March 1, 2019

"In 2016-17, women accounted for more than two-thirds of American students studying abroad, a proportion that has remained constant for more than a decade."

"Colleges have long blamed the gender disparity on the simple fact that women outnumber men on campuses and tend to major in disciplines that historically have accounted for a large share of overseas programs, such as the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages. Meanwhile, fields dominated by men, mostly STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, have a reputation for being less hospitable to overseas study because of demanding degree requirements....  [M]en seem to study abroad only if they find the time in college, while many women arrive on campus with a plan to do so. As a result of all this, colleges can make more programs that cater to these patterns, but for now the outcome is that many men are missing out on what for many is one of college's most gratifying and memorable experiences...."

From "Why Are So Few Male Students Studying Abroad?/More than 300,000 college students went overseas in 2016–17. Just a third of them were men" (The Atlantic).

The outcome is that many men are missing out on what for many is one of college's most gratifying and memorable experiences...

That's a strange use of the word "outcome." And who decides what is "gratifying" and "memorable"? Everything that you do takes the place of something else, so you're always "missing out" on something. It seems that the female perspective is offered as the one that counts.

You could just as well say, The outcome is that many women are missing out on what for many is one of college's most gratifying and memorable experiences... because they're not devoting themselves to a demanding STEM program.

This is another manifestation of something that I've often noted in journalistic reports of gender difference: Whatever is true of the female will be presented as good.

151 comments:

rhhardin said...

I joined an Austrian glider club.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Not sure that gender imbalance in spoiled rotten college students studying abroad is really worthy of comment, study, or analysis.

I mean it's not quite too many brown-haired men over blond men buying Rolexes, oh noes, but it's pretty close.

MayBee said...

Excellent!
I also love the idea that it is memorable and gratifying, but not necessarily educational and important for future success.

MayBee said...

Meanwhile, fields dominated by men, mostly STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, have a reputation for being less hospitable to overseas study because of demanding degree requirements...

This packs a lot into one sentence. ("have a reputation for".... is just one of the interesting phrases!)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"The outcome is that many men are missing out on what for many is one of college's most gratifying and memorable experiences..."

You have to have a pretty granular Maslow's hierarchy to make this into a big deal, is what I'm trying to say.



I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Check your privilege, Atlantic guy.

Ann Althouse said...

It's kind of the usual propaganda for travel. It's a given that travel is broadening and deepening and heightening and blah blah blah. The best people do it. And why can't men be more like women. Come on, let's go to Italy.

Shouting Thomas said...

So, women take a summer to get laid in Rome.

Remember, women are our moral betters.

They need to get laid by an Italian guy to complete their resume. It's the only way to really get a deeper outlook on art.

Men are, of course, just bastards for getting laid.

Meade said...

"Come on, let's go to Italy."

Sorry, I'm having my period that week.

MayBee said...

I suspect the hope is they can somehow pressure STEM programs to loosen up their standards so students can spend a semester abroad (spend time in the office where penicillin was discovered!) so more women will go into STEM. This article inadvertently says women take easier programs in college, right?

rhhardin said...

Today's Dilbert
https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-03-01

stevew said...

What if it is true that men generally prefer staying local rather than traveling abroad?

AllenS said...

1967-1968, I studied warfare in Southeast Asia. I wouldn't recommend it.

Shouting Thomas said...

That Dilbert is particularly insightful.

It's always some male bastard in HR who's into that shit, in this case the Pointy Haired Boss.

By that shit, I mean corporate HR feminism.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

College isn't an "experience" I want to repeat. It was a tool for the rest of my life.

iowan2 said...

Both of ours, male and female, did a study abroad stint. They have told us, because of our counsel and support. My wife looked at it as an experience they should have before life set in on them. Job, spouse, babies, etc. I encouraged them because it is a great resume enhancer. A way to separate them from dozens of other resumes that land in the lap of some hapless HR drone that screens all that drek. Getting that first interview can be a challenge. But once they were on staff, their personalities, smarts, and work ethic take over. Their bosses did tell them long after hiring, the study abroad did draw their initial interests

As to the disparity between the sexes? It's a guess, I doubt there are wrong conclusions.

As our experience demonstrates, males and females place values on different things in life.
That's a feature, not a bug.

gspencer said...

Traveling to Italy, and getting laid, regularly, by her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, wasn't the positive experience Amanda Knox had anticipated.

stevew said...

Could a Rex Harrison perform "A Hymn to Him" ('Why Can't a Woman be More Like a Man') in My Fair Lady today? Do they even show this film on the old movie channel these days?

Ralph L said...

A friend in ROTC took the winter quarter off to Climb Every Mountain in NZ and Aus.
More men have enough sense not to mix business with pleasure, assuming foreign hygiene and plumbing are pleasures.

Meade said...

"1967-1968, I studied warfare in Southeast Asia.

Stolen valordictorian

JRoberts said...

For a really "broadening experience" I think most college students should spend a semester in flyover country in the US doing a real job - like installing a roof on a house, working a dairy farm, etc.

Kevin said...

Whatever is true of the female will be presented as good.

To do otherwise has been defined as sexist.

Everything flows from that, no matter how reductio ad absurdum things have to get.

Tommy Duncan said...

