Study Abroad Cultivates Globally-Competitive Skills

Published on Oct 16, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Anne Peasley

Study Abroad Cultivates Globally-Competitive Skills

Increasingly, skills are being used to demonstrate the relevance and value of education in today’s economy. Rather than relying on traditional methods of capturing educational experiences (like courses and degrees), skill-level data can be used to describe student learning in a way that resonates with educators, students, and employers alike.

Emsi recently partnered with NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, on a report highlighting the benefits of study abroad: Developing a Globally Competitive Workforce Through Study Abroad: The Value of Study Abroad Skills in the US Job Market

To reach these findings, Emsi analyzed hundreds of millions of U.S. job postings and professional profiles to determine the connection between study abroad and employer-desired skills.

In the report, you’ll learn more about 1) skills acquired by students through study abroad opportunities, 2) the value of study abroad to employers, 3) the value of study abroad to job seekers (i.e., your students), and 4) recommendations for colleges, universities, and employers.

Here are some of our key takeaways:

  • Students develop both “soft skills” (such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving), and global skills (such as teaching, mentorship, and foreign language proficiency) through studying abroad

  • Employers recognize that these skills are essential for management and leadership positions

  • Colleges and universities can help students to better articulate the skills they gained from their study abroad experience

For us, this underscores the importance of using skills to connect learners, educational experiences, and employers. Helping students understand and articulate their skills could be a positive strategy to increase study abroad participation—an approach that can extend beyond study abroad to other high-impact educational practices. 

But don’t just take our word for it! Get the report.


To discuss how the Open Skills Library can help translate study abroad (or other academic programs and experiences) into the language of skills, fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch soon!