About U.S. Students Studying Abroad


American Association of State Colleges and Universities

“Among the myriad of changes facing higher education, none is more compelling than the need to provide campus environments that prepare students to live and function productively in a business and social milieu of great cultural, economic and linguistic diversity. If today's educated people are to be able to move comfortably in many different cultures, they must have the advantage of a global education. They should be exposed to other languages so that they can respect other tongues and abandon the arrogance that claims everyone knows or should know English. They must spend time with people of other races.”

Annan, Kofi
U.N. Secretary-General
United Nations

"…my first experience of studying or indeed living abroad happened thanks to a fellowship from the Ford Foundation, which took me to Macalester College as a young man. Given all that's happened to me since, I guess a start with the Ford Foundation can lead to anything!"

FitzSimons, Katherine C.
Graduate Student, B.A. Spanish, Journalism
University of Southern California

"It was inspiring to witness the workings of the E.U.; it encouraged me to take greater interest in Ireland, Spain and other member nations, and it open my mind to the future possibilities of working for and living in the E.U. Had I never studied abroad, I might have never understood the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and the E.U., and I might have never discovered my pride in being an Irish-American."

"The sense of independence I felt abroad boosted my self-confidence tremendously. I wasn’t failing or floundering, rather I was living, studying, traveling and exploring safely and successfully all on my own. I was actually thriving in another country, in another culture, and in another language."

"Obviously, studying abroad was a huge step-and change-for me because I was pretty sheltered growing up. The world outside of the U.S. was new to me and very exciting; I felt like a modern-day explorer or adventurer setting out to really live life and literally see the world."

Goodman, Allan E.
President and CEO
Institute of International Education

“The encounter in a seminar discussion or in a research task force an American might have with a foreign student introduces not only different ways of working on and solving a problem but also entirely different ways of thinking. Such interaction has the capacity to introduce the idea that civilization matters and that there may be more than one of them at work in the world. I also know that no one who studies abroad remains unchanged by the experience. Part of the change that occurs is the widening of a person's intellectual horizons and a dissolving of borders and boundaries. As the late Senator J. William Fulbright put it, "nations are transformed into people." There is something profoundly civilizational about that, too.”

Johnson, Victor C.
Former Associate Executive Director of Public Policy

"In today's global world, which places a premium on international literacy, students who are not exposed to the world and to other cultures will be left behind."

Moran, James P.

“These programs help to export American ideals. Ideals of democracy, human rights, good governance, freedom of speech and religion, personal responsibility, accountability, and the rule of law. In the aftermath of September 11th, hopefully, we as a nation, have come to the realization that we must be ever more resolute in promoting these ideals abroad.

Mossbarger, Miriam
Undergraduate Student, International Relations, minor Graphic Arts
University of Southern California

As a result of studying abroad, I am more confident in my ability to find a path in life that will be fulfilling, rewarding and a blessing to me and those around me. I am stronger, more resilient. Now I know what it means to be a global citizen.

Living in a foreign country, away from people and situations, which were familiar and comfortable, was unlike any other experience I’ve had. It helped boost my confidence in my ability to survive and thrive on my own. It forced me to think and reason for myself – to honestly listen to what people were telling me and take the time to figure out if what they were saying made sense. It demanded that I step away from what I had known in order to experience fully a foreign and sometimes frustrating culture.

My time abroad helped to develop my independence, critical thinking, and ability to thrive in an international setting. I felt my world shrink and expand simultaneously. Now I see possibilities for my career, my education and my life that I never before even realized existed. It literally felt as though the world had opened itself for me, and I had only to choose a path.

Study abroad did teach me something about people – despite differences in culture, religion, race, experience, and age, people are just people. No matter where you go, there will always be conservatives, liberals, free-thinkers, mainstreamers, people who challenge the status-quo and people who embody the status-quo. Sharing a common humanity means we will share common concerns, common experiences, common fears and joys, and through that find a common language with which to communicate our differences.