How to Decide Where Or if You Should Study Abroad

College is an exciting time for most young adults. It’s filled with new experiences and opportunities you may not have had if you didn’t go to school. There are also a lot of big decisions to make regarding your future.

One of those decisions might include taking the opportunity to study abroad.

Leaving the country to study somewhere else isn’t a choice to make lightly. Before making your final decision, we have a few things for you to consider about whether studying abroad is really for you.

And if the answer is yes — where should you go?

Want to Try Studying Abroad? Consider These 5 Things First

Things to Consider Before Studying Abroad

Don’t go signing onto anything yet.

You might have a pretty good idea whether you want to study abroad already, but it pays to give the decision a little extra thought. Whether you think you’ll go or you’d prefer to stay at home, there’s still a chance you could change your mind.

Your Financial Situation

We never like to think about it, but money plays a massive role in your ability to go overseas and stay there long enough to get anything out of it.

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While it’s possible to fund your study abroad with financial aid, this isn’t the case for everyone.

You need to look at all the costs associated with studying in another country, including:

  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Fun

Regardless of how you’re paying for your program, make sure you make a budget and follow it to keep the cost manageable!

Your Comfort Level

Just take a second and consider how it will feel traveling thousands of miles away from everything familiar to study in a foreign country.

For some people, it’s an exciting opportunity. Despite being away from family and friends for a while, you have the chance to push yourself to new places. Yet, for others, it may be too much to handle.

Talk to your support system and look within yourself and make sure studying abroad is truly right for you.

Your Options

There’s not just one way to study abroad, and you should be aware of all your options. This includes how long you want to stay abroad and what kind of program you want to enroll in.

Studying abroad doesn’t just mean spending a semester at a college overseas.

You can take a short trip and fill it with a few classes while you’re there. You can spend an entire gap year studying in another country. Or you can take no classes and learn through experience instead.

What you do is up to you, so make sure you know exactly what options you have before making your final decision.

The Benefits of Studying Abroad

Are you undecided about studying abroad because you’re unsure what it will actually do for your future?

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Put your worries to bed!

There are more than enough benefits of studying abroad to make it worth the money and travel it requires. Just look at these four incredible things you can gain from your study abroad experience.

Broaden Your Horizons

This is the opportunity of a lifetime to experience all sorts of new things.

You will see new places, meet interesting people, and learn things even outside your classes. Immersing yourself in another culture opens your eyes to things you never even imagined before.

Studying abroad gives you a greater understanding of the world and its people to carry into adult life.

Build an Amazing Network

Whether you’re making friends, learning from incredible teachers, or meeting experienced professionals, you’re creating an invaluable network — one that stretches across the globe.

If you ever fall in love and decide to take a job in the country you traveled to, you’ll already have connections to reach out to!

Open up Career Opportunities

The career benefits of studying abroad deserve a category all on their own.

Here are a few things you can look forward to gaining for your future career during your time in another country:

  • Unique Things to Add to Your Resume
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Language and Communication Skills
  • A Large Network
  • Career Training

Foster Your Independence

Spending time by yourself away from friends and family in a new place gives you the chance to learn to be on your own.

Few things teach you how to become your own person like stepping into the unknown. Studying abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone, and the lessons that come along with it are irreplaceable.

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Pick Where You Want to Study

Now you know that you want to study abroad, so it’s time to pick a country. This is an easy choice for some but a difficult task for others.

Here are a few things to consider while you’re making your choice:

  • Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go?
  • How much does it cost to go to a particular place?
  • Is there a university there that offers your desired degree?

Before sealing the deal, check out real-life stories of others that studied abroad where you want to go. It may open your eyes to the reality of staying in your preferred country even more.

Study Somewhere That’s Convenient

One path to studying abroad is choosing a place that is easy for you to visit. Pick a place that won’t stress you out by putting a bunch of hurdles in your path.

There are a few ways to find a convenient study abroad program.

Universities Tied to Your University

Often, colleges will have connections with universities overseas. They have already agreed to work together. (Which means you don’t have to worry about the work you do in the other country not counting toward your degree.)

Talk to an advisor about your options — it may surprise you to learn the places you can reach!

The Most Affordable Countries

If money is the deciding factor as you look at different places, you’ll want to consider the cost of studying in one country vs. another.

The most affordable countries to study abroad aren’t any less exciting than countries that cost a pretty penny. You can still spend a semester in France, Taiwan, or Malaysia, and you don’t have to break the bank doing it.

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English Speaking Countries

Of course, when you think about convenience, language has to come into play.

Not interested in studying a foreign language? Won’t be abroad long enough for it to matter?

Then, you might want to consider settling in a country that’s well-suited for English speakers. It’ll make it easier for you to get your studying done!

Study Somewhere That You’re Passionate About

On the other side of the coin, you might be okay with sacrificing convenience if it means traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. If passion is what you’re all about, you have to consider following your heart.

If you’re lucky, you might find a country that fits both categories!

Choose a Country Based on Your Major

Do you adore what you’re studying?

Not every study abroad program offers the same subjects. You might find that a country you wanted to go to doesn’t have the right classes for you, and that just won’t do.

Look into programs that fit your major, and the place will fall into line.

Choose a Country Based on the Language

If there’s a language you’ve always wanted to learn to speak, that makes your choice a lot easier. Choosing a study abroad program based on the language spoken there is a valid choice.

Foreign languages look fabulous on a resume!

Choose a Country Connected to Your Heritage

For some people, ties to their bloodlines are stronger than anything else.

Maybe there’s a country you’ve always wanted to visit because it’s where your family was originally from. You can always take the chance to explore while you’re there and learn more about your heritage.

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Conclusion

Studying abroad is an excellent way for you to grow professionally, personally, and academically. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you!

What’s important is that you’re honest with yourself when making such a big decision, so you don’t end up regretting anything.

We can’t decide for you, but we sincerely hope this article gives you some help in choosing where or if you should study abroad. In the end, you know what’s best for your future.

Author

Karen Lein is the General Manager of Grove at San Marcos. She is a Fresno State alumna and enjoys traveling and watching football. #GoDogs

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