One of the biggest reasons you should consider studying abroad is the opportunity to see the world and engage with other people from a culture other than your own. While there are many pros to studying abroad, it may not be for everyone. If you are considering going abroad in college, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad that come with it.
Advantages of Studying Abroad
Life’s an adventure, if you can go anywhere – go abroad. Living abroad broadens your perspective on life – new friends, new experiences, and amazing stories to tell when you get back home. You can learn another language by immersing yourself in a place and it is the fastest and the best way to become fluent. All of the skills from your experience will come in useful when you are looking for employment and in your personal life.
You Will Experience Different Learning Techniques
Foreign countries offer new (and possibly better) learning techniques. Through your study abroad you will be exposed to a new style of education. It may be challenging, but you will learn more about your industry if you have different sources. When I studied abroad in Spain, I found a completely different outlook on my major and it even inspired my undergraduate research.
Learning to Be Independent
One of the advantages of studying abroad is learning to live independently in a completely new environment. You will learn to make new friends and find your way around a new city. After you come back home, your life will be different. You will become more confident. After all, you spent an entire month or semester in a different country on your own! Is there anything you can’t do?
Exposure to Different Cultures
My study abroad experience was life-changing. You will meet people from different countries speaking different languages. You will learn so much about other countries, their traditions and beliefs. Through this experience, you will learn to appreciate and communicate to people from all over the world. And moreover, it will inspire you to learn and to travel more. Your first study abroad experience could be just the beginning or the doorway to all of the new adventures in your life.
You Will Share Your Culture With Others
One of the best things about studying abroad is sharing your culture with others! When I went from Russia to the United States, I cooked Russian food for my friends and host family and told stories about my home country. When you are studying abroad, tell people more about the country you are from – you are the only way for them to make a connection to it! You have the opportunity to change other people’s lives! My stories about Russia inspired one of my friends to study Russian in college and study abroad in St. Petersburg.
Studying abroad also helps students to explore themselves, try something knew and be adventurous. While you are studying in a different country, you will be learning more about yourself. When you are traveling, step out of your comfort zone and try something new, learn a new skill everywhere you go.
Better Job Opportunities
Students who study abroad have stronger resumes and better job opportunities. Study abroad is a sign of intercultural competence which is appealing to potential employers and graduate schools. This experience will be very helpful when you are looking for a job after college.
Making Friends All Over the World
As I said earlier, you will meet people from all over the world. And being together in a new setting is a way to build the best friendships. Not only will you get the chance to meet and develop relationships with students, teachers and fellow program participants, but you’ll have opportunities to spend time with the locals. Work to establish and maintain these connections; not only might they lead to lifelong friendships, but they also have the potential to lead to international job opportunities!
Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad has so many benefits, but you should consider both, advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad before you make your final decision. You should make sure it is financially feasible for you and if it will fit in to your college plan.
Studying Abroad Can Be Expensive
Yes, studying abroad is not cheap: international travel fare, student insurance, tuition, and room and board. All of that costs money, and you will also want some money left just for yourself. There are a lot of expenses involved in studying abroad and it is one major reason students hesitate to take up education in abroad. But trust me, if expenses is the only doubt you have, you should go for it!
Solution: If this is really what you want to do, there are quite a few affordable options. Look for scholarship and funding opportunities within and outside your institution. Or, you can always cut costs by going to a less popular location. Research is the best way to save up on your study abroad. Create a budget, save in advance, allow ample time to apply for financial aid, grants, and scholarships.
You May Have Challenges Communicating with People
Studying abroad can come with culture shocks. Studying and living abroad may be even harder if you don’t speak the language of your host country. Though you may be able to get by, it will be challenging. Read Dagny’s study abroad story in India and the challenges that she encountered!
Advice: It’s certainly best to have a general sense of your host country’s culture and language before you depart your home country to make the transition smoother. Please, research before you go and try to find someone who traveled abroad before to find out more.
You May Feel Homesick
Another significant challenge is feeling homesick as you begin to miss your friends and family. For some international students, homesickness is accompanied by varying degrees of culture shock or anxiety, feelings of frustration, and sense of alienation that can occur as a person attempts to adjust to a new culture.
Advice: Try not to stress, feeling homesick is natural along with other emotions that you will feel when you are studying abroad. Read more about how does it really feel to study abroad and how you can cope with those emotions better.
University Credits Might not be Accepted Everywhere
it is possible that your university credits will not be accepted in you home country. And if your credits will not transfer, your study abroad might add you another semester in college. Check with your study abroad office before you go. You may have to take some summer classes or extra hours to graduate on-time. When I studied abroad in high school, I had to graduate high school a year later than my classmates. But believe me, the study abroad experience was worth every extra minute!
Consider Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
To me, the positives of studying abroad outweigh the disadvantages. However, nothing comes easy. I hope this post helps to bring a clarity between the advantages and disadvantages of studying in abroad. Studying abroad broadens the mind and deepens the learning experience. There are disadvantages too, consider increased education costs as well as language and cultural barriers.
Through all of my experiences abroad, I can certainly testify that living away from your home country can be difficult at times. However, experiencing other countries is rewarding and life changing. While I might be a little bias, you should consider advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad for your personal situation before making your decision!