Does studying abroad provide health benefits?

In reviewing research on student travel one thing is certain, it is a very complex and important topic.  Not only for students who wish to travel but also for the people they will become.  Researchers begin with searching for the motivation to want to travel.  What makes someone want to invest his or her time and money into such a grand adventure?  Only then can researchers begin to understand the effects traveling can have on a person.  Next researchers look at the benefits of traveling to see why someone would follow through with the spark to travel.  There are health benefits, experiential benefits, and developmental opportunities.  

Benefits of traveling

        There has been an increase in focus on this topic as more and more we realize the importance of travel as a global society.  The benefits of tourism and travel reached the interest of scholars in the field of organizational behavior as well as health sciences.  

Mental, emotional, and physical health

        As discussed in the roles of perceived travel benefits, organizational behavior research shows how travel can reduce job or school related stress, reduce burnout, as well as overall performance.  As for health scientist, it’s been shown that taking a vacation of travel can decrease health risks.  In a study of 12,388 people, those who traveled abroad had fewer health risks in a nine-year span (Chen).  Even in tourism literature, you can find benefits of travel.  Research done by Neal, Sirgy, and Uysal show how challenging experiences and perceived control can contribute to mental wellness (Chen).


Developmental benefits

Along with the effects it has on the well being of a person, there are also developmental benefits.  According to (Biniecki), Taylor’s findings suggest that “the learning process of intercultural competencies connects to the development of a worldview.”  It’s a learning process that creates a “cultural disequilibrium [which] consists of periods of incongruence experienced by the participants while attempting to integrate themselves into the host culture.” (Biniecki)  Taylor’s study provided one way to examine the growth of people who had worldly experiences.  But as he continues his research, he suggests that there are multiple ways to gain more perspective with world travel but we will get back to that later in the review.

What I have learned

So would a rational person student abroad?  I would say so.  It makes complete sense to go abroad because of the benefits it brings and besides finances there really isn’t a negative.

Work Cited

Biniecki, Susan and Conceicao, Simone. “How Living or Traveling to Foreign Locations Influences Adults’ Worldviews and Impacts Personal Identity.” New Horizon in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, vol. 26, 2014, pp. 39-53.

Chen, Chun-Chu and Erichson, Elizabeth. “The Roles of Perceived Travel Benefits, Importance, and Constraints in Predicting Travel Behavior” Journal of Travel Research, vol. 55, 2016, pp. 509-522.

8 thoughts on “Does studying abroad provide health benefits?

  1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner

    I commented on one of your previous posts. I think this is most definitely a topic that people can relate to. I would like to one day study abroad. I believe that your post was well organized, but it lacked certain information. You answered the title of your blog, but I feel that if you mentioned what some of the health benefits are, your blog would have been more compelling. Also, put a picture or two in, it would make the post stand out more. Lastly, there was a random fragment of a sentence above the last paragraph. In case you were thinking about studying abroad and receiving those health benefits, this website might be helpful.

  2. Derek William Drotman

    This topic definitely relates to many students who are looking to study abroad including myself. I definitely agree with the statement that studying in different countries develops an individuals worldwide view. I think the weakness in your post is that you didn’t talk about the health benefits those who study abroad receive. I am still interested in why students who don’t study in another country have more health problems. I think it is definitely to study in a different country and learn and adapt with other cultures but still don’t understand how it will provide benefits. I believe adding another case study could strengthen your argument. Here is an interesting article about the correlation of mental health and studying abroad

  3. Maura Katherine Maguire

    I found this post to be very interesting. I plan to hopefully travel abroad my second semester of my junior year so this topic is very relevant to me. I love traveling and plan to hit as many spots as I can in my life, even some places not deemed sanitary. This article really put some things in perspective for me.

  4. Lauren Eve Ribeiro

    I found this article to be really interesting especially because I am in the process of deciding where I would like to study abroad. I think that it is indeed true that traveling can have many health benefits, but I think your argument would be more substantial if you provided a study with numbers. For example, if you gathered a group of people and divided them into an experimental group and a control group. Your null hypothesis would be that travel does not have health benefits and the alternative hypothesis would be that traveling does have health benefits. Prior to the experiment you would test a persons health and happiness (the happiness part may be difficult), and you could also do an educational test. You would then send the experimental group to a country of their choice (that was it could maximize happiness) for a selected period of time. When the experimental group returned you would perform the same exact test as done before on both the experimental and control group and compare the results. According to your blog, you would reject the null and accept the alternative hypothesis.

  5. Danielle Megan Sobel

    Hello! I really hope this is true. I plan on studying abroad in the future and the places on my list to go are not considered the most sanitary or safe. This article really put a positive spin on the medical side of a school related topic that we often only consider as a destination study room, not a potential medical boost. Here is an article that focuses on other positives for studying in another country:

  6. Kayla Neiland

    I really hope this is true! I have always dreamed of studying abroad because the world has so much to offer and i love experiencing new things. The truth is there is never only one risk with anything you do, especially with leaving our country. Its best if you just do not worry about them but they still exist! this article shows some risks but also ways to avoid them! Taking chances is all about looking at the statistics and seeing if the cost is really worth the benefit.

  7. Amanda Voirrey Rust


    I took interest in your blog because I have a deep passion for traveling. Regarding the developmental benefits that you touched on, I agree completely because in my personal experiences traveling has made me more open minded and eager to try new things. I found this article highlighting why traveling may be beneficial to one’s mental health:
    I am curious however, as to how traveling would be an aid in school performance or reduce health risks. With traveling, I always consider the risks of new germs ands viruses that an individual may have never been exposed to. I went to Brazil last May, and had a Zika scare, along with many other people. I love traveling and can see how it could provide many benefits, but the consequences should also be considered.

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