Winning the annual New York Times contest “Win A Trip with Nick”, 20-year-old Nicole Sganga will be traveling on assignment with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Nick Kristoff for her 2014 summer.

Says Kristoff himself, “Nicole is a terrific journalist-in-the-making, and I’m impressed by how much she has been able to do on the side from London to Washington while earning top grades at Notre Dame.” Kristoff holds the contest looking for a student who is able to engage other young people around the world, producing blog and video content alongside Kristoff.

Sganga was sure to take advantage of traveling opportunities offered by Notre Dame. She was an intern in Thailand with HELP International, and also served as an intern during the Cannes Film Festival. She was also in England to cover the birth of young Prince George while interning at CBS News in London.

A junior from the University of Notre Dame, Sganga is one of many university students who take their college education overseas for either a study abroad opportunity or gap year and have found that overseas education applicable to their futures. Studying abroad, taking a gap year to travel overseas, or taking on global internships can be a great learning experience as well as a way to make yourself more marketable.

Take it from some of Notre Dame’s own success stories. Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of the State, graduated from Notre Dame with a master’s degree in political science in 1975. Through university programs, she studied in Russia at Moscow State University. Sean King, Park Strategies Senior Vice President, is also Notre Dame graduate, who interned for in Taipei as part of his MBA. He now divides his time between his company’s New York and Taiwan offices, the internship having served him well.

Students that study, travel, or work abroad often gain a larger picture perspective of how the world works, something that they aren’t always exposed to at home. Especially in politics and global consulting companies, being able to understand the intricacies and caveats in each culture is invaluable—and something that’s hard to teach in a classroom.

Study abroad and gap years are now a lot more common in the United States than previous years. While gap years don’t offer credit opportunities like study abroad can, both can be invaluable for educational and volunteering purposes.

Have you taken an international study opportunity? Do you feel it’s something every student should experience?