A college or university has many advantages, including the possibility of studying abroad which is one of the many benefits of attending one. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people; if you have the chance, you might want to take advantage of it as it is a once in a lifetime experience.
However, what exactly does studying abroad entail? What are the pros and cons of it? Is it suitable for everyone? Although there are certainly many benefits to be had from the experience, not everyone will find it to be satisfactory. In this article, we will explore the basics, the pros and cons of studying abroad, and some of the best options for you if you decide to study abroad.
There is a student holding a small globe with mountains in the background.
What is Study Abroad?
A “study abroad” program is where you can take a short term program, a semester, or a whole year at a foreign college or university.
You can study abroad if your college has a partnership with another school around the world. Depending on your major, certain destinations may not be available even if your college partners with a New Zealand school.
Depending on your area of study and what classes are offered to international students, study abroad programs can last for 10 days to a whole year. There’s also a chance you’ll meet students from your country so you can get to know each other.
Studying abroad is usually done during junior year, but students can do it sooner or later. In spite of that, most people find this to be a good middle ground since they’re finishing up their general education requirements, starting their majors, and aren’t just about to graduate.
Get in touch with your school’s department of international programs (they may have a similar name, but it’s different!) if you’re interested in learning more.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad?
The opportunity to study abroad may once in a lifetime come your way, but it may not be right for everyone. Participation in these programs has a number of benefits as well as a number of downsides.
PRO: Make new friends
The time you spend studying abroad, regardless of where you end up studying, is a great time to make new friends! It is likely that you will meet a lot of new people in your life – from your country and from others as well, individuals as well
This can be done in your dorm room, or with other students in your classes. As a result, you will be able to meet friends from different cultures and backgrounds, something that will greatly broaden your perspective on life.
The downside of studying abroad is that it is easy to isolate yourself from other people as soon as you get there, but one of the best aspects of this experience is that you will meet all kinds of new people. The more time you spend making new friends when you are staying here, the more amazing stories, memories you will take home with you, and the more likely you will be to return to the area in the future.
Con: You May Get Homesick
It is true that you will be able to find more independence and make more friends but there is no doubt that you will experience homesickness at some point. I was homesick for my family as well as for my friends and even for my country when I was homesick. There also could be a possibility that you will miss an important holiday or birthday if you are there for a long period of time.
Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t going to last forever, so it’s important to remember that. Your journey home will eventually come to an end. To keep in touch with your loved ones, you can use things like Discord, FaceTime, social media, and Zoom to keep in touch with them while you are away. Then when it comes time to travel back to your hometown, you can make sure to bring along souvenirs for them to take home with you!
PRO: You’ll Open the Door to New Opportunities
The classes that are available to you as an international student in a study abroad program may be limited at times, but many programs do offer some degree of flexibility for international students. There is no need to be pigeonholed into a particular discipline, even if you study economics or business for example. It is possible that you will be able to take a class directly related to the country you are visiting, for example, and will even find that you have a larger selection of classes available to you.
Moreover, this is also the perfect opportunity to network with other attendees! It is likely that you will make connections that may lead to internships or employment opportunities in the future. The prospect of moving to this country after you graduate college is also a possibility for you. As a result of studying abroad, there are a lot of possibilities that you could benefit from.
CON: Some People Experience Culture Shock
A new location can definitely be a benefit to some, but it can also be a little unsettling for others, who are not used to it. It can take a bit of time for some people to settle down after a move. There is a lot to do when you are looking for your way through a new city and meeting new people! If you take things slow at your new college and work closely with your support group, you might just be able to save your life.
PRO: You’ll Learn a new language
There are plenty of opportunities for you to put your skills to work in the field of Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or any other language you have studied for some time. I think learning a foreign language in a classroom can be a great experience, but it is often found that the best way to become proficient at a foreign language is to immerse yourself in it every single day.
Studying abroad allows you to use your language skills day after day, honing your conversation skills and gaining a better understanding of a foreign language.
CON: Not Fluent in a Language
There is no doubt that studying abroad helps you brush up on your studied language, but what if you have never studied the language? The thing is, if you don’t understand what any of the people in your classes are trying to convey, you will easily get lost and end up falling behind in your classes.
