Time abroad may strengthen a person’s sense of self, finds a recent study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
The researchers conducted six studies involving 1,874 people, many of whom were students enrolled in online or MBA programs representing several countries, according to an article about the study in Rice Business Wisdom. In one test, researchers measured whether individuals who had lived in different countries had a stronger sense of self. In another, researchers analyzed whether living abroad correlated with better self-awareness, as measured by 360-degree feedback.
According to every test, life in a foreign country increased respondents’ sense of self. But student travelers don’t have to visit every continent to reap the benefits of self-discovery. Researchers found that it’s more about the length of the visit than the number of countries you cross off your bucket list.
A lengthy time abroad can help students find themselves—and the right career path, suggest co-lead authors Hajo Adam and Otilia Obodaru, both assistant management professors at Rice University.
Study abroad can change students’ perspectives—and their job prospects, according to an Institute for International Education survey. Study abroad helps students build in-demand soft skills, such as adaptability and self-awareness, and discover new career options while abroad.
Experiential learning opportunities like study abroad also help students connect coursework to their real-world interests and career goals, according to research from EAB‘s Student Affairs Forum. Not only do students get an early look into academic and career options, they also start to see the connection between their coursework and their interests, skills, and aspirations (Rice Business Wisdom, accessed 4/5/18).
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