What do you think about his job prospects when he returns (regardless of the work; just taking into account that he opted to spend a year or 2 abroad like this)?
full disclosure: I'm in a somewhat similar situation right now
Even in a poor economy, demonstrating those qualities still stands out. Almost certainly the most common reason for failing when interviewing with me is the "I haven't had a chance to..." story. Often this is in the context of software. "I haven't had a chance to try this language or that language" What they mean is that previous jobs haven't used it. They could easily have learnt about it in their own time - it just wasn't a priority for them. Which is fair enough - but you will lose out against those who turn "would like to do" in to "done".
Another advantage is that it shows a level of maturity and self-sufficience. If they can pack their bags and go off to India as a younge person they are clearly not a stay-at-home-very-shy person.