Self-Concept Clarity with Study Abroad

May 25, 2022

There’s no doubt about it—studying abroad is good for your health and your career. New research reveals that studying abroad is linked to increased well-being and career development. Read on to learn more about the connection between study abroad and self-concept clarity. 

What is Self-Concept Clarity?

Harvard Business Review defines “self-concept clarity,” as “the extent to which someone’s understanding of themself is ‘clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and temporarily stable.’” Meaning, those with “self-concept clarity” have a stronger sense of who they are. 

You may wonder how students come back from their study abroad programs with a better understanding of themselves. As it turns out, studies show studying abroad allows students to have self-discerning reflections. These reflections allow students to consider their thoughts, values, and beliefs. The more time you spend abroad, regardless of location, the more opportunities you have to reflect on your cultural upbringing. For this reason, the amount of time spent abroad was more important than the number of countries visited.

Benefits of a Clearer Self Concept

A stronger sense of self is connected to increased well-being and job performance. You will also have better alignment between the way you view yourself and the way others perceive you. This concept is called “congruence.” A high level of congruence indicates that students view themselves in a similar way as others view them.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Congruence is related to self-concept clarity because when people have a clear understanding of themselves, they are more likely to project a clear and consistent self-image to others.” This congruence is also helpful when it comes time to choose a career path. Most people experience difficulty choosing a career at some point in their lives. For people with a clearer sense of self, these decisions are far easier to make. 

Ultimately, there’s much more to study abroad than just sight-seeing. The research is clear; not only will studying abroad encourage you to learn about other cultures, but it will also give you the opportunity to learn from your own. 

Ready to take the first step to strengthening your sense of self? Start looking at our experiences to see what program is right for you.  


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