Monday was the deadline for many of Boston University’s spring study abroad programs, and it is around this time that younger students and their parents tend to discuss how they would or would not benefit from studying abroad in a future semester.
Is it academically advantageous for college students to study abroad?
That answer depends on a student’s academic concentration. Clearly, the experience would benefit an international relations student. An understanding of another country’s economic, social and political climates is essential to his or her career.
On the other hand, a journalism major might consider the quality of a domestic internship greater than a London internship, one of the abroad programs offered to BU journalism students.
The academic coursework that BU offers overseas also has the reputation of being less rigorous or academically challenging than the coursework in Boston. Students who are serious about completing eight productive semesters in college might choose to opt out of study abroad programs for that reason.
Then again, some companies might consider a candidate who studied abroad more competitive than a candidate who did not. Studying abroad shows intellectual curiosity, a trait that many employers find attractive.
The uniqueness of the study abroad experience should also be considered. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is worth noting that a semester overseas costs just as much if not less than a semester at BU. Chances are, upon graduating, not many students will have the opportunity to spend several months abroad.
Choosing whether or not to study abroad is a personal decision. There are many factors to be considered. The academic worth of a semester overseas depends on students’ desired careers. Some concentrations lend themselves to those experiences, while others, not so much.