Are you excited to continue your education? Have you decided on a major yet? Maybe looking for another country to continue your studies? Are you having doubts?
Many people might be excited about studying abroad, becoming an international student, having new experiences, and gaining new friends. For many it’s only a dream, simply an idea never brought to life.
Just like everything else in life, studying abroad has its perks and downsides. Make sure studying abroad is an excellent choice for you and read more about the pros and cons in this article.
The primary reason most students look to study in another country is international academic recognition. That and the free travel opportunity.
You get to study and explore a new place at the same time. You can also use this opportunity to learn how to be independent and meet new people. You will also be able to experience new things, things you could never find locally.
For some, studying abroad might mean cheaper education for those awarded with scholarships. But for others, studying abroad can mean spending more money for the trip, the accommodation, and even for daily necessities.
Studying abroad might make you homesick, since you’ll be very far from family and friends, and you won’t get to see them that often. It might be uncomfortable because of the language and cultural differences, some might experience culture shock.
Last but not least, unknown places often offer new food experiences, and who’s to say you won’t miss home-cooked meals? Yes, there are definitely challenges to studying abroad, let’s explore more ideas and make sure that it’s the right choice for you.
Your Academic Performance
Studying abroad might result in a better academic result, but it doesn’t guarantee it. It all depends on the school and major you choose. You need to check how the school ranks internationally and not just locally.
A school might rank number 1 in Australia, and another might rank 2nd in New Zealand, but on the international scale it might look different.
Studying abroad might give you a chance to learn more, or maybe even learn about something you’ve never heard of before. But for some, this might be too much of a challenge. Considering the different curriculum you are used to.
Learning, wherever you are, really comes back to yourself. How you study, how much you’re committed to it, your passion and preferences. Any place can be a great place if you choose it to be. And any place can fall short of your standards if your perspective deems it so.
Studying abroad is so much more than just education. It can be a lot more about how you live and how your mind will be introduced to new perspectives. Let’s explore further discussion and continue to figure out if studying abroad is right for you.
Funding is another big thing if you’re looking to study abroad. The most common option is to afford it independently or be awarded a scholarship. Of course, there are other ways to pay for your studies, but it’s rarely sought after.
It is common knowledge that studying abroad will cost more than studying locally. Aside from the cost of the school and the accommodation, you will also have to pay for food and other necessities that might come for free if you stay at home.
Nowadays, a lot of universities offer funding programs for international students. Some offer partial scholarships for students who are already accepted. While others offer loans for students. There are honestly endless options, ready for you to explore. If you are really interested, that is.
Any issue is easy to overcome, if you believe it to be so.
International graduation might seem like a dream, but then again, it might be a disaster. For one, it might be difficult for your parents or other family members to attend since it’s so far away. But then again, graduation invitations are usually limited anyway, no matter where you attend school.
Remember the cultural difference I mentioned earlier? The graduation tradition in another country might be different to yours. The attire may also differ. This can be a chance for you to embrace the new culture and showcase your own. Or the time to break down completely because, well, graduation can be a stressful time.
If you look past all the challenges, this is a great opportunity for your entire family to visit and experience a bit of your life whilst studying abroad.
Being an international graduate may also be a benefit to you. It can open doors to other educational opportunities, abroad and local, as well as job opportunities.
Bilingual Or Maybe Multilingual
Living in another country may also offer some language barrier. Your classes may be in English, but your daily needs and communication will certainly be challenged.
Studies show that learning a new language requires time, consistency and dedication before you are finally comfortable speaking it. Fluency is another thing on its own. You can always prepare yourself by taking classes before you leave. Or you can go straight at it and learn as you go.
But this can be a tremendous challenge, though, especially if you are experiencing difficulties. Can you imagine trying to tell people you are late or lost, without knowing how to say the words? What a complete disaster. It can be a great chance for you to learn the language and add another set of skills to your resume.
This might be the most important part of studying abroad – the adventures. Adventures you will never be able to experience if you don’t travel to a whole other country.
