In the technologically advancing world we are living in, businesses are looking to hire human resources that can provide them with a competitive edge in the market. One trait that qualifies the candidate for the role is possessing a greater understanding of the world. That’s where studying abroad comes into the picture, allowing students to increase their exposure and change their mindset for the better. This is merely the beginning. There are lots of advantages that come with an abroad study but disadvantages as well.
We shall look at the pros in-depth in the next section. Then, we will examine the drawbacks to complete our analysis. Let’s get rolling.
Why do people want to Study Abroad?
People want to study abroad for a variety of reasons such as:
- Expand Cultural Understanding: Studying abroad provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture, allowing you to gain new perspectives and increase global awareness.
- Academic Opportunities: Some students pursue studies in foreign countries that offer specialized courses or higher quality education than their home country.
- Career Advancement: International experience is highly valued in many industries and can make a job applicant more competitive.
- Language Skills: A stay in a foreign country can significantly improve language skills, particularly if the study involves learning a new language.
- Personal Growth: Living independently in a foreign country can enhance life skills and personal development.
- Travel: Studying abroad can be an opportunity to travel and explore new places.
Is studying abroad a good decision?
Studying abroad is not necessarily a good or bad decision. If you have a good enough reason to pursue a foreign degree (such as a scholarship or better education), then you should go for it. If you want to get a degree outside just for the fun of it, then probably it is not a good idea.
At the end of the day, people around you who have gone abroad to study will be your best guides in making a decision.
Comparison Table of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Abroad Study
|Increases global exposure||High expenses and financial challenges|
|Teaches the value of independence||Communication challenges, especially language barriers|
|Brings a change in mindset||Feelings of loneliness and homesickness|
|Provides better employment opportunities||Cultural shocks and adaptation difficulties|
|Enhances your network through diverse contacts||Experience reverse cultural shocks upon return|
|Exposure to diverse cultures||Academic and grading system differences|
|Access to world-class education||Immigration and visa complexities|
|Improved language skills||Distance from family and support system|
|Personal growth and self-reliance||Adapting to a new educational system|
|Opportunities for travel and exploration||Possible discrimination or bias|
|Enhanced resume and career prospects||Financial burden of student loans|
|Cross-cultural understanding||Healthcare and insurance challenges|
|Access to unique academic programs||Legal and visa-related issues|
|Broadened worldview||Work restrictions on student visas|
|Opportunities for research and innovation||Acculturation challenges in a new country|
|Enhanced adaptability and resilience||Limited access to home comforts|
|Learning life skills||Career uncertainty in the host country|
|Increased awareness of global issues||Adjustment to different living standards|
|Personal development||Long periods of separation from family|
|Build a global network||Potential for academic or cultural mismatches|
|Cultural enrichment||Exposure to different educational philosophies|
Advantages of abroad study
The thought of studying abroad excites many students for a reason. It has benefits such as better education, cultural enrichment, and more. The following are the perks of studying abroad:
1. It increases global exposure
Studying abroad enhances and broaden students’ academic horizon. In their home country, they are used to specific teaching styles, but when they study elsewhere, they encounter diverse teaching methods. It not only helps widen their educational experience but also assists in developing the ability to adapt to these environments.
Moreover, it increases their global exposure, which aids them in gaining different perspectives and experiences. This is to say that the students get to improve their learning venture in an abroad setting.
2. Studying abroad teaches the value of independence
Being independent is one of the traits of successful people. Students abroad develop a sense of autonomy that helps them learn more about themselves. It brings them out of their comfort zone while allowing them to gain independence.
They learn to look out for themselves which includes learning local languages to engage in conversation or working part-time to get financially autonomous. They must also learn to cook and eat healthily without burning a hole in their pocket.
3. It brings a change in mindset
Undoubtedly, studying abroad enlarges your perspective on life. It allows you to explore yourselves away from cultural and familial expectations. Most importantly, it exposes you to different cultures including yours.
This helps in developing a greater awareness of the world and learning its complexities. Learning about various cultures increases your appreciation for life. You realize what you take for granted is blessings to others. Furthermore, it allows you to experiment and try new things.
4. It provides better employment opportunities and improves the standard of living
Companies look for human resources that can actively contribute towards progress while keeping up with the changing times. A few skills that they find desirable among candidates are international exposure, language understanding, problem-solving, networking and communication, and adaptability.
Studying abroad provides students with opportunities to grow all these skills, making them more employable. Finally, there is a causal relationship: with better employment opportunities, people can improve their standard of living.
5. It allows you to enhance your network
Abroad studies that include students from different cultures and backgrounds provide a great opportunity to enrich your network. Being a part of diverse social groups allows you to establish a bond with people all around the globe.
You can travel with them and even build connections, which can lead to better career opportunities. This can include internships, job offers, as well as business partnerships. To sum up, you can broaden your network by studying abroad.
Disadvantages of abroad study
After going through the benefits, you might be tempted to explore this opportunity for yourself. But keep in mind, a study abroad is not all rosy—there are a few drawbacks that must be taken into account. The following are some cons of studying abroad:
1. It is expensive
The first and foremost thing that discourages people from studying abroad is high expenses. Since there are a lot of costs involved including tuition, room, utilities, travel expenses, and overall cost of living, studying abroad can get pricey.
Even though there are several factors such as destination and the selected university depending on which the costs greatly vary, it is still considered an unaffordable option by most. Those who manage to get funds need to be extra cautious in managing their expenditure abroad.
2. Abroad study can create communication challenges
Students planning to study abroad prepare themselves in advance. This includes learning foreign languages to communicate. Despite learning about the language prior, the experience of interacting once they arrive at their destination is completely different.
It gets perplexing in the beginning as different words that they are not familiar with are used to describe the same thing. This might make them feel like an outsider sometimes. But this shouldn’t be demoralizing. Instead, it should be perceived as a good learning opportunity.
3. It makes you feel lonely and homesick
There is a bundle of feelings students experience when leaving their homes to study abroad. Among these emotions, not all are pleasant. Irrespective of how happy and independent the international students feel, there are times when they get homesick. This feeling creeps in as they start missing their friends and family back home.
It makes them feel lonely until they find a group to hang out with. Also, the homesickness goes the other way. When you leave another country to go back home, you feel a wave of it again.
4. Studying abroad exposes you to cultural shocks
Even though experiencing cultural diversity is a wonderful learning opportunity, you may run into a cultural shock. Your body and mind need time to adjust to the sudden change in the environment. For some, the cultural change may seem negligible while for others it can be overwhelming.
The cultural background of the student and that of the destination country play an important role too. The greater the variations, the longer it takes to adapt to that culture. Moreover, the constant comparison between abroad and homeland creates further challenges.
5. Experiencing reverse cultural shocks
Cultural shock works both ways. Once students come back to their homeland after studying abroad, they experience reverse cultural shocks. Firstly, international students gain diverse experiences which change them for good. But when they come back, they have to readjust to their environment, which can create great difficulties.
Secondly, there are changes to their homeland too. All these result in struggles in accepting the current situation. Most importantly, things change so expecting everything to be the same will only disappoint them more.