The University of Iowa

In the news: Students should consider studying abroad

February 13th, 2019

The University of Iowa Study Abroad Office in the Old Capitol Mall

Taylor Newby, Opinions Columnist, The Daily Iowan

The opportunity only arrives during a four-year stretch at either a college or university. And it’s one roughly 10 percent of overall American graduates choose to explore.

The need for — and benefit of — this experience-driven, education-centered endeavor is extended far beyond the walls of any university or institution. And so, why aren’t more people doing it?

Studying abroad brings students to a place of absolute discovery — where they are immersed in the treasure of new community and culture-sodden course schedules. And with the University of Iowa, there are anywhere from three-week-long to semester-long to yearlong study-abroad trips.

The encouragement for students to take their studies overseas stems partially from a need in the workplace for more compassionate and culturally competent people — or people who have experienced countries and cultures outside of their comfort zone.

According to a NAFSA survey done in 2014, almost 40 percent of companies said they had missed international business opportunities because of their lack of internationally competent personnel.

“When 95 percent of consumers live outside of the United States, we cannot afford to ignore this essential aspect of higher education,” NAFSA said on its website.

Meanwhile, only 2 percent of total students in Iowa pursue international-study programs during their time at a four-year institution — slightly more than 5,000 students in a pool of more than 250,000.