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Information for Parents: The What, Why and How

If you’re reading this page, you’ve likely got a student who’s told you they’re thinking about study abroad, and you’ve got some questions. We hope that the information below offers some helpful answers. This page includes basic about what study abroad is and how students who participate benefit from the opportunity. Click on the other additional links to the left for more information on financial issues, safety and heping your student prepare for the experience.

What is study abroad?
The UWG Office of Education Abroad supports exactly that: educational opportunities abroad. All of the programs advertised on our website are credit-bearing. Many are designed specifically by our faculty, while others are made available in cooperation with foreign institutions that allow UWG students to take courses on their campuses for a limited period of time. Students will have the opportunity to travel, explore and see wonderful new places, but they will be doing those things in the context of an academic program that allows them to earn credit towards their degrees.

OEA works with students to identify programs and coursework that fit into their plans of study. For exchange programs – longer programs that allow students to study on a partner university’s campus – we work with the student and their advisor to identify which courses will be the best fit for the student’s degree program. This means that the student’s time abroad doesn’t have to slow down their degree progress but should actually help move them closer to that goal.

What’s the benefit of studying overseas?
Study abroad helps students in a variety of ways. Travel helps students gain a broader perspective on their place in the world, and participating in a study abroad program often enhances students’ independence and confidence. On a practical level, educational programs abroad enable students to develop soft skills that are important on the job market: being able to adapt successfully to a new culture, both inside and outside the classroom, shows a potential employer that students can manage stressful situations and interact well with people from different backgrounds. Navigating a new city or trying to negotiate a purchase in a language you don’t speak (or that you’re still learning) helps develop problem-solving skills. Our office runs workshops to help students talk with potential employers about their time abroad so that they can think through the experience and highlight the skills and knowledge that they gained.

In addition to these kinds of soft skills, which recent research on employer needs indicates are a crucial piece of getting hired, students participating in programs in their majors develop unique, discipline-specific skills. Students of international business gain lived understanding of the field by pursuing courses in an international setting. Nursing students gain hands on-experience in community clinics as well as insight on the differences between the U.S. health system and those in other countries. Language students not only strengthen their speaking skills but also gain a deeper understanding of how local culture influences language. The experiential component of participating in study abroad adds depth and perspective to a student’s knowledge of their field.