6 Reasons to Study Abroad as a Health Major

“Study abroad isn’t for health majors,” is something we hear often when meeting with students about their academic plans. We’d like to tell you: This is a myth— and an easy one to bust! Study abroad is for students pursuing all degrees, and health majors can gain a lot from international education. Here are some of our top reasons to incorporate study abroad into your undergrad plans. 

Learn a Second Language 

It may seem that language and medicine don’t go together. However, no matter which area of health you go into, you will undoubtedly encounter patients whose first language isn’t English. Having the tool of a second language will help you understand what they’re experiencing and need, allowing you to provide personalized care. With USAC, you can earn up to two years’ worth of language credits on one semester abroad, and we offer studies for more than 15 languages around the world.   

Student working in the health industry in Khon Kaen, Thailand
Students learn hands-on care in Thailand.

Develop a Global Perspective  

Healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all practice, and no provider should assume that any two patients need the same kind of care. Study abroad will expose you to different cultures, perspectives, and practices and open your mind to new ways of thinking. This will help you better relate to your patients and take personalized approaches to their care.  

Students visit a retirement home in Reggio Emilia
USAC Reggio Emilia students connect with patients in Italy.

Participate in an Internship 

One of the best ways to get hands-on work experience is by participating in an internship. Interning abroad alongside professionals in your chosen field will expose you to new ways of thinking, grow your language confidence, and teach you job-specific skills that can help you succeed after graduation. And you will be better prepared to tackle patients’ challenges and meet their healthcare needs. Many USAC programs offer health-related internships in-person and virtually to provide flexibility within your schedule.  

Two students observe an extra in a lab.

Strengthen Your Communication Skills 

There’s no doubt that study abroad will help improve your interpersonal communication skills. By meeting new people, navigating life in a new city, and overcoming the common challenges of study abroad, you will have to communicate with others. Whether you’re practicing a second language abroad or communicating in English, you will have to adapt to new communication rules such as cultural courtesies or slang and dialects, which will ultimately prepare you for communicating with patients of all backgrounds.  

Students study the human body.

Earn Credit Towards Your Health Degree 

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of study abroad is the ability to earn academic credit to help you graduate on time. USAC offers health courses in 20 locations, including Costa Rica, England, Italy, Korea, Thailand, and Uruguay. However, you can take courses in other areas of study to meet your pre-requisites and elective credits, as well, to help you reach your academic goals.  

USAC Auckland students observe an athlete in a health sciences lab.

Make Your Resume Stand Out 

Whether you’re applying for graduate school or hitting the job market after graduation, your resume matters. International education, and the skills you develop through your study abroad experiences, will help you stand out to admissions boards and future employers. To help, USAC offers career resources for alumni looking to incorporate their study abroad into cover letters, applications, and interviews.  

No matter what type of healthcare profession you are pursuing, an international education can help get you there. Through study abroad you’ll learn valuable skills that will help you stand out to employers and better meet your patients’ needs. When in doubt, chat with a USAC representative about your academic needs, goals, and study abroad dreams to find the right program for you. 

Start your international health education today. Explore programs using our Program Search Tool on the USAC website.