A study abroad program in a country whose language you are unfamiliar with should generally not be considered if you are not proficient in it. There is a good chance that classes will be taught in that language almost always, and if you cannot understand the teacher, it is going to be difficult for you to pass. Despite the fact that you may think that you are able to learn the basics of the language quickly, it’s not a good idea – gaining proficiency in the language takes years and years of practice. It is recommended that you attend a college in a country where English is the primary language if you have never studied the foreign language.
PRO: You’ll Gain Independence
Leaving for college was a huge step forward in your independence, but if you attend university abroad, then you will experience a whole new world in terms of independence required. Even if you have a supportive network at the new college, you may feel like you are on your own, as you will be far away from family and friends. Some people may find this liberating while others may find it frightening.
CON: It Can be Expensive
A major concern about studying abroad is the cost involved in the process. Flights, housing, and living expenses are just some of the things that can quickly add up. As a matter of fact, it’s not hard to imagine that some people aren’t able to afford the cost alone.
In the event that you are concerned about your ability to afford an international program, talk to the financial aid department at your university. Oftentimes, they have funds available to help make it a reality for students, and they can also point you towards additional aid such as scholarship and grant opportunities that can help you make it a reality.
PRO: You’re Somewhere New
It’s a new place for you! And, of course, it’s a new place for you! Traveling while studying for your degree is a great way to combine work and travel at the same time. Throughout your entire degree program, you won’t have to spend a lot of time in the library. The country you’ll be visiting will be a great place for you to discover, take in the sights, and experience what the country has to offer.
CON: Losing Time
The other downside to studying abroad is the fact that, sometimes, it can require students to do an additional semester or even an entire year of extra coursework in order to complete their degree. There is no right or wrong answer here. It really depends on your program and how it translates to credits for your bachelor’s degree. There is a possibility that you might lose out on time if the translation does not work out 1:1.
Please consult the international department at your university to find out how a study abroad program works and how it will affect your own timeline before you sign up for a study abroad program. As well as talking with your academic adviser, you might also want to discuss your options with them. Before you take that flight, you should be aware of what to expect, so you will not find yourself in a situation where you are almost finished with the program and discover you can’t apply it to your credits.
What Are the Best Places to Study Abroad?
Studying abroad in the best countries may be different for you than it is for someone else. It is even possible for the experience to differ greatly from one college to another and even from one city to another! To make sure you have the best experience possible, it is important to ask yourself a few questions before choosing a location.
- Can I speak the language?
- Is the culture of the country of interest to me?
- Is its history of interest to me?
- How would I like to spend my downtime? There are some countries that are more suitable for those who are more active! It is also possible to visit historical sites on other tours.
- Is my major supported by the college?
- What is the cost of travel and living in this country?
- Does the other college offer any support programs for international students?
- How can I enroll in classes?
- In what climate and weather would I be most comfortable?
- Is it safe to visit the country?
Having said that, some of the places that are commonly cited as being among the “best” for studying abroad are as follows:
- New Zealand
This list of the “best of” doesn’t have to be the one you choose from, of course. Choosing what is best for you is a better option than deciding what is best for someone else. Consider the various options that you have through your college, and, just like you did with your college list, make a list of the pros and cons of each location that you can choose from. If you follow this guide, you should be able to narrow down the best location for your education!
It would be great if you had the opportunity to study abroad if you could. I can never get enough of visiting and seeing all of the beautiful places that there are. It is important to remember that you should not rush into making a decision, but take your time with it. Consider your options, weigh the pros and cons, and speak with your advisor if you need assistance in making a decision.
If you are trying to decide whether or not to study abroad, but you are concerned about the price tag, you may be able to find scholarships that are dedicated to these programs.
Please consider studying abroad if you have the opportunity. There are so many beautiful places in the world, so many of them are worth visiting. There is no reason why you shouldn’t see them all if you want to. At the same time, if you are seriously considering it, take your time and think about it. There is no need to rush. In addition to this list, there are many other tools that can be used as a starting point. As a final goal, it is important to be satisfied and happy with the outcome. There are some people who would prefer not to study abroad if they are on the fence and decide that it is not for them to study abroad. It is important that you make the most of this opportunity if you do.