5 Signs You'd Be Well-Suited to Going to College Abroad

The idea of attending college outside of the country you were born and raised in might seem scary at first, but for many, doing so can be a fantastic learning experience. Not to mention, in certain countries, it can be extremely cost-effective. So if you’re up for it and can relate to most of the following, pay a visit to your school’s guidance counselor ASAP!

1. You want to be immersed in a different culture

If you’ve always been curious about the way people outside of the U.S. live, there’s no better way to find out than by immersing yourself into a new culture.

Stacie Berdan, an international careers expert, says doing so is not only beneficial on a personal level, but it might make you stand out after graduation.

“Globalization is everywhere, and in our interconnected world, the ability to understand other cultures, languages, economies and systems of government remains a distinct advantage across all types of industries,” she says. “The best and fastest way to develop a global mindset is to spend [a] significant amount of time living, studying and working in another country.”

2. You want to graduate with little to no debt

According to Berdan, cost savings—and the possibility of little-to-no debt—is one of the greatest benefits of attending college abroad. While you might be thinking “Well, who wouldn’t want that?”, it’s not exactly that easy. Be prepared to do your research. In addition to talking to your school's guidance counselor, visit websites like Best Colleges and start reading up! 

That being said, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a low-cost study abroad program. Keep in mind, though—even in countries with relatively low college tuition, the cost of living may still be high. Make sure that you’ll be able to afford big things like housing and smaller, everyday expenses like groceries.  

Related: 9 Mistakes to Avoid When You Study Abroad

3. You don’t get homesick easily

It should go without saying, but if you are dreaming of attending college in an entirely different country, you need to be okay with the fact that you won’t see your family and friends from home that often.

Andrea Morales Avila, a senior at New Mexico State University, said this was the greatest drawback she faced while being abroad. “I was homesick for some time because everything is so different that it does take a while to get used to it,” she says.

If you get lonely easily, Berdan says you might reconsider attending college abroad. “The negatives can be loneliness; living abroad is not only glamorous, it's difficult, too,” she says. “You are far from your family and friends, and things are different than you're used to, including the school system.” If you’re pretty independent and don’t mind being on your own, though, you’re in much better shape.

4. You want to learn outside of the classroom

Maybe your classes in high school weren’t where you did most of your learning. When you attend college abroad, you’re picking up on new things every second of the day.

“Learning another language and exploring another culture through day-to-day living as well as in-depth study in politics, history, art or literature immerses the student in a way that enhances the undergraduate degree,” Berdan says. It’s safe to say you’ll graduate with much more than a piece of paper.

5. You want to graduate in less than four years

According to Berdan, many undergraduate degrees in other countries only take three years to complete. If you want to graduate early, yet you’re not sure you’ll be able to if attending a college in the U.S., this could be a great option to consider.

In addition to saving time and money, Berdan says graduating early from a university abroad is a great way to jumpstart a global career. “If a student is interested in working internationally, having studied and perhaps done internships in that country fast-track the possibilities,” she says. “Making friends, traveling in a new country and increasing one's independence are also significant benefits.”

Do any of these sound applicable to you? If so, start researching now. You’ll want to understand the requirements and admissions process—but for starters, you’ll need to pick which country you want to study in!