The Gap

Trends show that access to study abroad opportunities is not equal for all students and further creating barriers and obstacles today. 

All the backing from family, friends, and faculty will not ensure that a student is able to fulfill their dreams to pursue their studies in a language in another country.  

Students receiving large financial aid packages on campus, quickly learn that this aid is not always ‘portable’, so study abroad is out of the question. Factor in the out of pocket costs such as passport, visas, airfare, insurance, extra meals, and local travel and often, students find themselves in a difficult situation when they discover the size of the gap between portable aid and the actual cost of studying abroad can be several thousand dollars. Students may defer their study abroad plans for a year or more as they try to work and save money or make the decision to not go abroad at all.

Less than 1% of American adults today are proficient in a foreign language that they studied in a U.S. classroom.

The Importance of Study Abroad

Study abroad has far-reaching effects on a student. Inherently intertwined, we look at some below.

benefits of language immersion

According to research compiled by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota, second-language educators believed that teaching core subjects in the second language (50-90% of the student's day) would achieve higher proficiency rather than teaching the language separately.

To summarize the studies' outcomes, "immersion students who begin the program as English speakers consistently develop native-like levels of comprehension, such as listening and reading skills, in their second language. They also display fluency and confidence when using it. Further, the more time spent learning through the non-English language, the higher the level of proficiency attained."



  • 97% of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation, when only 49% of college graduates found employment in the same period
  • 25% higher starting salaries: that's how much more study abroad students earn than those college graduates who do not study abroad.
  • 80% of study abroad students reported that study abroad allowed them to better adapt better to diverse work environments. 
  • 97% A University of Maryland study on IES Abroad study abroad alumni found that students attributed study abroad to increased maturity.
  • 96% of study abroad alumni claimed an increase in self-confidence attributed to study abroad.

Why French?

An official or co-official language in 29 countries including France, Canada, Switzerland, Senegal and most West and Central African nations, French is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world with 220 million speakers. In fact, three of the top five world's fastest growing economies include the African nations of Ethiopia, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire, according to Nasdaq.

Used as a working language, procedural language or even the sole language for official use, French is an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Games, and for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

It is one of the working languages of many other international institutions:

  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Council of Europe, the African Union (AU)
  • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
  • International Federation of Association Football (FIFA)