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The Importance of International Education

A Few Words on the Practicality of a Global Education

Founded on the edge of the old American frontier, Northwestern University is boldly entering a new frontier as a global university. This vision resonates throughout President Morton Schapiro’s 2011 Strategic Plan, which recommits the University to engaging the world—not only on our campus in Qatar, in a critically important region of the world, but through hundreds of other study, research, and internship opportunities, whether they be cutting-edge study abroad programs; university partnerships; or links with cultural organizations as well as corporate, governmental, or non-governmental agencies.

Northwestern has never limited its vision to the view from Evanston. Northwestern has always ventured beyond the horizon because this is where future leaders tread boldly—in the global community. As any educator or student will tell you, real education, self-education, isn’t limited to the classroom. The classroom is just the catalyst, the starting point. The best education offers students opportunities to combine classroom knowledge and academic theory with hands-on practical experience.

To that end, Northwestern faculty and administrators in all six undergraduate schools, representing virtually every discipline on campus, encourage and support study abroad for the simple reason that it enriches the curriculum by providing students with rigorous, transformative, immersion experiences abroad. 

Over one-third of recent Northwestern graduates have studied abroad for academic credit—and we expect this number to continue to grow under President Schapiro’s strategic plan. With their new global perspectives and new perspectives on themselves, these students will leave Northwestern better prepared to compete in the global marketplace and engage in the world of ideas: a generation of future leaders!

Take it from Northwestern returnees:

  • "Study abroad was great in that it changed the way I view my home and my country. It brought a new sense of self, a new awareness of my American place in the world. I now know how to travel anywhere and be alone overseas. And in terms of my [Classics] major, it allowed me to see who the Greeks and Italians really were and how they are now." - Elizabeth Gabel, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Study Abroad in Greece
  • "It was probably the best experience of my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I learned so much about myself, others, and the world around me. I can truly say that my experience there has changed me and my life goals in a way that staying at school would have never been able to do." - Jessica Tai, School of Education and Social Policy, Study Abroad in South Africa

Read about other Northwestern students’ study abroad experiences. 

To see what study abroad is all about at Northwestern, read the NU Study Abroad Office Mission Statement.