Study abroad costs money in two ways: (1) Additional college program fees, and (2) lost earnings from college supporting jobs. How do you afford study abroad when you are struggling to pay for study here?

john said...

lol Allen!

My son's major advisor told him that if he wanted to turn his 5-year degree into a 6-year, sure, go ahead and pick up a few more unneeded gen-ed credits in Europe.

Birches said...

I bet that most men's college loan balances reflect favorably on missing out on the gratifying experience.

Kevin said...

Otto Warmbier studied abroad.

I doubt the outcome was gratifying, but it was definitely memorable.

AllenS said...

Me and you, John, studied in the same place. Small world.

Tommy Duncan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

Whatever is true of the female will be presented as good.

The Democrats electoral chances depend heavily on the women's vote, so they really can't afford to start getting preachy about their choices or it's bound to turn some of them off.

Why just this week we learned if a woman wants to abort her baby after it's born, that too is A-OK with the Dems.

Tommy Duncan said...

@stevew:

"There is nothing like a dame. Nothing in the world. There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame. There are no drinks like a dame.and nothing thinks like a dame. there are no books like a dame. And nothing looks like a dame. And nothing acts like a dame. Or attracts like a dame. There ain't a thing that's wrong with any man here that can't be cured by putting him near A girly female womanly feminine dame."

From South Pacific - There Is Nothing Like A Dame

James K said...

This is another manifestation of something that I've often noted in journalistic reports of gender difference: Whatever is true of the female will be presented as good.

Except when the agenda is to argue discrimination. Then the outcome is not about women's choices, it's about male-dominated professions keeping women out. Ask Larry Summers, who lost his job when he suggested gender disparities were about choices.

AllenS said...

"Me and you, John, studied in the same place. Small world."

That was some bad writing. Let's try this:

We studied in the same place, John. Small world.

traditionalguy said...

Ah, the poor young folks. I remember well my son telling me 3 or 4 times that he had to take another European tour that summer or Quarter off because if he did not, then he would just Graduate and be stuck working hard all his life like I had and never get that chance.

I remember thinking his was a poor way to demand the money, but I paid it. And today he has become a hard working, top Georgia Trial Lawyer with high political connections. You trust God and hope for the best.

alan markus said...

2/3rds of the students studying abroad are doing so to escape the supposed rape culture at American institutions of higher learning - back in the Obama administration Title XX policies based on the assumption that 1 out of 4 coeds were being sexually assaulted.

The other 1/3rd are students who want to escape being falsely accused of sexually assaulting an American coed.

campy said...

"How do you afford study abroad when you are struggling to pay for study here?"

My daughter's semester in Nigeria was less expensive than her semesters in upstate NY.

MayBee said...

This article would be interesting if instead of genders, it was divided among races. Without actually knowing, I suspect it is white women who do a semester abroad.

gilbar said...

Here's a question?
Of study abroad peoples, how many have their bills paid by parents?
All of them?

gilbar said...

Wow, Maybee much betterly expressed what I was trying to say

MayBee said...

The kids I know who did study abroad only cost more money because of the travel while abroad. The universities they went to (in California and in Michigan) had arrangements so the tuition and room and board were the same rates as their home universities. That wasn't the way it was when I was in college, but it is the way it is now.

Otto said...

Ann using incorrect parallelism to say that females are not represented in STEM only because they are not interested. Studying abroad is not the same as choosing a field of study.
@meade- are you a Vietnam veteran? '67-68 were bad years in the Vietnam War for our soldiers - build-up and Tet.

Dave Begley said...

My youngest daughter spent a semester in Paris. One of her majors was French. It was a big French wine and cheese party.

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of South Pacific, I recently re-read James A. Michener's first ever published work, from whence that Musical was written. It is magnificently well written directly from his experiences. Michener was one of a handful of writers who could write from the heart well enough to make grown men cry.

You can order Tales of the South Pacific from the Althouse Amazon Portal. There is no Audible version and there is only an expensive paperback. But hardbacks are available used for fo 5 Dolla plus 5 Dolla shipping.

Dave Begley said...

Ann and Meade:

Your life will be enriched when you visit beautiful Nebraskaland this year. Canoeing the Niobrara river is a bucket list thing!

Meade said...

No, Otto. You?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

How is studying abroad a “resume enhancer?”

hiawatha biscayne said...

I (eye) Corps, Clash of '68. Sorry. It's an old joke,.

Karen of Texas said...

Daughter studied abroad. Went to Oxford Brookes in England - to pursue a STEM field degree. She could get her Masters in a year, verses two here, with a concentration in lab based courses, verses the crap repeat "book" courses that the good ole US university system requires. It cost her a bit less at Oxford, including air travel, lodging, food, and tuition as doing two years just tuition here. Bonus - she had her Masters in Biotechnology in a year.

There might be something broken about the way higher level education works in this country. I suggest looking at tuition rates and easy access to loan money.

JAORE said...

If girls/women were treated like boys/men were in education it would be a CRISIS!!!!!!!!!!

And, Ann, re: travel, you sound like a vegan sneering at a guy delightedly slicing into his porterhouse.

Hagar said...

I think young ladies study civil engineering mostly with a view of going to work for a government agency dedicated to preventing their male colleagues from getting anything done.

MayBee said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
How is studying abroad a “resume enhancer?”


I think HR would say it shows someone who is ready to take a risk and go outside their comfort zone. I suspect in reality it is a way to know you are getting A Person Who Travels, and not some other sort of person.
But that's why its not going to be a resume enhancer for someone in STEM. They just want A Person Who Is Smart

Lucid-Ideas said...

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

- Mark Twain

I don't often disagree with Mr. Clemens, but he was most absolutely and positively dead wrong about this one.

I've traveled to 30+ countries, lived in several, and fought in 3. There's a lot the world has to offer that is supremely excellent and worth seeing. There is a lot the world has to offer that will absolutely the opposite, will narrow your focus, enhance your bigotry and prejudice justifiably, and ensure you never return to those locations or associate with those people ever again.

Women love the idea and romance of travel, usually up to the point they are unable to obtain basic hygiene products. They are herd beasts doing what they do because their friends got cool points on Insta for the Machu Pichu pics. They'll tell you all about the hardships in private when they're not getting their closeup.

MadisonMan said...

Without looking: Guess the gender of the writer.

rehajm said...

Foreign men travel overseas to study in the United States.

rehajm said...

Colleges have long blamed the gender disparity on the simple fact that women outnumber men on campuses...

To me the interesting question is why do women greatly outnumber men on college campuses but I'm one of those unenlightened males who didn't study overseas in college, so what the Hell do I know?

wildswan said...

It was one of the hardest moments in my life when I realized I could not visit or study abroad in college due to lack of money. It seemed very possible that I would never really understand the Renaissance or Greek art. Or existentialism. And what was the point of college if that happened? What was I doing? And no one got it. I was working so hard to win scholarships to go to college at all that no one seems to have realized that I was trying to learn. And now they have abolished or deconstructed all those courses and departments in literature, history and philosophy in the universities. And women are studying abroad in great numbers. Perhaps, having been admitted to colleges, some are now seeking an education. Perhaps, like me, they are trying to learn something elusive which in America is often called some name such as "Renaissance art" or even just "a trip to Europe." Although as far as I can understand, they have also abolished Europe.

And PS I did get to Europe just before it was abolished and also spent time there during the early years of the unmaking.

bagoh20 said...

"Sorry, I'm having my period that week."

As a man with a four pound female liver, this comment offends me deeply, but the rest of me is offended by this story, and my lady liver makes me feel that there should be a law since this is clearly some kind of discrimination by the matriarchy holding men enslaved in America. Trump, tear down this wall!

MadisonMan said...

What horrific condescension towards men in the article.

What she discovered was a “bro mentality” among men in college—a culture in which male students don’t want to leave their friends to study abroad and are heavily influenced by their classmates in making choices about what to do in college. “Part of this is a messaging problem, because the way we talk about study abroad as a transformative experience just doesn’t resonate with college-age men,” Brandauer says. “They don’t want to be transformed.”

Come on guys! The Administrators know what's best for you! Listen to them, not to your unhelpful Bro friends.

rehajm said...

A disproportionate number of men who fuck up their MCATs study abroad.

MayBee said...

I actually love to travel by the way. And my kids were raised partially in other countries, on other continents. So study abroad didn't interest them. But I find this article hilarious.
For language and art majors, going abroad is obviously a helpful thing. But life is long and college isn't the only opportunity you'll have to travel, if that's what you want to do. You don't need to fit all your experiences into college.

MayBee said...

Oh, MadMan. That is hilarious and horrible!

Big Mike said...

Come on, let's go to Italy.

Amanda Knox wishes she hadn’t.

Ralph L said...

The defense contractor I worked for hired a computer scientist out of MIT (one of several). Her extensive foreign travel meant it took over a year to get her security clearance instead of 6 months. As it was a very small company, that was a huge expense and she had little to do. I don't believe she stayed long after getting her clearance.

William said...

Seems to me that this is clear and compelling evidence of sex discrimination. I demand a Congressional investigation.

Otto said...

@ meade- No. I am a Vietnam War history buff especially concerning the Tet Offensive.Fascinating study of psychological warfare.

stevew said...

@Tommy Duncan

Thanks, that is awesome. Oh how the times have changed.

How about this from James Brown:

This is a man's world
This is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing
Nothing without a woman or a girl

You see man made the cars
To take us over the road
Man made the train
To carry the heavy load
Man made the electric light
To take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water
Like Noah made the ark

"It's a Man's Man's Man's World", though, apparently, most of them stay close to home.

Original Mike said...

Study abroad? Physics is the same the world over.

n.n said...

Sex differences.

Hagar said...

Young men know they are likely to get married and will then be expected to support their families - certainly as the primary breadwinner and probably the only one.
That puts a quite different light on their choices than for women for whom a "career" is optional rather than a requirement.

TheDopeFromHope said...

Check out James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti singing It's a Man's World--Luciano in Italian, no less. Fantastic rendition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb-B3lsgEfA&list=RDgb-B3lsgEfA&start_radio=1

Rick said...

“Part of this is a messaging problem, because the way we talk about study abroad as a transformative experience just doesn’t resonate with college-age men,” Brandauer says. “They don’t want to be transformed.”

Maybe creating the hysterical anti-male inquisition apparatus known as Title IX wasn't the best idea if you wanted men to trust you.

Mr Wibble said...

Women love the idea and romance of travel, usually up to the point they are unable to obtain basic hygiene products. They are herd beasts doing what they do because their friends got cool points on Insta for the Machu Pichu pics. They'll tell you all about the hardships in private when they're not getting their closeup.

