Badger Parent: Study Abroad

From the October 2008 edition of the Badger Parent
A Newsletter for Parents and Families of UW–Madison Students

In today’s global economy, a study-abroad experience can be a defining element on a student’s resume. Far from being a vacation, study abroad is a transforming experience that offers excellent academic content and resources while helping students grow. Companies increasingly are seeking college graduates with knowledge of a foreign language, diverse experiences, and the ability to work with people from a variety of cultures. Sometimes a study-abroad experience can be the determining factor in a job search, because it demonstrates that a student went above and beyond the expectations of his or her education. The distinction of living in a foreign country for a session, semester, or year can be an invaluable asset to career planning.

As students encounter new situations and adjust to life in another country, they develop self-sufficiency and confidence. While some study-abroad programs have language requirements, several English-speaking programs help students to acquire a new language and receive significant cultural immersion. Weekend trips to different cities, traveling before or after a program, the daily experiences of living in another culture—all of these elements offer valuable lessons. A study-abroad experience is a time of challenge, growth, and adventure.

Many financial aid opportunities for study-abroad programs require careful planning, research, and commitment. Students should inquire about loans and scholarships as they apply to specific programs, allowing them to identify merit and need-based funding options. Encourage your student to attend a financial information session for prospective study-abroad participants or to meet with the international academic programs financial specialist.

For more information about study abroad, visit