In Europe, more than 250,0 0 0 university students spend one or two semesters abroad every year. This study explores whether a short time abroad contributes to the acquisition of foreign language proficiency. We use a newly available dataset about almost the totality of Italian graduates and two alternative in- struments to address the endogeneity of studying abroad. Both instruments display similar results. The effect of studying abroad on foreign language proficiency is remarkable, although extremely heteroge- neous across languages. Languages more rewarded by the labor market are those that are harder to learn in a short time abroad.