This. The Eat, Pray, Love crap infests their brains.

MayBee said...

I suspect college aged men want to be transformed into men with jobs and careers and futures and financial stability. How is that not being transformed?

Mr Wibble said...

It's not just college. I see it with dating profiles all the time. Every other one is about how much she "loves travel". Seeing Europe is nice, but I don't want to blow a couple grand on a trip every six months. I have better things to spend my money on.

Meade said...

"Physics is the same the world over."

Quite true. Besides, as a panpsychist, I'm already there/not there.

Henry said...

Original Mike said...
Study abroad? Physics is the same the world over.

And yet, if you study physics intensively in college travel will happen in your career.

Big Mike said...

Stolen valordictorian

@Meade, it’s a cute pun, but unless you have reason to know AllenS is actually engaging in stolen valor then the proper response is “Thank you for your service.”

Henry said...

The differentiator is not if you will have a chance to travel, but when. And who will pay for it.

And, frankly, how much of it will be different than not traveling at all.

MayBee said...

Exactly, Henry!

Meade said...

"As a man with a four pound female liver, this comment offends me deeply"

That's just your bro mentality talking. Take a (NEW from Gillette) MidolForMen®, wash it down with a Green Budweiser, grab your trekking poles and suck it up. It's wanderlust time, Sistah!

iowan2 said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
How is studying abroad a “resume enhancer?”


Enhance. I may have chosen the wrong word. The long explanation is the ageless sales cornerstone of 'differentiating yourself in the market place'.If you get two dozen resumes from college graduates looking for their first job, what makes a resume stand out from all the others? It is mostly something that is of personal interest the the HR person doing the screening. Or if you get a more experienced HR person, they will gravitate to factors that have delivered successful hires. It may not seem like much, but Eagle Scouts hire each other. My son's first job started with the HR person knowing the Iowa kids were prompt, on time, never missed deadlines, took direction well, were self starters and took initiative . Some hire from Frats.
All things being equal, a term abroad might be just the nudge needed to grant an in person interview. Somehow you have to get noticed to get the in person interview.

Our two kids, the male is STEM and graduated in the top 5 of his class. He did take time for study abroad, but bailed on Spanish. One more semester would have gotten him a minor in Spanish. He explained to invest all the study he would need to maintain his 4.0 would have killed him. We encouraged the study abroad, and he did that. I also encouraged business courses. That advice he ignored.
Our Daughter was an education major, and did a stint in Germany.

Both had jobs before they graduated.

Henry said...

Althouse said, It's kind of the usual propaganda for travel. It's a given that travel is broadening and deepening and heightening and blah blah blah. The best people do it. And why can't men be more like women. Come on, let's go to Italy.

It's kind of funny that this article is pairing up non-travel with intensive degree requirements.

In another era, non-travel was paired up with reading. C.S. Lewis's brother Warren wrote well-regarded histories of the reign of Louis XIV without ever visiting Versailles. He was a researcher, not a traveller.

Of course, he had already visited France for work. In 1914.

MayBee said...

iowan2- I'm thinking a 4.0 in a STEM is going to get attention anyway.

But you are right. If the HR person did a semester abroad, they may well notice a semester abroad on a resume.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I think HR would say it shows someone who is ready to take a risk and go outside their comfort zone.

I dunno, maybe I'm off base here, but I feel like 'studied abroad' telegraphs to most people, HR included as 'went to Europe for six months to drink in nightclubs with sexy people.'

Now, 'here is the business I started on the side while I was in college' says something entirely different about an applicant. For example.

Rae said...

We need more men to act like women to further our socialist/progressive agenda, but we can't say that out loud.

MayBee said...

Pants- I'm saying what HR would say vs. what they might really think. As Iowan2 points out, it's more of an affinity thing. But HR can't say that, because that's what HR is supposed to be against.

Unknown said...

Men and women choosing to do different things? Say it isn't so!

wild chicken said...

Yeah I went to Oxford after 1L, and after I got back the one and only lawyer I knew said, I was going to ask you to work in my office that summer. He died not long after


My little excursion wasn't worth that. I really needed the mentoring.

Meade said...

"@Meade, it’s a cute pun"

I know. I admit, maybe too cute by half. If you roll the pun over another time or two, it gets to the grim reality of all the many "educations" stolen from those who were drafted abroad into service during the war in Vietnam.

But I agree with you — thanks to AllenS and all the unknown AllenS's for their service.

navillus said...

The Atlantic article throws around numbers about the growth in study abroad but never mentions the total percentage of US college students who study abroad. The number remains quite low- about 10%.
Considering the 12 point advantage that women have on campus (56-42%), at the low numbers involved it doesn't take much of a delta between the 2 groups for women to reach 2/3 of the overall population going abroad.
For example, if 13% of women want to study abroad but only 9% of men do, you get a group that's 66% female.
Are we really treating a 4 point split as a crisis? I call bullshit.

Big Mike said...

Original Mike is right about physics — and math, and engineering. Also, in my experience, many of the best foreign born and foreign educated come here and join American faculties in large research universities.

hombre said...

Men go to university to prepare for a career and/or to support a family. Coeds are, by and large, dilettantes.

Henry said...

