How Does Study Abroad Relate to Global Competence?

“Global competency comprises the knowledge and skills that help people…comprehend global affairs and events… Global competency also includes fostering an attitude that makes it possible to interact peacefully, respectfully, and productively with fellow human beings from diverse geographies” (Fernando Reimers, Global Competency: Eduating the World, p. 2, 2009).

Developing global competence is an important 21st century work skill (See what Obama says here). Issues are no longer national, they are global. While many schools in the U.S. are now trying to implement these skills into their curriculum goals, study abroad is one of the best ways to quickly understand just how interconnected our world is.

Living in a different country and attending a new high school also gives you an idea of what your future workplace might be like, with colleagues that have a German/Italian/Afro-Indian background and slight accents.

Created by suphakit73

Created by suphakit73

Travel will show you that, for example, while most Europeans speak and understand English, understanding the quirks and customs of their languages and culture will help you make connections and create bonds quicker. Knowing their language and culture shows them you care and appreciate their lifestyle.

College is another place that is no longer ‘national’, but ‘global’. Did you know that students come from all over the world to attend American colleges? These international students could be your future workmates. Learning intercultural communication skills while abroad is the best way to work collaboratively with individuals different from you.

“Globally competent individuals are aware, curious, and interested in learning about the world and how it works. They can use the big ideas, tools, methods, and languages that are central to any discipline (mathematics, literature, history, science, and the arts) to engage the pressing issues of our time. They deploy and develop this expertise as they investigate such issues, recognizing multiple perspectives, communicating their views effectively, and taking action to improve conditions.” (Boix Mansilla & Jackson, Educating for Global Competence, p. xiii, 2011)

Read more here

The next time someone tells you study abroad is just a ‘vacation’, you can let them know you are actually investing in a future where these 21st century skills  will be quite important to your career, skills that they might not be acquiring by staying at home.

Do you feel more competent to deal with global issues after studying abroad? Leave us a comment!

Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at – See more at:


About Laura iE-USA

I direct the study abroad programs for iE-USA and have studied abroad in Argentina and Spain. I have a passion for travel and language immersion.

Posted on December 20, 2013, in Study abroad, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Spending 12the grade living with a host family and attending a German high school was THE best decision I made as a teen. The experience completely changed my life, my perspectives, and my career path. While I did get to travel some, it definitely wasn’t a vacation. Sometimes it was down right hard. But so, so worth it!

    Thanks for participating in the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up!

  1. Pingback: 19 Things You’ll Only Appreciate If You Studied Abroad | Stephen Darori on Living Better

  2. Pingback: Meet the gang! | Europe or bust blog

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