How to Communicate the Value of Studying Abroad to Your Family and Friends

Haven’t we all come home before with ideas or plans that make total sense to us but don’t to some of the family and friends we love and lean on for support? The Catalyst can be like that. So how have our alumni explained their passion for this program to their inner circles and won over their key people to The Catalyst plan? They’ve returned to what one of our alumni from years ago called our program’s “holy trinity”:

Be clear about how The Catalyst relates to your academic interests.

First and foremost, The Catalyst is school. Parents and close friends will be much more persuaded by your Catalyst plans if they hear from you that you’re excited about the classes you’ll be taking in Europe and that those classes will help your degree plan. Student Alik studied abroad because of the academic experiences he would have in Europe: “You’ll never ever find anything like this in the United States. Ever. For me, I’ve always loved European history, and this is the place to see it, so I wanted to come here. I wanted something different.” There’s nothing in the learning world like the incredible classrooms our program uses every single day. You know that, and you also know that The Catalyst will get your six upper-division summer hours to help your degree plan. Letting your loved ones know that enhancing your academic experiences by participating in The Catalyst’s moving classrooms will give your plans a new sense of legitimacy.

Remind your family that college is always an investment and that The Catalyst is part of your college experience.

Haircuts are cost items, and so are new cars. Things that are cost items may be worth the money you pay to buy them, but they lose value over time. Investments are different. College and The Catalyst are both fantastic examples of investments. Student Bri says, “It all seems like a lot in your head, but when you actually do it, everything works out money-wise…I would have definitely would have regretted not going.” Our alumni get internships, jobs, and graduate school admission spots because they have The Catalyst on their side. Studying and living in a different culture are valuable experiences to have in your arsenal. If you haven’t heard the old adage that “you have to spend money to make money,” well now you have. 90% of the students who study abroad get a job in their chosen field or a grad school roster spot within 6 months of graduation. Only 48% do who don’t have study abroad on their side.


Relate your Catalyst plan to your personal passion.

Your inner circle might not be aware that the chance to learn and live all over Europe is not going to happen again once college is done. This is your chance, and this is your time. If you’ve wanted to see museums, or walk where important battles were fought, and seek out the global understanding that living abroad will give you, then keep in mind what our alum Jade has told us about how she got her family and friends excited about The Catalyst: “I took a deep breath and calmly said that I was going because my heart was saying I should. And because all of the things I’d read in books and seen in movies and heard others say about travel and growth were things I wanted for myself.”

For most of our students, The Catalyst is always one part academic fascination, one part career ambition, and one part personal passion. Let your family and friends know this, and your summer plans will make more sense.