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Advice on Studying Abroad
Those that study abroad generally rave about their experiences - and who is to doubt them. The important thing is why. See our Top 10 reasons below....
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"Students have always gone to study abroad. There's nothing new in this. But recently there does seem to be more of an interest amongst the young."


Ten Great Reasons to Study Abroad

Students have always gone to study abroad, even more so now. An obvious reason for the increase in interest is probably down to the rise in tuition loans which have affected those wishing to study in England.

But this is not the only reason why students may choose to spread their wings and study outside of the UK.
Here we're going to look at the ten great reasons why a student may decide to study elsewhere.


Bright Lights - Big City? How about the US?

1.Develop Your Language Skills

Strangely enough universities in Europe are beginning to offer undergraduate study in English. Study in Germany, Sweden and Holland is beginning to be offered in English as universities on the continent take advantage of England based students looking for a cheaper option.

And whether you like it or not you're bound to develop your language skills. If it you don't, then you've missed one of the most basic advantages of studying abroad in the first place.

2.Culture Vulture?

Of course there are cultural benefits of studying abroad. If your long term careers objective is to work in Europe, e.g. with the European Commission, then to study in Germany or France could be seen as bit of a coup. Both the language and cultural benefits of spending three to four years in Europe are going to be seen as a big plus.

But what about further a field? For example how about study in China? What could be better than immersing yourself in the culture of what is going to be arguably the most dominant nation of the latter part of this century?

3.Got the Travel Bug?

China, America and Australia are vast countries with much to see. Travel across these massive states takes more than a couple of weeks of an annual holiday. Being based in one of these places as an international student is a huge advantage as you will be able to travel further a field outside of term time. And of course many of these countries are an excellent spring board to more travel e.g. Central and South America when studying in the US.

4.Friends and Family - Home from Home

No, not a mobile phone option! Being away from home is difficult enough for many students. So no better option for those determined to study away from the UK than to choose somewhere where the student already has family or close friends. If you already know people in the US, Canada or Australia, or perhaps you have close family in Ireland or continental Europe, how about looking at these countries as a study abroad option?

You can still go away to study knowing that you have the back up of friends or family in the unlikely event anything should go wrong.

5. A Different Style of Study

At university level there are different methods of studying and for many students, this choice is important. For example, in the US, study at degree level is far broader than undergraduate study here in the UK. The study of the Arts is very much integral to overall degree study and students are able to keep their options open far longer and to a much greater extent than their UK counterparts.

See our article from UES London for more on applying to study in the US.

At Maastricht University in Holland students are encouraged to do much of the work themselves by working together posing problems and solving them in groups. This way the student is very much in charge of their own learning - and amongst fellow students from a variety of different nationalities and cultures from across the world. The development and appreciation of these different learning styles can do nothing but benefit a budding international student who is looking for something different.

6.Dry Run for Making A Life Abroad

There are literally hundreds of examples of where experience of studying abroad can have a positive effective on one's career whether your plan is to live in the US, Australia or even China. Having studied there in advance will stand you in good stead.

7.A Career Working Abroad?

This one's a no brainer. If you've studied many employers in the UK will look upon your CV with great interest. They'll be looking at the skills you've developed and potentially the contacts you may have made. For an organisation interested in developing their business abroad, having someone who has been there, knows the culture and even speaks the language, you'll be a great asset - worth your weight in gold.

8.Keeping Study Costs Down

Of course this is a reason, and for many a pretty big one! With tuition fees in England hitting £9000 per year studying somewhere cheaper is a massive pull for many. As mentioned under Language, many institutions in Europe are beginning to offer courses in English.

Even France, the last bastion of anti Anglo Saxon sentiment is flirting with English language based study in order to stabilise its postgraduate base. But beware! Although the courses may be cheaper, you'll still have to find living costs, flights home, medical insurance etc - and you won't have the benefit of a student loan to help pay for it.

9.Gain an International Perspective

It may be you don't have a particular reason to study abroad at all. It may be that you're just interested in a different perspective on or in a particular subject. Your choice doesn't have to be directly career orientated nor anything to do with future plans to live abroad. It could be just be you want something different - something to remember for when you get back to your life back in the UK.

10.Bragging Rights!

Okay - not a formal reason to study abroad - but why not boast to friends and family that you've been there and done that? Whether you intend to utilise your experience or not, the fact is you will have done something few of us ever manage to do - to experience something that is unique and will give you something to discuss down the pub for a good many years to come!

But is Study Abroad even worth it?

Who's to say? Those that study abroad generally rave about their experiences - and who is to doubt them. The important thing is why. It's important that students who choose to study in Europe, the US or elsewhere do so for the right reasons. There has be a definitive reason for doing so, otherwise the expense could prove to be worthless. Some questions to ask ones self include;
  • What are your career objectives?
  • How you do intend to utilise a degree or postgraduate study?
  • How is it going to benefit you in the longer term?
  • What are you going to get from this overseas qualification that you couldn't get from study in the UK?
  • Will this make any difference to your chosen profession?
  • Will this experience enhance you in the eyes of a future employer?

Conclusion

So there you go... Ten Top reasons for studying abroad - and a lot else to think about besides... See our directory of organisations that can help you plan and get the most out of study abroad. Good luck and bon voyage!

Use our list of study abroad agencies to get further information on issues such as student visas, study abroad scholarships and which institutions are the top universities to aim for.

Article on STUDYING ABROAD