U.S. College Students Gain Edge in Global Job Market

Dec 02, 2009, 08:00 ET from IES Abroad

Parents Say Study Abroad Experience Increases Maturity and Self-Confidence

CHICAGO, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Parents of returning study abroad college students found the experience initiated a sea-change in their willingness to be more responsible, act independently, and take on the world by themselves, a survey by IES Abroad revealed. More than 1,000 parents responded to the survey.

"This newly-acquired maturity and independence will serve college students well as they enter the job market, pursue careers, and make important life choices," said Dr. Mary Dwyer, CEO and president of IES Abroad.

Maturity, self-confidence, appreciation for other cultures, and independence are the four most significant qualities students acquired while participating in an IES Abroad program, according to parents of U.S. college and university students who studied abroad in spring 2009. The survey had an approximate 40% response rate.

American college students who have studied abroad may have an important edge in today's highly competitive job market. Responsibility, adaptability and independence, coupled with living in another culture, help provide vital skills prospective employers demand: adaptability within multicultural work teams, sensitivity to and appreciation for multicultural perspectives, and creative problem-solving.

For full survey results go to: https://www.iesabroad.org/IES/Parents/parents.html

Parents' Comments and Advice

According to one parent, "The experience confirmed for my daughter that she can handle a wide range of challenges independently and that she understands how to conduct herself in the wider world."

Other comments from parents included:

  • "Long term, my son's study abroad experience helped to reinforce his plans for his future career."
  • "Best thing is that her sights have now been set far beyond her college years and she is much more confident about rapidly becoming independent post-college."

Survey respondents advised families to develop a communications plan that makes use of an online service for voice and video calls. They also advised other parents to be supportive of their students while encouraging their self-reliance.

IES Abroad, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2010, is a global, not-for-profit organization offering study abroad programs to more than 5,000 U.S. college students each year who participate in 90 programs at more than 30 international locations. IES Abroad offers programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America. https://www.iesabroad.org/IES/home.html