make independent decisions and provide for their own immediate needs, they develop lifelong skills they can use later in their careers.

2. Cultural Appreciation

It may sound like a kind of social cliché, but cultural appreciation is more than just fawning over foreign food (which you can do while on U.S. soil) or liking a kind of music. It means getting thoroughly involved in a society that is not your own, to more fully understand the nature of the global community. This kind of experience can serve your kids well no matter where they end up later in their lives.

3. Language Skills

Being in a foreign country is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. Chances are, your child will be able to use these front language skills later, whether it's in translations or interpreting or some other more informal role. If nothing else, the foreign language skills can help with future coursework or a generally well-rounded education.

4. Networking

Kids involved in study abroad programs often come into contact with future friends and associates during their travels. Again, this can be an informal way to broaden horizons, or, in some cases, the precedent for future networking that can allow your kids to take advantage of other international opportunities down the road.

5. The "Soft Value" of a Study Abroad Program

In the end, some parents encourage their kids to study abroad for the same reason that universities and colleges promote a liberal arts education: there is a good foundation for the view that the general "liberal arts" or "B.A." education prepares students for a range of careers including administration, sales, creative roles or entrepreneurship. The study abroad goal fits neatly into this equation for the reasons listed above, because people simply grow more when they are temporarily removed from their regular routine and exposed to a greater set of environments.

Think about all of the above when you're contemplating a study abroad opportunity for your children.

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