Martin Tillman of Global Career Compass has posted an intriguing essay on the question of a lack of student understanding regarding the links between study abroad experiences and employability. I have colleagues who have been discussing this topic with students for over 20 years, so I am in the same boat with this post as to puzzlement over why this understanding isn’t more widespread.
An IES Abroad survey from 2012 showed the career benefits of study abroad for their alumni, and other data agree. If the education abroad field has the data and yet students don’t see the connection, this is a worrisome gap. The gap may affect low income and minority students in particular, and those of us involved in short-term programs should pay particular attention.
As Tillman’s essay indicates:
““If low-income students end up on paths with lower rates of success, they risk ‘being left behind. A college degree is becoming the fault line between haves and have nots’ . . . And this is what ties in concerns about the very low number of minority & low-income students enrolled at a majority of our institutions, and the notion that it is very important for students to learn–early on–that if they do have an international experience, it will BOTH help them gain invaluable skills that employers do value AND it will also mean they are more likely to graduate on time and enter the workforce at home or abroad.”
Short-term programs are attractive to under-represented students for many reasons, so helping them understand the career benefits should be a goal for all of us!
See Martin Tillman’s blog, Global Career Compass, for the full post: