If you think that those who choose education abroad discover paradise on Earth, you are mistaken. The life of international students is not a bed of roses. Before making this important decision, you should weigh the different sides of this issue.
Study Abroad: Weighing Pros and Cons
So, let’s be realistic and look at the different aspects of the decision to study overseas from different perspectives:
- Freedom from parents’ control. First, you might be overexcited with the opportunity to do whatever you want. No curfews, no annoying advice and questions about your every step. However, a few weeks (or even days) after your arrival in another country, you will notice that you start missing your dear and near. Yes, Skype with its free video chat can help you (if you parents know how to use a computer), but it will never become a substitute to hugs and family dinners.
- Intercultural experience. Study abroad programs are regarded as the best opportunities for learning a foreign language. They offer full immersion into another culture and continuous communication with native speakers of another language. In turn, this will inevitably teach you a foreign language. However, have in mind that you will need to use a foreign language every time you buy bread in a supermarket. Sure, you will have no choice but to do it and this will basically force you to improve your language skills. However, the language barrier during your acclimatization period can cause you a lot of trouble and psychological stress. All to your surprise, you might discover that people in a foreign country do not speak as slowly and clearly as your school teachers at the language courses did. Do not be discouraged! The acclimatization period won’t last forever.
- Making new friends. Making new friends from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds is great, but you are going to miss the old ones. Only imagine that, for at least several years, you won’t be able to tell somebody “Do you remember that guy from the 6th form?”
- Better employment opportunities. By mentioning your experience of cultural exchanges in your resume, you can enhance your employment opportunities. However, if you study abroad, you may lack acquaintances in your native country that could be valuable for your future employment opportunities and give you a successful start of your career.
- Costs. As a rule, studying abroad is rather expensive. Sure, it can become a truly good investment in your personal and professional development. However, if your parents are going to take a loan that they actually cannot afford themselves just to finance your study abroad, you’d better stop them.
So, now you know that all the advantages of study abroad programs can be viewed from different perspectives. Of course, you should not be discouraged by all these challenges, but you’d better be prepared to face them.