There are some careers where you really do benefit from travel and, especially, you really do benefit from a second language. In these cases, study abroad can be immensely beneficial.

In most STEM careers, rudimentary English suffices for human communication. All the other languages you learn by doing, not by travel.

Two-eyed Jack said...

When touring campuses with my son, I was taken aback by the way every college pushed study abroad in the big pitch meetings. It is evident that what sells a place like Swarthmore is the idea of getting to go to France or Spain. This attitude explains why higher education has become a luxury item.

Charlie Currie said...

Blogger AllenS said...
1967-1968, I studied warfare in Southeast Asia. I wouldn't recommend it.

I took the same course, '68-'69. Memorable, yes. Gratifying, not so much.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Oh MayBee, I know we're largely saying the same thing but for some reason I have a crabby bee in my bonnet this morning about Stuff Upper Middle Class White People like. It's like claiming that giving your kids braces and ski vacations gives them an edge in job readiness. Which is probably does in terms of who they fit in with, I suppose.

MayBee said...

I totally get it, Pants! I'm actually thinking the same thing which is why this article is really funny to me. It's so blind to what it's actually saying.

Fernandinande said...

"Physics is the same the world over."

Not it's not; the Coriolis effect varies by latitude.

Meanwhile, fields dominated by men, mostly STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, have a reputation for being less hospitable to overseas study because of demanding degree requirements.

Hospitality isn't the issue; all those fields are the same the world over - except physics - so the menfolk lack motivation, which would consist of colonizing, conquering, enslavement, and the resultant lamentations of the womenfolk. The chance to study Foofy Litter-a-chur in its natural environment isn't much of a draw.

"Ceci n'est pas une phrase" is the same the world over.

Birkel said...

I was too poor to study abroad. Instead, I studied in college. And I traveled to every region of North America. I've even been to Miami, which technically means I have been to Cuba. And a reservation is a foreign country.

Original Mike said...

"And yet, if you study physics intensively in college travel will happen in your career."

Yep. I had the opportunity to give talks in a lot of countries, and I always made time to take in the sights. Spent a week in Japan where the only time I was in the lecture hall was to give my talk.

Dave Begley said...

I invite all members of the Althouse community to canoe one or all three of Nebraska's great rivers this summer. We also have great golf courses near these rivers. They are (in order of ease to canoe or float): Niobrara, Calamus and Middle Loup. All of them are in the Sandhills.

The new tourist slogan is: Nebraska. Honestly, it's not for everyone.

The Althouse community is a self-selected group. Not everyone fits.


Francisco D said...

It's kind of the usual propaganda for travel. It's a given that travel is broadening and deepening and heightening and blah blah blah. The best people do it. And why can't men be more like women. Come on, let's go to Italy.

I believe that Travel is broadening, but likely the experience is wasted on the young.

I was in my 40's when I first visited Paris and London. I appreciated it much mirror then I would have in my 20's.

Original Mike said...

According to the dark sky map, north-central Nebraska has really dark skies.

tcrosse said...

Uncle Sugar offers many fine travel opportunities for young men and women. You never know where you'll end up, or whether you'll come back.

Bob Smith said...

One of our exchange daughters (Italian) got a job with the extension campus of a major US university. Most of her work consisted of shepherding snowflake American girls (and they were girls, not young women) thru the perils of not having enough electricity to run the hair dryer and the microwave at the same time.

buwaya said...

None of our kids studied abroad, nor did either of us.
On the other hand, wife and daughter are huge Anglophiles so they love to pop off to London semi-regularly.

On the whole though I think everyone had their fill of exoticism with me in the house.

Lurker21 said...

If "travel is broadening" maybe the engineers need it more than the humanists. Reading novels, poems, history, sociology, anthropology can give one a great sense of human diversity - possibly so great that it corrodes any firm sense of value - but that may not be the case for engineers and physical sciences who might benefit from time in another culture to become a little less rigid and provincial.

Of course, it's going to be the foreign language majors who take advantage of foreign study the most - becoming fluent is a must if one wants a foreign language degree to mean anything at all - but I do notice that many business majors also study abroad. Aspiring globalists, for better or worse.

Henry said...

On the whole though I think everyone had their fill of exoticism with me in the house.

LOL. That's tombstone material.

buwaya said...

I dont know what motivates girls really, in spite of knowing so many of them!

What motivates men is all in Kipling. Its got little to do with group dynamics and twitter boasting. Nor is it a class thing, as huge numbers of poor boys and men have the same urge, which Kipling understood very well. What drives these enormous numbers of modern migrants is not only a matter of economics. There is a large element of the not strictly rational.

"Mandalay" has everything you need to know. The rest of his work fills it out - see "Grand Trunk Road". The explanation cannot get more rational than that, as this wanderlust is emotional and can best be expressed poetically. In our family, all great travellers, it was taken as granted, that wanderlust was a natural drive. And this all predated the easy travel of modernity.

iowan2 said...

MayBee said...
iowan2- I'm thinking a 4.0 in a STEM is going to get attention anyway.


Not if they have 20 to choose from. My son had some select companies he was targeting, because of the feedback he was getting from his networking efforts.

