After tracking 20,000 University of Georgia students for 10 years, the GLOSSARI project has found that those who participated in study abroad programs performed better in school after returning to their American universities.
Skeptics of studying abroad equate these programs with semester-long binge drinking fests and argue that students travel to foreign lands under the auspices of learning a new language or understanding new cultures, but really spend months boozing in bars overrun with Americans and jet-setting across Europe. It doesn't seem like there's much work going on.
But, as Inside Higher Ed reports, this study proves otherwise. Studying abroad improves students' academic performance:
"The skeptics of study abroad have always made the argument that study abroad is a distraction from the business of getting educated, so you can enter the economy and become a contributing member of society," said Don Rubin, professor emeritus of speech communication and language education at the University of Georgia and research director for GLOSSARI -- the Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative. "I think if there's one take-home message from this research as a whole it is that study abroad does not undermine educational outcomes, it doesn't undermine graduation rate, it doesn't undermine final semester GPA. It's not a distraction.