Why Study Abroad


Studying abroad extends the boundaries of the classroom to the world! It is an exciting way for you to complement and enhance your on-campus learning while earning meaningful credit toward your major and degree.

What could this mean for you? It means that you can find opportunities abroad that align with your academic needs and interests. For instance, if you are a Microbiology major you could choose to complete a lab requirement in Thailand, or if you are a Spanish major, you could accelerate your path towards completing your Spanish credit major requirements by studying in Spain, Argentina, Peru, and other Spanish speaking locations for a semester. Ultimately, you will receive UW-Madison credit for all courses taken on a UW-Madison study abroad program and all grades earned abroad appear on your official transcripts and are applied to your GPA. Some exceptions apply for students participating on a study abroad program offered in partnership with the College of Engineering.

Professional Development

Globalization is changing the way the world works, and an ability to work across cultures is becoming more and more essential to finding a job! Employers are increasingly looking for workers who not only have technical knowledge, but also “soft skills” such as critical thinking, problem solving, time management, and communication skills deemed necessary for success in a global workforce.

Study abroad is one of the best ways students can acquire global skills and stand out to potential employers.

Study abroad alumni have better job prospects. Based on a survey conducted by IES Abroad, 90% of study abroad alumni found their first job within six months of graduation.  They also shared other benefits of study abroad with their findings.

AIMS Overseas reported 61% of employers agree that an overseas study experience is a positive on a resume. Additionally, 72% of employers agree that knowing a second language adds to the appeal of a prospective employee.

“The beauty of studying abroad is gaining a broader understanding of other cultures. Having access to other people and building relationships with those people on their home turf enables one to think more creatively and flexibly, necessary skills in today’s competitive work environment. If a student can bring that understanding and knowledge back to the USA, the sky’s the limit!” – Frank Abate, Division Manager, JM&A Group

“I have found that my study abroad experience has provided me with international skills that are valuable and will serve as an asset for future employers. As a student intending on entering a medical or healthcare career, I see the need for fluency in another language…I believe that my cross-cultural communication skills have improved and I now think that I am better able to adapt to new circumstances.”

– Faatima Kahn, UW-Madison student who studied in Granada, Spain

Personal Development

In addition to being able to experience new customs, cultures, interests, and food, alumni have reported that study abroad increased their confidence and had a lasting impact on their worldview.

Study abroad can also lead to long-lasting friendships with U.S. students and people around the world.  Over 90% of UW-Madison students report that study abroad increased their independence, adaptability, and flexibility.