Studying abroad is the single best way to improve your job prospects, stand apart from your peers, save money, and get a jump start on your career while in college. It puts you in a singular category with specialized skills that will be increasingly necessary in the decades to come. Here’s what the numbers say:

1%: American students who study abroad each year
Want to automatically stand out from your peers in the job hunt? Study abroad. You will immediately be in a category of your own. Why? Despite the wealth of opportunities available to American students, only about 300,000 of them study abroad each year.

90%: Study abroad students who found employment within six months of graduating

97%: Study abroad students who found a job within 12 months
This is compared to 49% of all college graduates who found work in the same period. Yeah, that’s right. You are almost twice as likely to have a job within a year of graduation if you study abroad.

90%: Study abroad students admitted into their first- or second-choice graduate school
Maybe you aren’t looking for work right away. Study abroad helps you stand out on school applications as well.

+25%: Average starting salary for study abroad students
Study abroad students start with higher salaries on average. 25% higher. That’s an extra half million dollars over the course of a career. Money you could use it to retire in the country of your choice. Maybe somewhere like Nicaragua, where you can live in luxury for under $20,000 a year.

58%: Students who studied abroad and are now actively pursuing careers out of the country
Students love study abroad so much that over half of them are now working out of the country.

$0: Cost of college tuition in Finland
Okay, it’s not this cheap everywhere, but studying abroad can actually save you money in college. Tuition in the States is expensive to say the least, and going overseas for school can drastically reduce the cost of your education.

2x: Speed emerging and developing economies are growing compared to the United States
The economic situation of the world is changing. In the years to come there are going to be countless opportunities for employment created outside the United States. Other countries are growing faster than we are at home. This is a trend that’s only going to accelerate.

$1.9: Trillions of dollars US companies are estimated to have earned overseas last year
American companies know the deal. There’s opportunity abroad, you can tap into the gigantic sums of money flowing between countries. Business is now operating on an international scale, and this requires employees with international experience.

This is a tale of two students.

I have two friends who just graduated university. One works in a cubicle, as an entry-level employee, the novice member on a team of 10. The other has her own office. She is one of a handful of directors for an entire region, managing hundreds of employees. They are both in their 20s. They both graduated with degrees from the same top business school in the country. They took similar classes, attended similar recruiting events, and applied to similar companies. They both work for Fortune 500 companies.

How is it that one managed to land a management position, while her colleague is starting in an entry-level position? The answer is study abroad.

My friend who’s a regional director less than a year after graduation studied abroad. She spent her vacations in South America. Summers in Panama. Spring breaks in Brazil. She spent as much of her free time as she could traveling to the places she loved. She learned the languages, becoming proficient in Spanish and Portuguese. She made friends, taking time to understand the places she visited and the people who lived there. She loves South America. So when there was a high-level position available as a member of an overseas marketing team, she was ready.

She had spent meaningful time in the countries where she would be working. She spoke their languages and understood their culture. She had more hands-on experience in the region than candidates twice her age. She got the job. This post was originally published at Medium and is reprinted here with permission.