His paper resume, was enough to get him an early interview. He was frozen out because policy was not to interview until you were in your last semester. A net working contact, phone number to an engineer that supervised a 40 person crew, he got a phone contact. Asked if it would offend if he emailed him personally his resume. a resume that stood out,(we just learned STEM guys dont do study abroad) and he got a return phone call within an hour with plane ticket, car rental, and hotel room for a interview in two days. A job offer at the end of the interview.
Have to differentiate your self in a crowded market. You would think the egg heads that run colleges would teach this stuff. But none of them have ever had to cold sell them selves.

jimbino said...

I had to forgo study abroad in college because I would have been drafted. So I waited to turn 26 and went abroad to teach STEM and ultimately became fluent in four languages.

Problem is that HR types back in the USSA, humanities majors who stayed home, and who speak only English and that poorly, have no special appreciation for a multi-lingual, well-traveled physicist, especially one who still expects the 9-weeks annual vacation he enjoyed in Germany.

Guimo said...

Smartest thing I ever did. NYU-in-Spain program for one year back in the mid-1960s. I'm a guy.

Menahem Globus said...

For some reason many single women love to travel or be seen as someone who loves it. I think it's a status thing. I know it's a major turnoff because the more they travel the less interesting they become. Maybe some women just have trouble conducting intelligent conversations and think that boring stories about the God forsaken hellholes they've visited is a good substitute. They aren't.

Meade said...

"On the whole though I think everyone had their fill of exoticism with me in the house. "

Ha. But not in this house. In this house, there is still plenty of appetite for the exotic flavors you add.

Bruce Hayden said...

"The kids I know who did study abroad only cost more money because of the travel while abroad. The universities they went to (in California and in Michigan) had arrangements so the tuition and room and board were the same rates as their home universities. That wasn't the way it was when I was in college, but it is the way it is now."

That was my experience a bit under a decade ago as the parent paying for it.

My kid did a semester in Spain, taking Spanish and Spanish culture classes, allowing a minor in Spanish. Double major in Physics and math qualifies as STEM, though less lab content than chem or biology. Weekend visits to Rome (where they walked completely around a sovereign nation, looking for the public entrance, and to Ireland. London would have cost twice as much. Most of their time was spent in Madrid, living with a family with a couple kids who were a bit older. Then taking their great public transport system to/from the university for classes. To the parent, the social side was portrayed as more meeting friends over wine and food, than drunkem partying. Actually less drinking to drunkenness than back at college. And the Mediterranean schedule of eating late, going out later, and having busses running all night took some getting used to.

The basic problem for STEM majors with taking STEM classes in foreign countries (that don't have English for a first language) is that the classes are taught in their native languages, and not in English, and it is one thing, for example, to take Spanish language, culture, and history classes taught Thor non native Spanish speakers, and physics, or worse I think, chemistry or biology, classes taught in the native language. These subjects are filled with a lot of technical terms, not normally taught in the foreign language course back in the US, and the language boundary makes things much worse.

In defense of STEM students taking a semester or more in these programs (longer is harder because you tend to have double up on major classes to cover when you are abroad), my kid has been overseas four times in the six years since undergraduate graduation. Three, including a trip back to Spain (Barcelona this time) to present papers at conferences, which are, of course, in English. And last month a skiing trip to Japan (some of the best powder in the world). That is the funny thing about STEM - it is more International in application than almost any other career. For example, I spent my legal career in IP, more international than most specialties, and never had reason to travel internationally. Kid, with a STEM PhD seems to be averaging every other year. Brother who is a EE travels to overseas semiconductor fabs on routine basis. And cousin who spent his career fighting AGC, AGW, and finally AGCC, working for the federal govt, was averaging twice a year at conferences before he retired.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

“But that's why its not going to be a resume enhancer for someone in STEM. They just want A Person Who Is Smart”

At first. Then they want A Person Who Understands What the Hell We’re Doing. Collegiality combined with competence is the gold standard in real world engineering and a genial, middle-class, culturally-if-not-racially-White kid with a good STEM GPA will have no problem finding a decent entry gig. Eighty thou a year will buy a lot of beer.

Bruce Hayden said...

Thinking about how internationalSTEM is, in practice, I was thinking of the saying that the sun never set on the former British empire. Well, at one electronics company I worked for as an in house patent attorney, the sun never set on our design labs (which made scheduling phone calls interesting, and why the patent attorneys in the company were dragged kicking and screaming into using voicemail and email). If I remember correctly, we had foreign design centers in the UK, Germany, Russia, India, Hong Kong, and Japan. I think that the same applied to manufacturing facilities.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bruce Hayden said...

And cousin who spent his career fighting AGC, AGW, and finally AGCC, working for the federal govt, was averaging twice a year at conferences before he retired.

Twice a year international travel? Which side was he fighting for?

iowan2 said...

So as all the comments have shown, people have different ideas about the value of study abroad. Not the cost, the value.

My kids are on their way, nothing else much we can instill in them, but if I had teenagers I would show them this thread as an example of making choices, and the importance of understanding what your TRUE goal is in making big decisions.

Here, some see the value as an expansion of self, others, a way to improve their education, others as a way to market themselves, some, just to blow off steam for a while.

All have value, you have to be honest enough with yourself to understand your decision

Seeing Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Given the increasing state of obesity in American women, are they really getting laid in Barcelona or are they just being delusional?

DavidD said...

