Why Go Abroad?
Students typically speak of their experiences abroad as “life-changing” and count their international experience as one of the most rewarding features of their college careers. They not only advance themselves academically, but also acquire a renewed sense of intellectual energy and focus—and a much more sophisticated view of our complex world. They learn a lot about themselves and often find that stepping away from their regular routine provides them with new insights.
Read what some Princeton students had to say about their experiences abroad.
The benefits to integrating international experience into your time at Princeton are many. Here are a few:
- Special academic opportunities. For all students, but especially for those with an interest in area studies, attending a university abroad opens up an array of academic options: courses not offered at Princeton, access to research materials, and contact with foreign scholars and researchers in particular fields of interest. Foreign environments can also provide a kind of living laboratory for original research that can only be conducted on-site.
- Foreign language competency. The best way to become fluent in a foreign language is to go to a country where the language is spoken. Developing strong language skills is particularly critical at Princeton because of the emphasis placed on independent work. The ability to read and converse in a foreign language benefits the scholarly work of all students and is a skill that is increasingly valued in all professions.
- Preparation for careers with an international dimension. Today’s workplace is increasingly global and requires knowledge and experience that transcends national boundaries. Students who have studied or interned abroad can demonstrate to prospective employers that they can handle themselves in new situations and have experience interacting with people from other cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Students may also develop professional relationships that continue long after the study abroad experience is over.
- Cross-cultural competence and understanding. Spending time abroad allows you to test your abilities to cope with the challenges and reap the rewards of living in another culture as a participant rather than a tourist. Living in another culture exposes you to different perspectives about world events and your own country—deepening your understanding of your own culture, yourself, and the world.