Pros & Cons of Studying Abroad

Studying abroad for a semester or a year seems to be a popular choice among university students. Most people do not have time or money to study abroad during high school, so doing that during university seems like a better option. The idea of living in another country, meeting new people, and experiencing new things sounds like a dream come true. However, like most things in life, there are both good and bad aspects to consider.

Firstly, exploring a new culture is an amazing experience. Not only does living in a foreign country give you insights and perspective on your life at home, but it also helps you broaden your views. Distancing yourself from your everyday life at home helps you see things in a whole new light, and you might even discover new things about yourself. New holidays, experiences and foods are something definitely worth looking forward to! Yet something you should be prepared for is culture shock. You might think that you feel ready to immerse yourself in another culture, but sometimes the degree of change might shock you. Some of the differences might be obvious and reasonable, but some are more subtle and might take time to get used to.

Learning a new language is, without a doubt, one of the best things to gain from a semester abroad. By immersing yourself in a city where the citizens speak another language is the best way to become fluent in that language. Even if you are not studying that particular language, learning it may come in handy later in life. It may take a while, but you would be surprised how fast you pick up on basic vocabulary and slowly you will become almost fluent. However, learning a new language from scratch can be tricky at first. With all the pressure of moving to a new country, learning another language at the same time can be very stressful.

Studying at a new university in a new country means being surrounded by many new people from many different countries. Chances are that you are likely to form new lifelong friendships. The bonds you make and the experiences you have together will be unforgettable. Having friends from all around the globe can also be extremely useful in the future. If you need a place to stay when traveling abroad, chances are you will know someone to stay with! However, if you do not consider yourself to be a very outgoing person, living miles away from your friends and family can be hard. Studying abroad can be a very isolating experience if you are not a people person and do not make friends easily. Therefore, it is very important to be able to put yourself out there and make an effort to make friends, join clubs, and initiate conversations. If you feel like you are not capable of committing like that, maybe studying abroad is not for you.

Something worth considering is the application process and the living costs. The application process is generally a year before starting your studies abroad. Balancing your schoolwork, writing application letters, sorting out important things such as insurance and funds can feel like a lot. Even if the university exchange programs cover the tuition fees, there are still many things to consider, such as flights, accommodations and other expenses. Chances are that general living costs might also be higher, and therefore budgeting and saving up is crucial. However, most universities offer services that help you with the application process and guide you on applying for financial aid. Also worth considering is planning out how studying abroad for a semester or even a year will affect your studies.

Overall, there are many reasons why studying abroad can be wonderful. Taking this step to gain more independence and experience new things can be an amazing opportunity. There are many things to take into account, such as those listed here. Every person is different, so not everyone is suited for studying abroad. But it is definitely worth considering!