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Why Study Abroad?

9 reasons why international experience is key to the college experience

Angie Edwards, Director of International Education at Queens University of Charlotte

By Angie Edwards
Director of International Education

Yes, if you can, you absolutely should study abroad in college!

You may think I'm a bit biased, overseeing study abroad and international student services here at Queens University. But having worked in higher education for more than 15 years, I believe strongly in the power of international education experiences to change lives and the world for the better.

Below are nine thought-starters as you determine whether studying abroad is the right decision for you in your college journey. And with so many different ways to study abroad, spoiler alert: it is!

Student poses on balcony amid colorful tiles

There's no better way to prepare for taking on the world, than to let the world prepare you.

Events such as a global pandemic underscore the need for international education: global challenges can’t be addressed without people who can understand the global context of a situation and work across borders, time zones and cultures. Be ready to take on today’s world by experiencing it first-hand.


Student signing the peace wall in Belfast

Set yourself apart from the pack.

Only about 11% of U.S. college graduates study abroad. At Queens, studying abroad is the norm, so we will help you stand out from others entering the workforce or graduate school. Research by IES Abroad shows that 90% of students who studied abroad found their first job within 6 months of graduation, compared to 49% of the general population, and study abroad alums earned more than the general population of college graduates.

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Students outside Queens University of Belfast in Ireland

Employers are seeking the skills study abroad develops.

Many of employers' most-desired skills when hiring -- including flexibility/adaptability, initiative, communication skills, and problem-solving skills -- are skills honed during international experiences. And foreign language skills are always an asset! In an ever-more globalized world and job market, international experience and the skills it provides are in-demand.


Students go SCUBA diving

Study abroad is an investment in yourself.

College is all about growth and development, and there is no better way to grow than to stretch yourself. Might studying abroad take you out of your comfort zone? Sure! But that’s where some of the richest learning, growth and development happen. And Queens believes in a global perspective so much that we provide undergraduate students with a fund that covers most of the cost of an international experience.


Student at fish market

Discover other cultures.

Study abroad introduces you to fun and exciting things like new foods, new music, new traditions and new ways of doing things. You’ll also develop cross-cultural knowledge, cross-cultural navigation skills and cultural sensitivity. These skills and cultural curiosity will serve you well throughout life. Cross-cultural understanding is a touchstone of a Queens education, from study abroad to international diversity.


Students at the Great Wall of China

Discover yourself.

There is no better way to get to know yourself and who you really are meant to be than to step outside and see your world through a different lens. Study abroad will help you develop your views and perspectives on the world and life. That's only magnified by the many of Queens' study abroad programs that involve living with a local family.


Students in a large canoe

Change your scenery.

Who couldn’t use a change of scenery right now?! Envision yourself in one of the more than 150 amazing locations you can study abroad around the world, then make it happen. At Queens, your international excursion could range anywhere from 10-14 days on a faculty-led trip, four weeks for language immersion, a summer for a business program or a full semester abroad.


Student posing in front of Notre Dame

Do it for the 'Gram.

OK, kind of kidding here, but your time abroad is sure to produce some of your most cherished (and envy-inducing) pictures. While I studied abroad pre-social media, my office wall displays pictures from my travels that can take me back in an instant! The more photos you capture while on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the better!


Student entering a library

Study abroad can open doors.

Going abroad can open so many doors: making lifelong friends, finding opportunities for graduate school or work abroad after graduation. All our undergrads participate in an internship, and some choose to do theirs overseas. We have partnerships that enable us to offer professionally immersive internships during which you work abroad. You don’t know what’s waiting for you in the world unless you step out into it.

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