STUDENT LIFE / AUG. 30, 2014
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How to Decide Whether or Not to Study Abroad

Many college students dream of being able to study abroad. Not only can they graduate with their fancy college degree, but they can explore a whole new country while doing so!

There are a lot of pros to studying abroad, but the cons are many as well. It’s important that you carefully consider your options before making the big decision, and the advice below will help you make the right choice…

Why Are You Studying Abroad?

What’s the reason for studying abroad? Is it just to be someplace else, or do you want to explore and learn about a new country? Are you studying abroad for specific work/job experience, or is the purpose just to enjoy your college years a bit more?

Think about the real reasons you’re studying abroad. If your goal is to further your career with the right work experience, it’s probably worth it. If your goal is to have fun, you may be making the wrong choice for the wrong reasons.

Consider the Pros and Cons

Before you make the big choice, write out a list of all the pros and cons to studying abroad.

Pros:

  • Experiencing a brand new country
  • (Possibly) Learning a new language
  • Getting an academic degree from a more prestigious university
  • Increasing academic credits by working or volunteering abroad
  • The pool of scholarships for studying abroad is much smaller than for local or national scholarships

Cons:

  • You are in a completely new country where you are far from family and friends
  • The cost of studying abroad is MUCH higher--both in terms of academic costs and cost of living
  • You may not be able to work while studying abroad
  • Applying to study abroad is much more time-consuming and complex
  • There is limited financial aid for students studying abroad

As you can see, there are both pros and cons, and you need to look over the list above to help you make the big decision.

Don’t Miss Out on the Full Opportunity

If you are going to study abroad, you need to realize that this is a chance to do so much more than just study. You can learn about a brand new culture, explore a country you may never have been able to otherwise, meet new people, expand your network beyond just your city and university, and gain work and life experience that you wouldn’t be able to get at home.

If you are going to study abroad just for the sake of being able to party, you’re going to miss out on one of the best parts of studying overseas. You need to make the most of this opportunity, and you can only do so by dedicating yourself to actually studying properly. Don’t let the college experience draw you away from your studies, but invest your time and effort into being the best student you can be.

There will be lots of opportunities to try new things and go new places, but you can’t let these distractions stop you from succeeding in your overseas studies. Plan out what you want to accomplish while studying abroad, and take the steps to reach those goals. Work hard, put in the hours, and enjoy the experience that will come your way thanks to your international studies.

 

Image Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

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