How studying abroad benefits today's students & tomorrow's employers
Studying abroad is an increasingly more common trend for college students. For some, it's the desire to see the world. For others, it's a résumé builder.
Regardless of the reasons, donor support and international partnerships (with the intent to create a more globally savvy workforce) are making it more economical for students to study abroad.
Business Students Want a More Well-Rounded Education
When students study abroad, they bring back more than what was discussed in the classroom. They're in a new place, with different culture - out of their comfort zone. It's only natural those uncomfortable situations will help them develop skills they would not normally receive stateside.
Chris Schrage, UNIBusiness Marketing Instructor and Global Opportunities Coordinator, agrees. "Study abroad experiences, whether short or long term, have a major impact in preparing students professionally. It also improves students' abilities to work in culturally diverse areas."
Employers Want More than Magna Cum Laude
Research shows more employers seek 21st century skills that are often gained through an international experience. In fact, "67 percent of employers desire candidates with intercultural knowledge and a perspective on global issues as related to human cultures in the physical and natural world." Further, over 60 percent of employers in 116 countries value international study when recruiting talent.
Schrage has been studying the impact of study abroad programs and has found an increase in cultural intelligence (CQ) in UNIBusiness students who have participated in an international academic program. After assessing students before and after the trip, there were increases in all four aspects of cultural intelligence: drive, knowledge, strategy and action.
In the area of CQ Knowledge, which is understanding of cultural differences in economic and legal systems, values, religious beliefs and language rules, the assessment revealed a 16 percent increase after students return.
Myle Duong, a senior marketing major, can attest to benefits of studying abroad. "I think my cultural knowledge improved, and I now have a much more open mind when working in culturally demanding situations. It also gave me a small peek into something I potentially want to do after graduation: work on a diverse marketing team and travel," said Duong.
Last summer she completed two global experiences: a two-week business course in Italy and a two-month internship in China. These experiences opened her eyes to the different cultures, work ethics and expectations, and gave her a sense of independence.
International Prep Comes with a Price
Experiences like Myle's are not free. A growing trend in higher education is to make international travel more affordable by taking on some of the financial burden. UNIBusiness is doing their part by offering Fly Free and cost neutral programs to help send more students overseas. "One out of every five UNIBusiness students has an international experience, our goal is to make that one in three," said Leslie Wilson, UNIBusiness Dean. "The Dean's Fund for Excellence is how we help students gain a professional edge. The fund is made up of donations by alumni, community members and businesses who believe in what we're doing. It's only a matter of time before every graduate of the UNI business program will include international travel on their résumé."
UNIBusiness thanks the those who donate to the Dean's Fund for Excellence. Funds raised help pay for student organization competitions, global experiences and professional credential education.
UNIBusiness' Points Plus program allows you to accumulate frequent flyer miles for yourself AND UNIBusiness. All we need is your rewards number.
Interested in an undergraduate or graduate degree from UNIBusiness at the University of Northern Iowa? Complete the form to learn more about our nationally recognized programs.