College brings a great deal of opportunities and one of them is studying abroad. Some students do their entire career abroad choosing universities that may be better than the ones at home. Others have the opportunity to do a semester or two in a different country, getting a taste of what other colleges are like. Whatever option you choose, there are certain things to take into consideration. Here are a few tips to help you make that choice:
Pros of Studying Your Major Abroad
If you are looking into moving to another country for college, it means you have done your research. You know that other colleges out there offer a better program for the kind of major you want to study. That is probably one of the biggest reasons why you want to move. Studying abroad offers you the chance to attend a university you know is better for you; to study with well-known teachers; to have a bigger network that will help you achieve your goals; to have access to more scholarship opportunities; to move somewhere new, experience a different culture, and meet new people. Studying abroad can be great for your future.
Cons of Studying Your Major Abroad
Even though it can be a great opportunity, you have to think about the less happy and exciting side. Living and studying in another country can become really expensive and, sometimes, the student permits do not allow you to work therefore it is hard to have a steady income. In some countries, it may be hard to find safe housing or even affordable. And —probably the most sentimental con— you have a big chance of becoming homesick; missing your family and friends will happen, and you may not know when you will see them again. Studying abroad is exciting but you have to be ready to face the challenges it presents.
Pros of Studying a Semester Abroad
Many colleges give their students the opportunity to do one or two semesters abroad in a partner university. Students have the amazing opportunity to choose a university of their liking in a country they have always wanted to visit. By choosing this option, you are able to experience life in another country, broaden your horizons and add knowledge to your major, combine teachers with different ideals and experiences, expand your network, meet new people and experience a different culture. If you have the chance, you should study a semester abroad and see what you are capable of.
Cons of Studying a Semester Abroad
There are a few fears when it comes to doing a semester abroad, and you should think about them. Depending on your college, classes, and teachers, you might fall behind when you get back; this is something you should previously discuss with your advisor. You might not get used to how different classes are in this new university. Additionally, life in that country could be more expensive and you might go over your budget. Housing for students might be full and you would have to find a room on your own. You may also find it difficult to leave your support system, and finding one in this new place could be challenging. These are valid fears and you should think about whether or not you are strong enough to face them on your own.
Whether choosing to study your major abroad or only doing a semester, the decision is a tough one. You will be faced with many challenges and struggles that you need to figure out —mostly— on your own. You have to be strong enough to do life by yourself. Once you have given that enough thought, you will be ready to make a decision. In my opinion, either one of these opportunities is a unique, life-changing experience. If you are able to and you feel ready for it, I highly recommend studying abroad. It is an opportunity that —for better or for worse— will test you and help you grow.
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