These adventures will be different, depending on the location you choose. It will also be different depending on who you are. Somebody who is studying in Japan, learning the same major, in the same university, coming from the same town might have two completely different stories to tell.
Your adventure is what you make of it. And I can’t really discuss the pros and cons with you, because what you think is a con might be a pro to others. The most important thing to know is that studying abroad will give you an adventure.
The Path To Adulthood
At this age, you’re essentially learning how to become an adult. Living abroad may offer a different perspective to this. Aside from being completely independent daily, you will also be offered a different point of view to what you are used to.
This will be supported by you meeting new friends, and joining new communities, something to help shape who you are and who you are going to be as a person. Growing mentally is a whole other adventure by itself.
Irreplaceable Life Experiences
People like to say that school, whether it be high school or university, is the best years of your life. It’s really hard to say that something is the best, but it will definitely always be memorable. Nothing can replace that feeling you get stepping into a new place, a new life.
Of course, you will always have new life experiences, but the first few years of adulthood will be the starting point of it all. And if you prefer change and challenge. Studying abroad may be just what you need.
Life experiences are not always positive. Maybe you learn how to cook local dishes whilst studying abroad. But maybe you got lost that one time, or stuck in the rain because you didn’t know which public transport to take home. Or maybe you ate the wrong lunch for 3 months because you didn’t know how to communicate with the server.
Good or bad is only determined by the way you feel while you are living it. And good or bad, these memories are irreplaceable if they made an impression in your life.
Obtain A Different Mindset
Living in a strange new land means learning their ways. Most of the time, there will be people who are more than happy to show you how to adapt to new ways. Everybody understands that meeting new people is scary.
But often, the people you are scared to meet may be daunted by meeting you, too. But getting scared doesn’t mean being disliked, though. Most of the time, people are just scared of things they don’t know.
But, once you get to know them, like they get to know you, the fear will go away.
A new mindset gets brought on by the people you hang out with. The way strangers react to you as you walk by. The culture in restaurants, libraries, and other public places.
It can also be changed by the challenges you face and how you overcome them. Is there anyone available to help or are you doing it all on your own?
Mindset is the way you look at the world, no matter what it throws at you.
Missing Family & Home
Of course, this journey you’re on will come without family. Technology has really made it easy on us, with the free voice and video calls. We are truly a step away from hologram calls. But even with the technology, there is still a time difference.
It may be hard when you miss important moments, holidays, and other milestones. But you have to remember that you truly can do anything if you want to. It’s perfectly acceptable to miss your family. Who doesn’t? What’s not acceptable is flying all the way to another country and not succeeding in your studies, simply because you miss your family.
At this point, you have to ask yourself again, can you overcome this challenge if you study abroad?
A country can really make up a lot of a person’s identity. You learn to like what the people like and you tend to leave what’s not acceptable in your country. Of course, this is not always the case.
Stepping out may give you a chance to explore yourself. Who are you without the boundaries of society? What do you like? What do you hate? What do you want to learn? Maybe you discover how much you enjoy ice skating but have never had the chance to learn it. Or you enjoy surfing, but you’ve never seen the beach.
Maybe you hate being outdoors, but it’s all you’ve known all your life. Maybe you enjoy riding bikes and your city doesn’t support it. Self-discovery doesn’t always have to be physical. It can also be mental or something you embody.
Either way, studying abroad can be just the thing you need to discover who you truly are. Maybe you’ll find out you don’t want to study abroad, or be out of your country ever again. It’s always good to know, sooner rather than later.
Independence & Self Reliance
During self-discovery in another country, you will learn how to be independent, reliant on yourself. Of course, this comes with its own pros and cons.
It generally depends on who you are to begin with. It will be vastly different for someone who has always been independent compared to someone who has always relied on others to get by.
For most, the con will be the process. Every time they have to do something, even though they don’t want to. Pushing that extra energy to accomplish things others usually help them with.
The pro, for any kind of person, is the result. The person that comes out at the end of it. Somebody strong enough to fulfill their own needs. Somebody who can and has successfully proven they can.
