884 students studied abroad in the 2018-2019 academic year and that number grows every year. Chapman students study abroad for a myriad of reasons—cultural immersion, desire to travel, wanting to learn a new language—but students come back to with skills and qualities that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. 

Not only do students become global citizens, comfortable and adept to communicate with people from a variety of backgrounds, but they also grow as individuals and find direction within their careers and lives.

“Going abroad is important in a variety of ways,” says Jodi Hicks, Assistant Director of Overseas Programs at Chapman University’s Center for Global Education (CGE). “It is an opportunity to expand your horizons, learn about your capabilities and limitations, and force growth by throwing you into somewhere that you may not always be comfortable.”

It is an opportunity to expand your horizons, learn about your capabilities and limitations, and force growth by throwing you into somewhere that you may not always be comfortable.

Academically, there is a chance to learn about topics that you are interested in from another point of view that can help in determining your future career or life path. 

Study abroad can also help students advance their careers. Hicks explains, “Students gain global experiences that employers are looking for, including communication skills with people from different backgrounds and cultures, adaptability, and other transferrable skills that can be applied later in the workplace.” Studying abroad sets students aside in career paths, but it is also important for more personal reasons: students have a chance to learn so much more about themselves and experience a lot of and development that they would not have otherwise had. 

Student in Seville, SpainDevos-Cole poses in Seville, Spain

For Phoebe Devos-Cole ‘20, studying abroad for just one semester wasn’t enough—once she caught the travel bug, she had to go abroad again. She first studied in Seville, Spain, in the spring of 2018 as a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship. Living abroad allowed her to become a more empathetic, open-minded and globally-conscious individual. She is currently studying in Washington, D.C. taking classes while interning at the U.S. Department of State. While a domestic destination, it is an opportunity for Devos-Cole to actually apply skillsets she learned abroad in her internship at the Department of State.

In fact, Devos-Cole states, “My experiences abroad have profoundly contributed to my academic, personal, and professional growth, and will serve me well beyond my time at Chapman.” Due to the cross-cultural communication skills she gained abroad, Devos-Cole not only stands out to employers but feels more competent and confident in herself to overcome challenges and solve problems.

My experiences abroad will serve me well beyond my time at Chapman.

Devos-Cole is by far not alone in her passion for studying abroad. Seniors  Peyton Babbe ‘20 and Casey Corbin ‘20 are advocates for studying abroad. Babbe has done two travel Interterm courses, one to Costa Rica and the other to England and France, and also did a summer internship in Dublin, Ireland. 

Student in Paris, FranceBabbe in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France for the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ Interterm course

“Especially at Chapman, study abroad. If you’re concerned about losing a whole semester, there’s a lot of opportunities to go for a shorter amount of time,” says Babbe. For her, studying abroad opened her eyes to where she wanted to be in the future and gave her confidence in her independence, problem-solving and cultural awareness. In terms of a career path, Babbe says, “Studying abroad opened my eyes to where I want to be in the future, and directed my focus.” Being abroad altered her career path, and she is now applying to grad school in London, where she feels confident in her skillsets and in herself. Most importantly, though, Babbe says, “Removing myself from my bubble forced me to meet new people who opened my eyes to different career paths and options. You’ll stretch and grow to adjust yourself to the circumstances.”

You’ll stretch and grow to adjust yourself to the circumstances.

Student in Kyoto, JapanCorbin in Kyoto, Japan

Corbin couldn’t agree more, saying, “When I started college, I knew that studying abroad was the greatest opportunity I could have.” During his time abroad at Temple University in Japan, Corbin learned that if he could survive abroad, he can survive anywhere. Not only did the experience help hone his skills as a leader within his career path, but it gave him the opportunity to knock experiences off of his bucket list. “It is important to take full advantage and try new things you wouldn’t otherwise,” he says, emphasizes what a truly unique opportunity studying abroad is. For Corbin, taking advantage of his time meant learning a new language, but the opportunities for a student abroad are truly endless.


Student in Taipei, TaiwanChapman senior Ryan Ireland ‘19 is also a proponent of study abroad. Ireland encourages students to try to do something unique while abroad, for “what’s the point of flying halfway around the world and doing the same exact things you would do at home?” Ireland did a semester abroad in London and has done two summer courses in Taiwan since. When he was in London, he took a class he knew he could not take at Chapman: Historic London. The class gave him the opportunity to go on walking tours throughout the city and visit different neighborhoods and museums. In Taiwan, he was forced to use Chinese, as many of the citizens spoke little or no English, and he became conversational in Chinese. Each time he went abroad, his confidence level—and his skills—went up. Now, Ireland feels much more comfortable and confident as a result.

Studying abroad sets students up for success, both in their career paths and in life. If a semester abroad isn’t possible, try a summer internship, or an Interterm travel course—anything that breaks from the bubble and expands your horizons. 

“There’s a lot to gain personally, professionally, and academically by studying abroad, and it will impact you for life,” Jodi Hicks points out. With experiences and friendships that last a lifetime, skills to gain, items on a bucket list to cross off, what are you waiting for? 

Need more photo evidence that studying abroad is a great choice? Check out the winners of the Center for Global Education’s 2019 photo contest here!

Spring 2021 semester abroad applications will open the beginning of spring 2020. Summer 2020 Travel Courses will open in mid-January. Summer 2021 international internship application will open in fall 2020.

Display Image at Top/ Huntery Turney (left) and friend on Semester at Sea.