1, Join the Army straight out of high school and get trained as a computer programmer/analyst.
2. Go to Germany. Spend 3-1/2 years working in IT and get an Associate’s degree taking classes in the evenings.
3. Go to Texas. Spend another 3-1/2 years working in IT and get another year of college taking classes in the evenings; get married and then get out of the Army.
4. Move back to Ohio and get a job in IT. Finish a Bachelor’s degree taking classes on the weekends.
5. Get a different job in IT and then get a Master’s degree taking classes in the evenings.

No student debt; no out-of-pocket expenses for school except for textbooks and gas for the car.

3-1/2 years of studying abroad; Bachelor’s degree after 11 years and 8 schools; Master’s degree after a long break and 3 more schools.

Probably not the thing for everybody, though.

tcrosse said...

Blogger Alex said...
Given the increasing state of obesity in American women, are they really getting laid in Barcelona or are they just being delusional?


It's foreigners doing the jobs Americans won't do.

MayBee said...

iowan2 said...
So as all the comments have shown, people have different ideas about the value of study abroad. Not the cost, the value.


I completely agree. People need to do what works for them.
Any criticism I have is really about the article. I find it hilariously awful.

MayBee said...

I will say this about my son in STEM: I do believe living in and traveling around Asia- and especially China and Hong Kong helped him because his lab mentor in college and then his employers were Chinese nationals and Hong Kong People.

Mr Wibble said...

I left a job that involved traveling around the world doing housing market analysis for the DoD. The company was small and flexible, so you could fly to Germany for a week, and take 4-5 days off at the end before coming home (as long as it didn't cost anything more for the company). I left because the company was in an incredibly expensive part of California and I didn't see myself staying there long-term. If I'd been in my mid-twenties on the other hand, it would have been perfect.

buwaya said...

"Probably not the thing for everybody, though."

No. For most one needs to fit wife and family in there somewhere.

Mr Wibble said...

Given the increasing state of obesity in American women, are they really getting laid in Barcelona or are they just being delusional?

1) A lot of european women don't seem to be any better. Maybe when they're young, but the Germans and Brits seem to be plumping up as well.
2) The girls who can afford to spend a year studying in Spain are likely from the upper-middle-class. It seems to me like a lot of the growth in obesity is among the lower classes.

buwaya said...

What makes people (men) travel?
It helps, possibly, to see it from the "other side".

"An African in Greenland", Tété-Michel Kpomassie

I found it fascinating.
Switch contexts radically, and what you have is, in all essentials, "Mandalay".

tcrosse said...

Meanwhile, Instapundit opines:
"My hypothesis, aside from the STEM one above: People do study abroad in hopes of meeting new sexual partners. Men, heavily outnumbered on campus by women, don’t have to go abroad for that. Women, with a shortage of men on campus, do."

Lurker21 said...

Bruce Hayden said:

"The basic problem for STEM majors with taking STEM classes in foreign countries (that don't have English for a first language) is that the classes are taught in their native languages, and not in English."

Some foreign universities are teaching all their classes in English (the international language) now. Link here. Also, some prominent US universities are opening up branches in places like Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Link here. Those could be good opportunities for STEM majors, who don't have the language skills but want to familiarize themselves with another culture.

buwaya said...

"Grand Trunk Road" was stuck in my head, but my internal SQL database is poorly indexed, age does that. That's not the title, but its subject.

Its really "Route Marchin'", Rudyard Kipling

https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/route_marchin.html

I grant that some won't "get it", but others, yes. Particularly those who have done some "Route Marchin'", someplace foreign, to them.

This could have been written about any such lot, over the last 6000 years at least. Or maybe ever since humanity edged over into sentience.
There is a sharp edge of joy in this thing.

Christy said...

Starting high school, my family is most likely to get in their first international travel on mission trips. I did wonder, I confess, why England needed missionaries.

Tah said...

If I wanted to live aboard I would join the Military. It would cost less, and I could pay for College with the GI Bill and if I were to guess 6/7th of the military is Male.
Or I could go on a over sea mission, 127,000 Americans do so and if you look at LDS missionaries, 2/3 are young males. If you want to go without any risk than pay your Liberal Arts College way too much to attend a cheaper school over there.

DavidD said...

“For most one needs to fit wife and family in there somewhere.”

My wife and I have been married for 32 years; we have 4 children—two biological and two adopted.

Seeing Red said...

Europeans walk more I think. They might not be as obese when they come home.

mikeski said...

hombre said...

Men go to university to prepare for a career and/or to support a family. Coeds are, by and large, dilettantes.


One group needs to "find themselves".

The other group already knows who they are.

SF said...

Okay, maybe I'm missing something here, but the way I figure it, only about 10% of college students study abroad while they are in college. If studying abroad is so important, why is this article worrying about 100,000 person difference between the number of women and men studying abroad, rather than the millions of college students in each class who will not study abroad?

I studied STEM, don't even remember considering going abroad. It wasn't like I had a semester where I wasn't doing much in college! I think I had 4 fairly heavy duty STEM classes every semester as an upperclassman. Even if there had been no language barrier and the classes were fully interchangeable with those at my school, I wouldn't have exactly had a lot of time to experience anything but the joys of doing homework in a different country. It's not like they do math and computer science differently in other countries!

Kirk Parker said...

Lurker, you're a Moby, right?

The engineers I know are more broad-minded, AND much much much more varied in their opinions, than the humanities folks.

