Studying abroad, for any period of time, is a highly rewarding experience. Students returning from a study abroad programme frequently describe their experience as ‘life-changing’.
Studying abroad can have a profound effect on how you view the world and your place within it. It takes you out of your comfort zone and continuously challenges you. As an individual, you will develop independence and self-reliance. Indeed, the experiences and skills you develop abroad will help you mature both personally and academically, and will improve your career prospects.
We strongly believe that to fully realise the benefits of studying outside your home country you need to stay for a full academic year: a semester is not enough.
A more immersive experience
Independent research reveals that the longer students study abroad the greater the academic, career, cultural and personal benefits. A full year abroad leads to greater levels of independence, confidence and maturity on the part of students.
A year abroad allows you to truly experience what it is like to live and study in a foreign city, leading to a greater understanding of the local culture, and having a lasting impact on your world view.
A year abroad allows you to cement lasting friendships with students from all over the world. As LSE's students come from over 140 different countries you will make friends with people from many other cultures.
Another benefit of studying for a full year abroad is the generous vacation time afforded to students during the academic year. This amounts to around 9 weeks at LSE, divided between the Christmas and Easter breaks.
You may wish to use this time to return home to see family and friends, or you may, like many of our study abroad students, use London as a base during this time to explore other parts of the UK and mainland Europe.
In addition to personal growth, a year abroad also has academic benefits. Indeed, a year abroad can enhance the value of your degree by giving you access to courses and lecturers that you wouldn’t have had access to at your home institution.
Moreover, courses at LSE are structured in year-long format, allowing you to study a subject with more breadth and depth than would be possible in a semester-long equivalent.
Get ahead in the employment market
A year of studying abroad will almost certainly be advantageous to your future career. In potential recruits, employers place a great value on adaptability, flexibility and the ability to communicate well with people from different cultures. Students who have spent time working or studying overseas usually develop these skills and can demonstrate them to employers.
Research carried out by the Institute of International Education (IIE) reaffirms this notion. Their study revealed that employers' most important selection criteria in recruiting new staff are interpersonal skills and that these skills are likely to be strongest in individuals who have spent time abroad.
In the IIE study, American students who had studied overseas reported a number of advantages to having spent a year abroad. These included factors such as “it brings up conversation during the interview”; “employers are impressed that I had the courage to study overseas” and “international education/experience is sought after”.