Studying abroad can be an exciting opportunity to travel and live in another culture. However, depending on the destination, it may be considerably more expensive than staying at home in Canada – especially for those students still living with their parents. The costs can add up – tuition fees, accommodation, food, transportation and other living expenses. The big question is … is it worth the extra expense?

Studies say: YES. Studying abroad can have a positive impact on your career goals, marketable skills and general employability.

According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE)’s World of Learning: Canadian Post-Secondary Students and the Study Abroad Experience report, 91% of employers thought that studying abroad was an advantage and identified an extensive list of benefits, including a better understanding of cultural differences inside and outside the workplace, and more world experience which makes for an easier adaptation to unfamiliar environments and enhanced life skills.

In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to “stand out from the crowd’ and time spent studying abroad can give graduates that competitive edge which will improve their chances of landing their dream job.

An online survey conducted by Higher Education Strategy Associates of 2,742 Canadians enrolled in an undergraduate program in a degree-granting institution during the 2009-10 academic year revealed that more than half of the students had either studied abroad, or were at least considering it. Of these, 93 percent felt that their studies abroad had improved their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment and had increased their knowledge of international affairs and that these two factors were important in getting a job after graduation.

Many universities in Canada now have partnerships with international universities and encourage students to participate in study abroad and exchange programs. Classrooms around the world are becoming ‘global’ and offer a plethora of opportunities to learn about other cultures and to form long-lasting friendships and potential business contacts across borders.

Katie Idle

Study and Go Abroad Fair, Canada’s largest international university and student travel expo