More than 3 lakh Indian students are enrolled in higher education courses across the world – largely in countries like USA, Canada, Australia or United Kingdom (World Education Services, 2019). Does studying abroad guarantees leadership development in a student? Does studying abroad prepares the students to tackle the challenges of a world which now has blurred boundaries owing to the digital advancements.

With 10 years of experience of coaching students to study abroad, I present here two arguments in favour and two arguments against studying abroad for global leadership so, it can help you to take a decision relating to studying abroad.

Studying Abroad Does Prepare for Global Leadership

Studying Abroad Gives the Courage to Start-Up a Business: 

Deborah Whitman, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford University mentioned that about 15% of the class at Stanford has been in the process of starting a business while in the school (Meglio, 2017). Studying abroad provides the connections and communities that can provide the necessary push to start up to an entrepreneurial student. Dey and Cruzvergara (2014) argued that in the decades from 2010 – 2030, career success will be defined with reference to a students connections and communities that they build during their university time. Studying abroad in an international cohort provides access to resources that a start up needs through the diverse community that students build on campus. Moreover, if the students continue to be engaged in these communities that they develop during college, they can reap the benefits throughout their lives and become global leaders.

Studying Abroad Makes Students Adaptable to Cross-Cultural Differences: 

Studying abroad is considered as important for students from developing nations as for developed nations. This is clear with the rise of exchange programs between the United States and other countries. The United States continues to rank number 1 in number of international student enrollments and the New York Times reported that the number of Americans going abroad for credit university courses rose to over 283,000 in 2011-12 (New York Times, 2013). Veronica Boix Mansilla, The Principal Investigator at Project Zero, Harvard University’s, Graduate School of Education said that “in today’s times, the students need to go beyond reading, mathematics and science – they need to be curious and knowledgeable about world regions and global issues and attuned to diverse perspectives and able to communicate across cultures and in other languages”. Studying abroad definitely adds to the skills that Veronica is talking about. Therefore, studying abroad makes a student more employable in a global business world.

Studying Abroad Is Not Necessary to Prepare for Global Leadership

Studying Abroad is One of the Many Ways to Become Adaptable to Cross Cultural Differences: 

Cristian Lambaren and Jennifer Welden from University California Berkeley argued that studying abroad and solo travelling internationally might yield similar benefits of adaptability to cross cultural differences (UC Berkeley, 2016). It can be argued that travelling internationally can be more cost effective in the times of soaring college costs of higher education institutions in developed nations, but the benefit of structured study at a university cannot be neglected at the same time.

Too Much Education May Brainwash students: 

Peter Thiel – the PayPal Co-founder and Facebook Board Member said that ‘one of the downsides of too much education is that student gets the most brainwashed’ (CNBC, 2018). So, if you have got the requisite education in your own country, then you might be better suited for alternative learning methodologies than full time or long term study abroad programs.

If you have comments or feedback or a view on this topic, please feel free to write in comments.


CNBC (2018). Peter Thiel says higher education has brainwashed Silicon Valley. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

Dey, F. and Cruzvergara, C. (2014). 10 Future Trends in College Career Services. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

Mansilla, V. in Jacobs, H. (2013). Mastering Global Literacy, Contemporary Perspectives. New York. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

Meglio, F. (2017) The Start-Ups Coming out of US Business Schools. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

New York Times (2013) Student Exchanges Between US and Other Countries Rise to Record. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

UC Berkeley (2016) Ex-Peer-Dia: Study Abroad vs. Solo Travel. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from

World Education Services (2019). Mapping Indian Student Mobility. Last accessed on 26th January 2019 from