Going to study in the UK, America, Australia, Canada or New Zealand is a dream for many students from other countries of the world.
Below, I would like to outline the pros and cons of studying abroad to help you make a better decision.
Let’s dive right in…
The Main Benefit
Of course the main benefit — the best benefit — is that you are studying in a country such as the UK, America, Australia, Canada or New Zealand.
Rightly or wrongly, these countries are highly desirable locations for students.
They go there for the top university courses and the high quality of the education these institutions can provide.
If you have been accepted at one of these colleges or universities, then you are in a very privileged group.
Many other students would love to follow in your footsteps.
But what are the other benefits of studying abroad?
And what are the downsides to it?
There are many advantages for you to study in another country. Not just because of the higher level of education.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of studying abroad.
Benefits from College
Just by virtue of the fact that you are in a college or university can give you some advantages.
Let’s look at what they are.
Many colleges offer international students a support network.
They know you are far from home and everything is different and they try to help you in any way they can.
You can find out about these support systems before you set foot in the college. Just ask the enrolment department what they offer in terms of support for international students.
You can receive a lot of help from these networks, so take full advantage.
Scholarships, Funding and Bursaries
And you may find that you are eligible for all kinds of additional funding.
There are many organisations that offer financial assistance to students. Many of these organisations offer financial aid to international students.
You need to ask around about this.
Ask the enrolment office, ask the student union, ask other students.
Even if it looks like a small amount, it all adds up when you are a student!
Every college and university has a student union.
These small departments are a lifesaver for international students. They can often provide all kinds of support and information you may need while studying abroad.
Find out who the student union leader is and join up.
There may even be a department for international students.
Check out my other useful guides about studying abroad
One of the biggest gains you will get from studying in another country is to learn about another culture.
You can find out first-hand about the food, the people, the ways of life, just by living in that country.
Dive in and take full advantage of this while you are in the country. Many international students tend to shut themselves off and only have friends from their own country.
But you should explore this new culture by yourself and learn about it.
It will help you develop as a human being.
Future Prospects Benefits
Some of the benefits you can gain by studying in another country may not be apparent immediately.
There are advantages to studying abroad that may not show themselves until after you graduate.
But they are still extremely valuable.
Good for your Resume/CV
Studying abroad always looks good on your resume/CV.
It shows that you are independent and that you have international life experience.
Employers love to see that a candidate has international study experience.
It distinguishes you from the other job candidates. If you are in a small group of people who have studied abroad, you know that you have a major advantage.
It helps you to stand out in the crowd.
And of course your English will improve if you are studying in another country.
Your English-speaking skills should get much better after living in the UK or America for just a few months.
Of course, you need to ensure that you are not surrounding yourself with friends only from your own country — don’t make that mistake!
Get out of your shell and explore your surroundings on your own.
Your English skills will grow and grow.
Living in another country will definitely help you grow as a person.
You can gain a lot of things — not just academically — but for you as a human being.
These are not to be underestimated.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Getting out of your comfort zone means to challenge yourself and do new things every day.
This will help you gain confidence and lose your fear of only living inside your shell.
Get out there and learn about the world!
You can do this while living and studying abroad.
This is good for you — but future employers like to see this too.
If you are studying abroad, you can learn to become independent.
Finding out how to do new things by yourself, learning how to live in a new city, having the confidence to live by yourself.
These are great life skills.
Making International Friends
While studying abroad, you will have the opportunity to forge great lifelong friendships with people.
Take full advantage of this.
These friendships could be valuable to you while you are studying in the country. But could also be useful to you — or the new friends you make — in the future.
You may find that you can gain friends with people from many different countries. You can build your own international network of friends from all over the world.
Seeing the World
Maybe not seeing all the world, but certainly seeing one part of it.
This can help you develop as a person. It can make you a more interesting person to know too.
Your outlook on the world will be informed by this experience and help you too.
Strengths and Weaknesses
You will become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
This can help you develop your existing strengths. And strengthen your weaknesses.
This is an incredible learning curve for you while you study abroad.
You can learn different ways of learning that you may not experience in your own country.
There may be a different approach to studying which you can learn from.
And there will be more learning opportunities.
But you have to take full advantage of this.
While there are many pros to studying abroad, there are also some cons.
Let’s take a look at these now.
Competition is High
International scholarship programmes are especially competitive.
Getting into an international program in college or university in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the UK can be very competitive.
There are only a select number of places are competition to get into these courses is very high.
Prepare for this by making sure you have an edge in terms of your academic ability in high school. And in terms of your English skills.
You will need a student visa to study abroad and these can be very strict.
If you have trouble filling in the forms for this, ask an English-speaking friend to help you.
Also, there are restrictions to student visas. You may not be allowed to do any part-time work while studying abroad.
This will prevent you from earning some extra cash while studying in another country.
Studying in America, the UK or Canada can be very expensive.
The cost of living can be very high too.
You may not be eligible for the campus accommodation in the college.
This may only be for the students from that country.
Find out before you go!
There should be plenty of other options made available to you though. For example, homestay with a local family.
And you may experience some personal difficulties while studying abroad.
- culture shock
- language barriers
- cultural barriers
- stress of living in a new place
- communication problems
- mental health issues
But you must bear in mind that your college has staff and facilities to help with all of these issues.
Do not think you have to deal with this alone!
You can get help and it is available to you.
The ways of studying may be very different from how you usually study in your own country.
It may be difficult or too challenging.
Remember: You can get help.
You just need to ask.
Preparation is Everything
As with everything, preparation is everything.
Find out as much as you can before you even leave. Your college should be able to put you in the right direction.
Join social media groups and ask others who have been through the same experience.
They can help you too.
Ultimately, studying abroad should be a very enjoyable and useful experience.
You should leave your place of international study with more life skills, better experience and more knowledge of who you are as a person and the world around you.
Just take advantage of it and dive in!