"During my time abroad I not only expanded my horizons through learning about the new culture in which I lived, but I also gained new insights into my life at home. I left a
normal American student, but came home a cosmopolitan, informed, and confident adult capable of taking on new challenges and different experiences."
— Danielle Kukwa, '08 International Politics, Economics, French, International Studies, Montpelier, France, 2005–06
Penn State students Allison Harter, Lindsay Myers, and Petra Plasilova in Besançon, France, during World Cup 2006
(photo taken by Penn State student Allison Harter during 2006 Summer Education Abroad program in Besançon)
"Studying abroad increased my confidence and independence more than I ever knew was possible. I made lasting friendships, immersed myself in new cultures, and learned about
business from a global perspective—all experiences that will enrich my life and career for many years to come."
— Shumona Roy, '07 Economics Major, International Business Minor, Salvador, Brazil, Summer 2005
1. Change your life
See the world from a different perspective. Studying abroad is a unique opportunity for personal growth that will affect you for the rest of your life.
2. Earn academic credit
When you study on a Penn State–sponsored education abroad program, your credits and grades will transfer back to Penn State. You may be able to take courses toward your major or minor, or general education courses.
3. Immerse yourself in another culture
Whether it is in Italy, Brazil, or France, learn about their traditions, culture, and society from the inside. Experience an in-depth look at a different society that you would never get as a tourist.
4. Make new friendships that will last a lifetime
Take the opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds. You'll make new friends with people from both your host country and the United States, brought together by the bonds of common experience.
5. Improve your foreign language skills
Put your language studies into action! Learn a language by living it, not by reading it in a textbook. Of course, you don't have to speak another language to study abroad. The majority of Penn State–sponsored education abroad programs offer the opportunity to take all classes in English. And who knows—you may pick up a little of a new language besides!
6. Give your résumé a boost
Did you know that fewer than 5 percent of U.S. university students study abroad? Your experience studying abroad will set you apart from other people in the job market. The skills you gain while living abroad will give you an advantage in just about any career field.
7. Gain a new perspective
See your home from the outside. Through discussions with new international friends you'll gain a more informed perspective on world affairs and the role of the United States in international politics. As Proust once said, "the true voyage of discovery lies not in finding new lands, but in having new eyes."
8. Studying abroad is affordable!
If you currently receive financial aid, in most cases your aid will apply to your program abroad. There are also many scholarships (need- and merit-based), grants, and loans available to students studying abroad. In addition, the cost of education abroad programs varies, and some programs cost the same or even less than studying at Penn State! Studying abroad is not just for wealthy students; Penn State can help you find a program that suits you.
9. Gain invaluable life skills
The skills you gain while studying abroad will last a lifetime. Increased self-confidence, independence, self-sufficiency, patience, adaptability, cross-cultural communication skills, and a willingness to take on new challenges are examples of the many personal benefits of studying abroad.
10. Have fun!
Meet new people, try new foods, have new adventures! Take advantage of your time abroad to expand your horizons academically and personally. Travel on weekends or during school breaks to other cities or countries. At the end of a summer, semester, or year abroad, come home filled with stories about your experiences, and excited to share them with others!