While many college students decide to pursue studies abroad for one semester or a full year, it is becoming more common for them to earn their degrees outside of the country. Attending an international school provides educational opportunities and cultural experiences that you won’t get in the UK, but it also can present some challenges. Is attending an international school the correct choice for you? Here are a few pros and cons that will help you decide.
Pro: More Study Options
If you want to major in art history, what could be a better place than Italy to earn your degree? If you attend an international school, you’ll get the opportunity to become proficient in another language, immerse yourself in a new culture outside of your classroom that will generally give your educational opportunity a special quality. When you get your degree internationally, you’ll deepen your studies in a manner that only spending a semester abroad cannot possibly duplicate.
Con: Uncertain Plans After Graduation
If you decide to earn a degree abroad, finding your first job after graduation can be more complicated. If you wish to remain in the country where you’ve been studying, you will have to meet the country’s residency and work requirements as soon as your full-time studies end. Also, if you want to return to the UK to work, you may have fewer personal connections to help you secure your first job than your peers who remained in the UK. If you are looking for employment in a specialised field, it’s crucial that the degree you earned abroad meets the requirements for working in that field when you return home.
Pro: New Experiences
In general, going to college at home will broaden your horizons, but getting your degree abroad will heighten the new experiences you’ll enjoy. Frequently, attending an international school will give you opportunities to travel to neighbouring countries both for attending courses and taking advantage of scheduled breaks between semesters. In addition, attending college abroad ensures that you’ll get to study and make friends with students from other countries. If you value diversity in your educational setting, studying abroad is an excellent choice.
Studying abroad is a major change in lifestyle. You’ll be located far away from your friends and family and will be adjusting to studying in a country where the culture, language and social norms could be quite different from what you grew up with. An international school can be a fun place that provides a lot of exciting experiences, but for some, adjusting to a new environment can be difficult. There’s a big difference between thinking that a foreign city would be a nice place to visit or would be a nice place to spend four or more years of your life, so be sure to take that into consideration.
Pro: Possible Lower Tuition Costs
Tuition costs at many international schools are less expensive than in the UK, and there are often at least partial scholarships available for foreign students. If you’ve already decided on your field of study, studying abroad may let you attend a highly ranked educational program and save some money in the process. Places such as Italy, Germany and Sweden offer lower tuition costs and living expenses, especially when compared to the UK.
Con: You Still Could Be Out of Pocket
While tuition costs may be cheaper at an international school, it’s going to be much more difficult to get a part-time job to help pay for tuition if you need to. Many countries will not allow you to work for wages if you’ve entered on a student visa, and you could find yourself in legal trouble if you try to break the rules. In addition, you need to consider the cost of travel to and from the UK during the time you’re studying abroad.
Moving abroad to study will give you independence. It’s a big step in self-sufficiency that will require you to find a place to live and settle into an environment that is totally unfamiliar. The experience will give you the skills you’ll need for all your future major moves and will make them seem much less daunting.
If you’re thinking of studying abroad but haven’t decided on your destination, we’ve put together a list of some of the best countries for getting a great education overseas, here.
We also have lots of other resources on studying abroad that you can find here.