The Surprising Benefits of Study Abroad Travel Programs

Attention college students: Want a job when you graduate? Then participate in a study abroad program. That’s the message from a recent survey by StudentUniverse which has been helping college kids travel the world since 1999.

Listen as StudentUniverse CEO Atle Skalleberg lists more reasons to study abroad like fun and friends:

A bunch of college kids did what on a plane?

What is Study Abroad

Most study abroad programs in the U.S. are affiliated with universities and offer a wide range of courses from art to literature or sciences. It can take weeks or months, but semester-long programs and summer sessions are most popular.

Study abroad stints in Europe were the overwhelming favorite of U.S. students responding to the StudentUniverse survey, with London, Paris and Madrid topping the list – but Beijing and other cities in Asia also made the top 10 destinations and China is expected to becoming increasingly popular in the future.

Cheap Flights to Europe – 5 Easy, Money-saving Tips

Survey Says, Study Abroad Students Find Jobs

Not so long ago, graduation ceremonies were immediately followed by the kids heading off to new jobs. Today, more and more head home with mom and dad to look for a job – which make these StudentUniverse survey numbers especially intriguing:

  • 75%* claimed their study abroad experience influenced their career path
  • 94% put their study abroad program on their resume
  • 88% said it helped them gain employment

*Figures have been rounded

That last number is the eye opener, but here’s another – from a survey conducted last year by IES Abroad, which calls itself “the leading not-for-profit provider of study abroad programs” for U.S. students.

  • Nearly 90% of IES Abroad study abroad alumni “found their first job within six months of graduation, as compared to only 49% of respondents in a recent survey of the general college graduate population who had found work within a year of finishing school.”

8 tips to find cheap flights for college kids

Practical Tips for Study Abroad Students

If you’re interested in studying abroad, the time to plan is now. Program slots are limited so talk to your school and think about where you’d like to go. Then, the planning begins:

Check airfare prices about five months ahead. Try to make your purchase no later than a month-and-a-half before departure.

Winter is the cheapest time to fly to Europe. Spring and fall are relatively cheap too but summer is peak season (with prices to match).

Don’t overpack. Airline fees for excess and/or overweight bags can run in the hundreds of dollars. [Editor’s note: Been there. Paid that. Lesson learned!]

Budget for additional travel. You’ll want to see more than the city you’re based in and getting around by air can be a good deal especially in Europe which has several discount airlines to choose from including EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and others (warning: these discount carriers love to pile on the fees for any and every extra).

Have fun. But don’t forget to do some studying.

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Published: May 31, 2013