Students with international experience are more confident, self-sufficient – study
Image via Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo.

Students who have studied abroad are more likely to be resilient and possess higher levels of confidence in their capabilities, according to a recent German study.

Researchers at Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany found that compared to students who spent the entirety of their studies locally, those who had spent some time abroad were more independent.

The study, which involved over 220 students, measured students’ self-efficacy, revealing that those with higher levels of self-efficacy are better able to deal with stress, are more likely to successfully reach their goals, and have higher levels of life satisfaction.

Based on the findings, it is the actual experience of studying abroad that produces more self-sufficient youths, as students who intended to study overseas, but had yet to do so, did not display higher levels of self-efficacy in contrast to those who did not plan on studying abroad.

Researchers also found that participants who studied abroad met up with more friends each week, surmising that these interactions also played a key role in the development of self-efficacy in the students.

But the study was unable to determine whether the number of friends, the quality of the interactions, the need to adapt to those from a different culture, or other factors had a major influence on encouraging the trait.

Students with higher levels of self-efficacy also showed a tendency to be “laid-back” when exposed to new cultures and were less likely to view cultural differences as a threat.

In the paper, titled “International experience makes a difference: Effects of studying abroad on students’ self-efficacy”, it was inferred that students with higher levels of self-efficacy prompted them to view new cultures as “less problematic”.

Researchers suggested that the link between studying abroad and self-efficacy in students needed to be further examined, particularly over a longer period of time, to observe whether the effect is “a short-term phenomenon, declining to its original level after a while”.

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