There are many full time scholarships for international students so it’s only natural that you may consider seizing these and travelling to study. Deciding if you should study and live abroad is an entirely personal decision. However these pros and cons will help you discover if it’s the right choice for you.
Weighing Up The Pros and Cons Of Studying and Living Abroad
Like anything in life there’s going to be pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. Choosing to study abroad is no different. But to understand if it’s the right choice for you consider weighing up your options before making your decision.
Pro: Meeting New, International Friends
Moving from your home country to a new country to study brings with it it’s own opportunities and adventure. One of these opportunities would be meeting new people. When you’re abroad you can make new friends, that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Other students (and even neighbours) that you have things in common with. These would become your international buddies that you can remain in contact with when you move back home. They’ll also make your study abroad experience worthwhile as they’re different from what you would be accustomed to in your home country. Not only that but they’ll help you settle in.
Con: Missing Your Friends Back Home
But what about your friends back home? While you’re abroad you won’t be able to interact with them like you did before. Your communication would probably be limited to Facebook, Whatsapp and phone calls. You may even see the stuff they’re posting on social media and start feeling like you’ve missed out. You won’t only be missing your friends you’ll miss your family as well.
Pro: Learning A New Language Through Immersion
Being in a new country means you’ll have to learn a new language. What you know and are familiar with in your own country will all change. You won’t be able to speak in your native language anymore as no one is likely to understand what you’re saying. This means you’ll have to become adept in a foreign language which will undoubtedly improve your career chances and appeal later in life. You’ll also become a pro learning a new language and can use the skills you were taught while abroad to learn other languages faster.
Con: Being Unable To Speak A New Language Fast Enough
Even though you’re learning while studying abroad or even if you have learnt before being in a foreign country means you’ll seldomly be able to speak your own language, and will be required to speak this new language (with fluency) immediately. You’ll be around native speakers 24/7 who might not remember to fill in you in on what they’re saying when you don’t understand. You’ll also notice that the street signs, billboards, books, magazines, newspapers, television shows, radio programmes and everything else you can imagine will all be in this new language. Being able to speak a few tourist words won’t cut it- you’ll need to have a good grasp of this language.
Pro: Experience A New (Often Diverse) Culture
Now that you’re in this other country you’ll notice how everything differs to your own country. This is lovely, intriguing and down right exciting. New cultures allow you to understand other people, how they think, what they feel and how they identify with the world. These are things that you’ll grow to appreciate. Even if it’s a simple train or bus ride- being in another country means everything will be different and you’ll get a front row seat to experiencing it all.
Con: Experiencing Culture Shock
But you don’t understand what all of this means. You’re the odd one out and you’re seriously out of your comfort zone. Your new friends all love their local cuisine, their local hangouts and they know everything there is to know about their own country. Sometimes while you’re abroad they may even have cuisine you’re familiar with but it doesn’t taste the same… Now you realise you’re experiencing culture shock, because the culture is so different from your own it makes it truly hard to understand it all.
Pro: Becoming Truly Independent
Leaving your family and friends behind to make yourself at home in a host country is a great time to find yourself, develop your skills and become truly independent. To add to your experience you could decide to volunteer abroad or find paid work abroad to help with your studies. Finding out your own strengths and capabilities and being able to forge your own way in life is the reason why many grad school and high school students look for opportunities to travel.
Con: Having To Do Things For Yourself
You can’t rely on your friends, relatives or parents anymore for the things you’re used to. You have to do everything for yourself. As a university student you’ll have to pay your own bills, clean your own laundry, wash your own dishes, cook your own food and all the other mundane chores. You’ll also have to find time to study. If you haven’t received any financial aid you may decide to look for work opportunities abroad.
Additional Pros To Studying And Living Abroad
Pro: A New Educational Experience
You’ll be able to attend a new college or university that is home to other international students. Many universities and learning institutions have a study abroad programme. Studying abroad also opens up other doors in your personal and professional life. You could even end up deciding to volunteer abroad or partake in an internship abroad.
Pro: Becoming an International Citizen
Living and studying abroad means you’ll have two homes. The home you make for yourself in your new country and the home you have in your native country. You’ll also have learnt to speak a new language, learnt about many different cultures and you’ll know what life outside your country is like. You’ll be able to appreciate your home countries quirks but you’ll also have knowledge about how other countries do things and where your home country can improve. Navigating through the world will also become easier, you won’t be afraid to try new things anymore, nor will you find travelling daunting. You probably will be able to make friends alot easier since you had to overcome some degree of shyness while abroad.
Pro: Lifelong Memories
Your study abroad experience will always be etched in your memory. Some students find returning home can be really difficult once they’ve been in another country. When you’re done studying abroad you’ll have gathered so much life experience, knowledge and an understanding of yourself, not to mention all the friends you’ve made. When (or if) you do go back home you’ll cherish all these memories and think of them fondly.
You’re alone in a new country, with different people. The amount of new experiences and adventures that await are immeasurable. Not knowing the country and the people will actually work to your advantage because you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a new way of living. You can explore the country and go to local landmarks, taking pictures and making memories as you go along. It’s why many other international students choose to study abroad.
How To Make The Move Easier
Now that you understand the pros and cons, you can weigh up your options. As you will have noticed the pros outweigh the cons so it really isn’t that hard to make your decision. But before you dive right in there are things you can do to ensure your move abroad is filled with loads of fun and good vibes.
Arrive before your school term begins: Arriving beforehand is an excellent way to become acquainted with your new home. Find your academic advisor and become familiar with your university or learning institution.
Practice the language: Before you venture to a foreign country you should dedicate as much time to practicing the new language so you’re not completely flabbergasted or overwhelmed when you arrive.
Make time for your friends: When you’re leaving home make time for your friends before you go. Schedule times when you’ll call and check in on them and they’ll do the same for you. If you can ask them to visit you while you’re abroad, or drop you off at the airport. In your first few weeks abroad you’ll appreciate this time.
TEFL Opportunities For English Speakers
But what if you aren’t an international student or you can’t afford the cost of travelling abroad? The great thing is you still have many options. So, if you want that travel abroad experience as an English speaker the TEFL is for you. You’ll be able to travel and teach English abroad affording you the opportunity to experience all of the pros we’ve just mentioned. There are many teaching English abroad courses at your disposal. Our own TEFL course may interest you. This course gives you access to an international English teaching certificate and will open the door for English teaching jobs and other English jobs abroad.