Immersing yourself in the language, people and culture of new surroundings far from home can seem like a fantastic way to expand your skill set on many levels. However, moving to a different country and culture can also create challenges for even the best students.
Studying abroad and studying in your own country are two very different things. The reality of studying abroad can be eclipsed by the idea of the adventure a student has planned.
Although you are on a journey that will surely offer more life experience and education than you may have received staying put, a student abroad still needs to hit the books and hunker down to pass classes. This can be challenging in a few ways. When students settle into their new school routine, they may sincerely miss the comforts that helped them study at home.
Advantages of Studying Abroad
The course work offered overseas may be more advanced than what you have available to you at home. The coursework at an international school can help you to look at subjects you thought you had mastered from a different viewpoint. When you look at a topic from a different perspective you can expand and advance your understanding of a subject.
Studying abroad can open your mind and broaden your outlook. Your overseas experience looks good on job applications and college admissions. It shows ambition, ability to adapt to new surroundings, take on challenges and work independently.
Exploring another culture offers real-life experiences that no school can offer. Student abroad learn new things as they peruse the restaurants, homes of friends or professors and community areas of their temporary home.
Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
The classes you must take to maintain a scholarship or your enrollment in a student exchange program, if applicable, can be more challenging. Often, students have a time of adjustment, also called culture shock, that can leave them lacking in their otherwise stellar study habits. Students who have studied abroad have reported that loneliness can be a factor that they hadn’t considered before entering a popular student exchange program.
Often, the classes you take overseas are not in your native language and may be hard to follow unless you are fluent in the language and slang of the region. However, this will also present an opportunity to become more fluent in the language. It can also slow down even the best students in a subject they may have excelled at when on their home turf.
Cost can also be an issue, so consider your room and board. Also research if there are any incidental costs associated with where you will be studying and the course work you intend to take.
Quality of Education Overseas
The Bologna Process ensures that the standards of higher-education between European countries are comparable. However, do research about the country where you intend to study before making a decision.
Prepare yourself by studying the language, beliefs, national philosophy, music, slang and any additional information that will help you to immerse yourself fully in the experience of studying abroad.
Advantages of Studying Locally
There are advantages of studying locally. Often, a student doesn’t realize how much the comforts of home help with study habits and excellent grades.
Your home country has references and research avenues you understand innately. Real-world experiences can be found through volunteering in areas outside of your interests. This can expand your viewpoint, which is the main goal of those who study abroad.
Get involved with diverse cultural events, services or programs within your community and explore the world that is available just outside your front door.
- Forbes: Six Ways to Cut The Costs of Your Study Abroad Program
- Northwestern University: Why Study Abroad?
- Institute for the International Education of Students: The Benefits of Studying Abroad
- University of Nevada University Studies Abroad Consortium: Why Study Abroad With USAC?
- Master and More: Studying in Your Home Country
- European Higher Education Area: European Higher Education Area and Bologna Process
- OwlCation: Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
- Essay Basics: Advantages of Studying Locally
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.