Why study abroad?


Although more and more U.S. students study abroad each year, only 1% of college students spend a semester or year do so. At Willamette, studying abroad is more common than the national trend. Around 45% of each graduating class has earned credit abroad, mainly on semester programs. At WU, studying abroad is an earned privilege, and only qualified students are selected for programs. Selection criteria and How to Apply.

There are multiple reasons why so many Willamette students study abroad; a few are outlined below.

The Ultimate Liberal Arts Experience

Many say the purpose of a liberal arts education is to teach students how to think and how to learn. Studying abroad allows you access to the next level of critical thinking as you take yourself outside of your comfort zone and expand beyond what you know.

You will encounter new or different styles of teaching and different expectations for your learning process. In adapting to these new styles you will not only learn the content of the course, but new ways of grasping knowledge and understanding.

Getting a new perspective on world affairs will inform your academic and personal life upon your return. People you meet will ask you questions about the political and economic culture you are living in in the U.S. and will share their own ideas about their own experience and knowledge on these topics. You'll find out how others view the U.S. in all kinds of ways you may not have thought about.

Living abroad challenges the way you act and think. Careful navigation of these intercultural interactions teaches you skills which will be applicable to your academic, professional and social life.

Language Acquisition

Immersion in a language is one of the best and quickest way to learn. Whether starting a language or mastering one - daily speaking, writing, and reading is guaranteed to improve your skills.

Résumé Building

Many companies now rank international experience as something they desire in a great employee. There are many desirable qualities that studying abroad can help foster including:

  • problem solving skills,
  • critical thinking,
  • adaptability,
  • resiliency,
  • intercultural communication skills,
  • perseverance,
  • foreign language fluency and
  • many more!

Thinking about a short term study abroad program?

Summer Study Abroad Programs during the summer will be found on the OIE website: willamette.edu/offices/oie/postsessions/ The application process is fully online and the deadline is the same as semester programs.