The benefits of international study

A growing body of evidence points to the value of international studies. For starters, students who study abroad have higher GPAs and graduation rates, and are more likely to graduate on time when compared to their peers who have not studied abroad. 

Additionally, international studies have been shown to support cross-cultural competence and technical skills, which are of paramount value in today’s globalized workforce. Which begs the question: just how important is international experience to employers? Data shared in an Institute of International Education (IIE) report speaks for itself, including the following:

  • Study abroad has a positive impact on the development of a breadth and depth of cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal 21st century job skills, including intercultural skills, curiosity, flexibility & adaptability, confidence, self-awareness, communication, problem solving, language, tolerance for ambiguity, course or major-related knowledge, teamwork, leadership, and work ethic.

  • Study abroad facilitates understanding of enhanced career possibilities as well as the confidence and ambition to pursue these paths. 

  • The skills acquired through study abroad experience have a long-term impact on career progression and promotion throughout a graduate’s career.

  • Both short-term and long-term study abroad programs have distinct advantages.

The overall takeaway? At a time when “skills have become the global currency of the 21st century,” according to the OECD, the value of the benefits conferred by international study cannot be overstated. IIE president Allan Goodman said of the findings, “In today’s globally interconnected economy, most students will develop careers where they work for or do business with international companies. [...] Our goal is to help educators and employers better understand the specific links between study abroad and career skills, to advance their mutual interest in developing global talent. Alumni report that the skills gained through study abroad can be powerful tools for long term career success.”

A best-of-both-worlds solution: blended education

Think studying abroad means packing up, taking off, and leaving behind all of your commitments? While this is the scenario presented by full-time international studies, another option exists: blended education (also called “hybrid learning” and “mixed-mode learning”). 

Defined by the Glossary of Education Reform as “the practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students,” blended learning is a simple concept with huge potential payoffs, including the following: ultimate flexibility in presenting and learning content; increased effectiveness; enhanced efficiency; decreased costs; more opportunities for personalization; extended reach; and the ability to cater to a variety of learning styles through a multitude of mediums and techniques. 

In the context of international education, the benefits of blended education are even more profound. Why? Because they not only offer participants all of the advantages of blended learning, but amplified across the international study experience. 

The IED Madrid advantage

Deciding to pursue international studies through blended learning is one thing. Finding the right program is another. This is where IED Madrid’s innovative, 11-month blended-format master’s degrees come in. Merging six months of online training with three months of face-to-face training, IED Madrid’s blended programs offer an ideal solution for design students seeking to leverage the many advantages of international studies while balancing their personal and professional lives. 

IED Madrid blended master’s degree students have their choice of four programs: the Blended Master in Brand Design; the Blended Master in Digital Communication and Marketing in Fashion; the Blended Master in Fashion Management; and the Blended Master in Strategic Design for Interiors. Each is structured into three modules: two online and one in-person. 

Students start with a three-month online module, which allows them to orient and organize themselves through IED’s online platform in the way most suitable to them. 

Next, they move into the middle component: three months in remarkable Madrid, the cultural and financial heart of Spain. This gives them the opportunity to interact in person with peers and instructors from all over the world in a dynamic classroom setting. During this time, students also have the opportunity to explore both theoretical and practical methodologies while working on real projects with real companies. IED’s three workstations located in neighborhoods renowned for their innovation, design, and architecture further enhance the learning experience. 

For European students, IED Madrid offers another unbeatable benefit: Not only is there no need to put your life on hold for a year or more, but no visa is required. 

The concluding module resumes the online delivery mode as students return home ready to apply exciting new knowledge and skills in their chosen fields of study. 

Throughout their time at IED Madrid, participants are also eligible for internships with a variety of companies while also having access to IED Madrid’s comprehensive Careers Guidance Services aimed at advising participants on their professional development throughout their course of study.

Dropping everything and enrolling in a months-long international study program isn’t possible or beneficial to everyone -- especially people who are already working in their chosen fields or who may have personal commitments that prevent them from pursuing a full-time master’s degree online. Enrolling in a blended master’s program, such as the one at IED Madrid, grants access to all of the advantages of studying abroad -- not to mention time in amazing Madrid -- while also from the comfort of your own home.

Article written in association with IED.