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US: study abroad alumni have better job prospects

US college graduates who study abroad find jobs sooner and earn higher salaries than those who stay on campus for their entire college careers, a new survey has found.

"Employers recognise the benefits of international education and the job skills it helps build”

IES Abroad – a consortium of 200 US colleges and universities which runs study abroad programmes for more than 5,000 students a year – surveyed 1,008 students who took its programmes between 2004 and 2011. It found a staggering 90% got their first job within six months of graduation compared to just 49% of respondents in a separate survey of the national college graduate population.

“With today’s highly competitive job market that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, college students can make a strategic choice to study abroad as undergraduates and increase their attractiveness as top candidates for jobs in their chosen careers,” said Dr Mary Dwyer, president and CEO of IES Abroad.

90% of study abroad alumni found their first job within six months of graduation

In the report, 84% said study abroad helped them develop key jobs skills such as “adaptability, global understanding and tolerance, leadership, and independence”.

Half said their oversees experiences helped them get their first jobs, and their starting salaries were an average US$7,000 higher than those of students who remained in the US. 65% also reported that their first job was “very closely” or “somewhat closely” related to their major.

“Our study abroad alumni have found that employers recognise the benefits of international education and the job skills it helps build,” said Dwyer.

Starting salaries were US$7,000 higher for those who had studied abroad

The survey also found those who continued their academic careers did well, with 90% of respondents reporting they were accepted by their first or second choice graduate or professional school.

Since its founding in 1950 IES Abroad has enrolled more than 80,000 students in over 100 study abroad programmes. It claimed a 95% confidence level with the survey’s methodology (and emailed questionnaire) and a 3% margin of error.

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