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By:  Richard Menard

You finally got her to college, and now she has expressed a desire to study abroad in a foreign country. You may be new to the idea of study abroad or international travel, or you might be an expert world traveler and know all about study abroad. Studying abroad is more important today than ever before; we want you to see the value of study abroad and that study abroad isn’t just a travel experience or added expense but a critical component of a student’s college experience.

At this year’s Parent Orientation, come to our session and learn about the strategic importance of study abroad in today’s global economy.  Currently there are over 23 million jobs tied to international trade in the U.S., and the job growth in international trade exceeds 100% on a 20-year average (mappingthenation.net). Additionally, there is a need for doctors and nurses who speak Spanish as the Hispanic/Latino population is the largest ethnic or race minority in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bereau). The U.S. Government is hiring more and more people who have strategic language ability to work for the U.S. State Department, Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community.

There are over 40 million people who are of foreign birth living in the U.S. It’s important to teach our students to communicate and live in a global society where we continue to become more and more interconnected with each other. Because Gonzaga places such high value on educating our students to live in that society, we have a goal of sending out 65% of undergraduate students to study abroad before they graduate. Currently, Gonzaga sends 48% of its students on a study abroad experience. This ranks Gonzaga in the top 15 of Master’s Institutions, and one of the top three Jesuit Universities in the nation (first for west coast schools) for the percentage of undergraduates studying abroad.

This year we will be doing a series of articles from our Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors about the study abroad experience from a student’s perspective, what they have learned while abroad, and how that is helping them during their job search as they prepare to graduate from Gonzaga and enter the global economy and society in which we live.

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