Studying abroad is increasingly becoming a quintessential part of the undergraduate experience. As the data from the Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors report can attest, the number of students studying abroad (and the number of international students studying in the US) continues to grow with each passing year. It is not just college students that stand to benefit from international experience, however. As a recent article from Asian Correspondent Online relates, children of almost any age have a lot to gain from studying abroad.
The benefits, which can be both intangible and tangible, can stay with a child for life. For example, because international education often fosters creative thinking, studies indicate that students who have spent at least some time abroad develop innovative problem solving skills. At the same time, because many international classrooms are, quite literally, smaller, students stand to gain from the kind of favorable student-teacher ratio that promotes student engagement and, ultimately, success.
Studying abroad as a child can pay dividends in other ways as well. Many international private schools put a strong emphasis on higher education and they make college preparation a top priority. As a result, pupils have a leg-up – and access to a wealth of resources and relationships – when it comes to college admissions. Then, too, because success creates its own virtuous circle, successful alumni can serve as strong advocates and mentors for their juniors at every phase of life.
In the end, though, one of the greatest advantages of studying abroad at a young age comes not from connections but from conjugation. Because language acquisition becomes markedly more difficult with time, childhood is the best time for a language immersion experience. By virtue of using English in their classes – and with their classmates – students will be able to master English at an early age. Such proficiency, an increasingly common requirement both at top-level classrooms and boardrooms around the world, means that an international childhood can help ensure a successful adulthood.