Why Study Abroad?

Study Abroad Benefits

There are myriad reasons why you should consider incorporating international experiences into your degree.

It's Accessible: there are options for almost every faculty, no second language skills are necessary, and advisors are here to support students that require assistive or adaptive technology, require mobility supports or accommodations, or have any concerns regarding chronic illnesses or mental health and wellness.

It's Affordable: you can save money by paying regular UCalgary tuition and can still access student loan and award funding.

It's Academic: you can travel without extending your degree, and in some cases, it may allow you to expedite your graduation plans!

It's Flexible: go abroad for as little as a week up to a full year or attend multiple programs; there's options for transfer students, and you can go abroad at any age.

It's Supported: there are advisors to guide and support you at any phase of the process.

It's Marketable: unlike travelling, you can incorporate study abroad into your resume, job searches, etc. We even host sessions for returning students on how to do this!

It's Eye-Opening: studying abroad can change how you see yourself, your world, and your studies. Experience growth and development on a variety of levels!

It's an Experience of a Lifetime: you may never again get an opportunity like this.


How your study abroad experience can help your career

Hear from a panel of Study Abroad Alumni how their experience influenced their education and career paths.

Please note: this video has automatic closed captions

Image taken by student of Northern Lights in Norway over a cabin


Here's a breakdown of some of the most common areas you may experience benefits from studying abroad:

  • You can study in another country and earn credits towards your major/minor/options! 
  • You can also supplement your learning with some of our hybrid learning+internship opportunities. 
  • Study in a global hub for your field - many of our programs and partners offer top-ranked instruction in a variety of fields. 
  • Graduate schools regard applicants with international study abroad experience very highly. 
  • Network into or research Masters programs abroad
  • Participate in some of our academic research programs abroad
  • Have a diverse education and benefit from various styles of instruction
  • Take unique classes not on offer at UCalgary
  • Reignite your passion for learning and get hands-on educational experiences
  • 90% of study abroad alumni got in to their 1st or 2nd choice grad school. Source 
  • Improve your GPA - study abroad alumni saw their GPA increase twice as quickly as a result of studying abroad vs their peers. Source
  • Increase the depth or spread of academic connections across the University of Calgary campus with various advisors across campus, fellow study abroad alumni, and/or (for Group Study Programs) program instructors.


"In Sweden we were able to go on field excursions while the classes were still in session. We were able to travel to different sites during the school year, sometimes for a week at a time."

"The technical electives were unique, especially a course learning about water effluent processing. There was also a field trip to a refinery, which is not offered at UCalgary."

"[I had] the opportunity to be invited to Masters-level classes, as well as receive two recommendation letters from professors. I was also nominated to an Economics masters degree by a professor that I am seriously considering pursuing post-graduation. The classes also had a greater international focus on many issues that we discussed at length and from a more critical perspective. There was also the opportunity to interact with teachers and receive real world insights into different areas based on their work experience in international organizations, governments, businesses, start-ups, and NGO’s."

  • Become more independent, and challenge yourself, giving you greater ability to see the world from various perspectives.
  • Gain international experience that other Canadian students may not have.
  • 97% of alumni report that their experience stimulated increased maturity and awareness, 96% reported higher self-confidence, and 89% reported greater tolerance for ambiguity. Source
  • Develop greater self-awareness/clarity, which impacts career decisions and aids in helping to bridge the self/others perception gap. Source
  • 95% said that their experience had a lasting impact on their perception of the world, and it improved students connection with their international community and sense of identity outside of their home nation. Source
  • Make international friends - great for future trips, building a professional network, and learn about other places around the world, etc.
  • Visit and/or live in a different country
  • Change the way you think about your major or areas of study.
  • Offers greater opportunity to develop your communication skills and/or language skills.
  • Travel more widely and have a base from which to travel.
  • Make a difference in the world, your campus, and your community. Some of our past alumni were inspired by their studies abroad to bring about change here in Calgary: here's one example.


"My perspective on bilingualism and how it affects social relations is different, now that I'm so close to being able to call myself bilingual. And my perspective on myself has changed, too, probably more than anything else – which in a way is, I think, the real point of studying abroad!"

  • Enhance your career success - 97% of study abroad alums found work within the first 12 months of graduating, while only 49% of their peers did. It also increases your starting salary potential by 25% (out-earning peers by 17%). Source
  • Beat a recession - study abroad alumni have 19% lower unemployment rates than their peers.
  • Set yourself apart from your peers
  • Be prepared for an international workplace
  • Make international friends and build an international professional network
  • Incorporate your study abroad experience into your resume and interview
  • Attend a free returning student session each semester where you learn about how to incorporate your experiences into your career search
  • Get free access to numerous international job banks and resources
  • Peer Mentorship opportunities at the UCalgary International office in CISSA (MSC 275), or mentor international students through International Student Services Mentorship program - all can be used on a resume or to build connections for references. 
  • ALIS (the Alberta Learning Information Services) page details some of the ways studying abroad can impact you professionally and personally. 
  • 7 in 10 students found that their studies abroad influenced their career choices. Source


"A hobby that I took up in Japan (Bouldering) has given me a lot of insight on a business I would like to start in the future. Without the people I met through that hobby, I would have never gotten to know about the industry."

"Two vice-presidents of the world’s second-largest PR firm, Weber Shandwick, came and spoke to my class and one of them even put me in contact with one of their Canadian colleagues."

  • Pay your normal UCalgary tuition and avoid international student fees abroad
  • Reap student discounts abroad (versus solo travel), and/or group pricing (esp. with GSP programs)
  • Learn how to budget effectively
  • Have the opportunity to apply for additional funding for study abroad
  • Remain eligible for provincial student loans
  • Combine study time with the opportunity to travel - combined costs are reduced versus doing both independently of each other. 
  • Earn more than your peers! Study Abroad alumni earn on average 25% higher starting salaries. Source


"The overall cost was definitely lower than Calgary. Food prices [in Berlin] are generally quite low, and rent is comparably lower as well. Cell phone plans were far more comprehensive for a lower fee, and most museums, theatres, etc. have student rates, which lowered the cost of entertainment as well."

"I did work during my exchange - I have an EU passport and so for me, it was allowed. I had a connection to a Danish law firm and they needed another law student to help out, and offered me the position. It was a great experience."