The Drill SGT said...

AllenS said...
1967-1968, I studied warfare in Southeast Asia. I wouldn't recommend it.


Did my Junior year as a ChemE at Camp Eagle, West of Hue (101st 70-71). It cured me of any desire to:
- travel in Asia,
- like Rain forests
- eat monkey brain
- think about making fish sauce
- hunting mammals

Join the Army.
See the world.
Meet new, exotic, interesting people, and
kill them.

Lurker21 said...

What was it C.P. Snow said almost 60 years ago? There are two cultures, science and the arts/humanities. I don't know if he said it, but they need each other. A society wholly given over to one or the other would have more weak points and blind spots than one that cultivated both sides.

It may be that technology is the base, but a lot goes on in the superstructure. Snow would had to have been a better chemist than a novelist (though he was probably more accomplished at bureaucracy than either literature or science), and I'd suppose that knowing modern foreign languages was essential for both science and government in the mid-20th century. Even know, you do want to know how other people think and behave and what they are saying about you when they think you don't understand them.

Lurker21 said...

Kirk Parker said...


The engineers I know are more broad-minded, AND much much much more varied in their opinions, than the humanities folks.


C.P. Snow would have agreed with you. And it's true that there's more diversity of opinion in just about any other field compared to the humanities, where orthodoxy is very strong. But I'm not so sure that the engineers of my generation and my parents' were as broad-minded as all that. In fact, I'm sure they weren't.

Lurker, you're a Moby, right?

I had to look that one up. If you're an engineer, and a Moby is "left-wing troll who visits blogs and impersonates a conservative for the purpose of either spreading false rumors intended to sow dissension among conservative voters," and you see Mobies in people who have opinions that deviate a little from yours, then maybe engineers aren't quite as broad-minded as you think.

I run into people online everyday who talk about the coming Civil War II. I'm doing my part to keep that from happening by not narrowly following a party line, by not cheering when one script or another tells me to cheer and tossing out insults when a one knee-jerk reaction or another would demand it.

Rick said...

Meet new, exotic, interesting people, and
kill them.


I wanted to be the first kid on my block with a confirmed kill.

ESM said...

It's a weird framing of the issue. "Many men are missing out ..."? If only 200,000 women go abroad, then many (actually, the vast majority of) women are missing out as well. If there are only 300,000 spots, then it could be argued that only 50,000 men are being displaced (through individual choice, most likely). Or, if the number of spots abroad are not supply limited, then perhaps 100,000 men are missing out (assuming the number of women going is considered the norm).

Regardless, since there are about 5,000,000 college students per year (20 million total), 94% are missing out on this allegedly transformative experience - 92% of women and 96% of men.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The outcome is that many men are missing out on what for many is one of college's most gratifying and memorable experiences...

"Experience." I've known some stuff-abroads that return. The report is often how many of the fellow Americans don't take the "study" part very seriously. It's more "party abroad." See also, Amanda Knox, who seemed to have a lot of non-study time pre-murder.

You're in school to study. Act like it.

RobinGoodfellow said...

I remember studying a broad in college. In fact, I remember studying several.

Aught Severn said...

Fernandistein said...
"Physics is the same the world over."

Not it's not; the Coriolis effect varies by latitude.



The effect of Coriolis might be different, but the underlying principle (acceleration in a rotating reference frame) is constant independent of location.

RobinGoodfellow said...


Blogger Tommy Duncan said...
Study abroad costs money in two ways: (1) Additional college program fees, and (2) lost earnings from college supporting jobs. How do you afford study abroad when you are struggling to pay for study here?


I was too busy working my way through college right here in the US to worry about “studying abroad.” Although I never could have afforded it, I would have loved to spend a semester in college in Europe.

Of course, stink bugs would love to dance the watusi in my shorts—but that ain’t gonna happen either.

RobinGoodfellow said...


Blogger Fernandistein said...
"Physics is the same the world over."

Not it's not; the Coriolis effect varies by latitude.


I would argue you’re not correct. The Coriolis effect is the same in London whether you calculate it in London or Atlanta. It is not necessary for one to go to London to calculate the physics there.

JML said...

Ann said, "Come on, let's go to Italy."

Me and my wife are planning a trip there in Oct. I have a fried stationed there and it will be good to see him and to see Pompey. We like to travel. And then we like coming home.

My son majored in Civil Engineering at the Univ. of Alabama. He wanted to spend a semester in Australia and he wanted to do one year of marching band. He received a full academic scholarship, and took five years to graduate plus some summer school. He also got homesick, came back home his last year and graduated from a local University. Was it the travel? It contributed. But his journey was fine and he learned a lot. He's pretty well adjusted, considering who his water is...

FIDO said...

Andrea Dworkin took some time abroad. I don't think she found it quite as gratifying, though certainly memorable, as most of these young ladies.

Be said...

Dear Penthouse,

I never thought I'd be writing this, but: as a young girl in France, I got sent to a linguistic program at a University located next to a Big School for Nuclear Engineering. All my French Friends were either Physics or Mechanics Students. Roissy and Pompe Hydraulique took on totally different meanings, when I saw both in action. The Strength of my Material was sorely tested. Such a Satisfying experience, opening into a New Lifestyle. I am so glad for that chance to have tested my resistance.

- Former Study Abroad Broad