Study Abroad - The Advantage of Going Global

The globalization of the international economy has altered the way many companies conduct business. For example, many call centers are now located overseas. More workers in the United States communicate frequently with co-workers working in foreign countries. College students can prepare for the globalized economy by learning new languages and being exposed to foreign cultures. A great way to learn foreign languages and experience new cultures is to participate in a study abroad program.

Students enrolled in 4-year institutions and community colleges can benefit from participating in a study abroad program. In fact, because of globalization, more companies are recruiting graduates who speak foreign languages and have lived in other countries. Graduates with this experience will be better prepared to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Community college students, in particular, can greatly benefit from study abroad programs. This is due to the fact that nearly half of all community college students are currently employed full-time or are planning on entering the workforce once they leave school. Since more business is conducted overseas, companies highly value employees who have lived in foreign countries or speak multiple languages.

People with a good understanding of foreign languages and cultures communicate better with people from foreign countries. This is even true when the communication involves an e-mail or phone conversation. Because of this, companies often reward employees with these skills by promoting them or increasing their salaries.

A Growing Trend
It is projected that during the next few years more students will participate in study abroad programs. Many of these students will be community college students. Currently, just more than 2 percent of students participating in study abroad programs are enrolled in community colleges.

Since many students studying at community colleges work full-time and usually only attend a few classes each semester, more community colleges are making arrangements so more students can take advantage of studying abroad.

For example, many schools offer study abroad programs that are shorter than traditional ones that can be completed during school breaks. Some colleges will develop programs around a student's work schedule, so they get the opportunity to study abroad.

Ready to Launch
In many cases, professors teaching at community colleges will spearhead and organize study abroad programs. Another way community colleges open up opportunities for their students to study abroad is by partnering with 4-year or foreign colleges. Community Colleges for International Development is an organization that partners high schools and community colleges with educational institutions in other nations. As a result of its work, more American students are getting the opportunity to study in other countries.

Finding Funding

Although it would seem that studying abroad should be very expensive, most schools make it affordable. They do this by charging the same tuition rates that students are currently paying.

Students are usually required to pay for their room and board and traveling expenses. However, students can apply for financial aid to cover the costs of studying abroad. Students concerned about finances should not let this stop them from participating in one of these programs unless they are unable to acquire financial aid or other funding.

Since studying in a foreign country can be an unforgettable and beneficial experience, students should not let money get in the way of studying abroad unless it would be unreasonable to spend the money.

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