Your Own Approach To Diversity
Diversity is a generally new concept to the world. Technology and globalization ultimately contributed to diversity. First comes the awareness. Social media has really opened up our minds and introduced different types of people who exist in other parts of the world.
Some we are excited to get to know, and others, well not so much. Either way, there are a lot of people out there. Stepping out of your home country will give you a chance to experience diversity firsthand. So how will you approach it?
Friends, New & Old
Moving can be hard on relationships. Including friendships. Especially friendships, I’d say. Stepping into a new environment will give you the chance to meet new people, and possibly make new friends.
What if your friends have different beliefs as you, different personalities, different habits? You can handle it in one of two ways. You can either broaden your mind and complement each other, or you can completely despise each other. It’s all up to you.
Now, bringing home new experiences to your old friends can also surprise you. It can either excite them and make you realize that distance and time will not break a friendship. Or they will completely disagree with you and you will also despise each other.
Yes, diversity is in the world all around you, but the way you approach it is all in your mind.
A culture is a way of life, it can be a part of your identity, a part of who you are. But that’s not all. Adopting a new culture, doesn’t mean that you lose your previous identity. It really means that you’re enriching yourself. You are allowed to reject cultures, even your own, and just take away whatever you agree with.
Opening the doors to diversity means you have to at least open yourself to welcome the country’s culture.
Yes, living abroad means a new set of food. Unless you’re not moving that far, maybe just to the country next door. But I think even different cities prefer different types of food. Either way, you’ll encounter food you’ll love and food you’ll hate.
The bottom line of food diversity is that everyone should be able to cook up their own favorite meal. Because local cuisines should be a treat, and a meal should be fuel for your body.
Graduating with an internationally recognized degree can mean a lot for your career. Of course, there are some companies who will not even consider you because of your qualifications. But who wants to work for those places, anyway?
An international degree generally means nothing if you can’t support it. Whenever anyone sees an international degree, they will be expecting an excellent candidate. Somebody who is compatible, able to compete, and brave enough to tackle challenges. They want someone with a broad mind who is able to look at things in multiple perspectives.
An international degree cannot guarantee an international career, it can’t even guarantee a local career. But somebody from Australia will have a better chance to work in England, if he or she graduates from England.
Other than that fact, like everything else we’ve discussed here, it all comes down to you.
An expat usually makes more than a local employee would. But working abroad, or working locally with an international degree is a whole other story. Somebody with an international degree, keeping in mind that the school they attended is better than local schools, can expect a higher pay compared to a local graduate. But a company may not always meet their expectations.
Salary also depends a lot on the field you are qualified for. Studying environmental sciences, in the best university will not guarantee a higher salary if you’re looking to work in a country without a job vacancy in the environmental field.
On the other hand, if you study IT or Marketing, in any university. And the country you apply to have an abundance of job vacancies and a few IT or Marketing graduates, it will most certainly ensure a higher salary.
When it comes to salary, you must always keep your expectations realistic. Consider the market and the “norm”, don’t put too much hope on your degree.
Recruiters expect international graduates to have more skills than local graduates. Skill can be a number of things. It can be the languages you speak, your leadership skills, your computer skills, your negotiation skills, your people skill and so much more.
As a graduate, you will be much better off with more skills in addition to your expertise. Note that we said “in addition”. A lot of minor skills will not be advantageous if you don’t excel at the field you have chosen.
Being multilingual will certainly single you out of the herd. Having managerial skills will bring you that much closer to managing a prospective client’s division, whatever it is. Aside from getting you a foot in the door, it can also push you above others when you’re already doing the job.
To stand out above the other candidates, every little detail will count.
Is Studying Abroad The Right Choice For You?
So now we’re here. At the end. After all the pros and the cons and the pros and the cons, there’s really not much more we can say. How do you feel?
It all comes down to you and how you feel about studying abroad. Are you ready? Are you excited? Or does all this actually scare you?
Trust your gut and choose the best path for your future.