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Academic benefits include:

  • Improved academic performance

  • Higher graduation rates

  • Improved knowledge of cultural practices and context

After a study abroad program, students often return to their coursework with a renewed international perspective.  Students bring their new views into university classrooms, and will sometimes alter course degree plans to include additional foreign language or international cross-cultural study (Hernandez, M., Wick, D., & Wiedenhoeft, M. (n.d.). NAFSA’s guide to education abroad for advisers and administrators (4th ed.).

Recent studies show that studying abroad leads to higher graduation rates for participants. In 2000, researchers began to document the academic outcomes of studying abroad across the 35-institution University System of Georgia.  Ten years later, they found that “students who study abroad have improved academic performance upon returning to their home campus, higher graduation rates, and improved knowledge of cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups.” They also found that studying abroad “helps, rather than hinders, academic performance of at-risk students” (Redden, Elizabeth. “Academic Outcomes of Study Abroad.” Academic Outcomes of Study Abroad. Inside Higher Ed, n.d. Web.) Retrieved from

download-1Additionally, institutional research at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of California at San Diego show increased graduation rates for study abroad participants at the five-year mark.  “Higher graduation rates for students who study abroad can be observed across a wide variety of variables, including race, gender, major, first-generation status, parental income, SAT score, and grade-point average” (Redden, E. (n.d.). New studies link study abroad to on-time graduation. Retrieved from