The myth of going abroad, isn’t it almost a cliché? A large proportion of students who finish secondary school in Europe dreams to broaden their horizon by going abroad. Getting to know new cultures and ways of thinking, finding themselves and bonding with people who will stay your friends for the rest of your life. These students have great aims and goals and for those who really do it, those who don’t just keep on dreaming but accept the challenge, an experience begins that they will never forget.
Obviously not everyone decides to do such a study trip. There are numerous cons that put off a large number of people from the idea of studying abroad but there are at least just as many good pros about it.
So, which are the Pros and Cons of studying abroad?
It broadens your horizon. Is it not exactly the daily routine that most of us would like to change, to have something else in your life, better than the same procedure every day. You may live in a country where people are quite conservative and you especially as a young person might feel somewhat bored, even caught in a cage. You might think that no one wants to hear your ideas and that your views on some current topics fall on deaf ears among those around you. Studying abroad can give you exactly what you are looking for. No matter where you are eventually going to study, you will meet people that have the same ideas and who left their country for the same reason you did. People from all over the world, and if I say all over the world, I really mean it. Cultures and languages, beautiful faces and so much fun.
Living in another country will help you to become mature. Looking for a flat, organising your budget, sticking to a timetable and living away from your family and friends. These are all factors that help you to get to know yourself better and from a totally different point of view. While at home you could always count on your parents if something did not work the way you imagined it to be, you would just call on them and just like with a magic wand all problems were solved. On your own you need to learn to plan ahead. It already starts when you choose your country and university of destination and all the paper work that comes with that. Don’t underestimate it, but once you did a few forms you should really be able to fill in any form that you might have to deal with later in your life. Of course your language skills will improve considerably because you don’t have any other choice then to open up your mouth and tell people what you want. You might not believe it now but after some weeks you will start dreaming in the foreign language. Other than that it is ever so funny to listen to all the different accents and voices of the natives.
Furthermore, during your course of study you will acquire skills and knowledge that you will be using in the future. And always keep one thing in mind. How many people you know have decided to go abroad after they have finished school? This experience is what will make you the interesting person. The one that everyone wants to talk to once you will be back home in your home country. You will be able to tell stories from real life experience and not only talk about trivial things and the weather. Experience that will enrich your life and even though you might struggle at times, you will get back on both feet every time. And when you have reached the end of your stay abroad you can proudly say that you did it and no one will ever be able to take this away from you.
We have seen many different important positive points of studying abroad, but not everything that shines is gold.
For example, it can happen that some people simply have a hard time fitting in. Depending on which country is hosting the foreign student, the cultural shock can be too much to handle for him or her and the candidate will dislike the given opportunity.
Let us admit it, travelling and living abroad is the dream of many of our youngsters, but are all of them ready for this? I am afraid they are not. Some people, indeed, suffer from a problem called “homesickness”. What does it mean? To put it simply, that this person misses his home to the point of not being able to appreciate anything.
Speaking of sickness, what happens when you are studying abroad and you get sick? Depending a lot on the country where you are studying, this can be problematic. I personally fell sick travelling and ended up in a hospital in Cambodia. Don’t get me wrong, it was an international hospital and the doctors where prepared and competent. So the problem is not (usually) the skills of the doctors in a specific nation, but the agreements between the countries themselves. If there is none, the medical bill will be covered by the patient, resulting in a huge amount to pay.
This brings up another problem which could occur while studying abroad: the expenses. Studying in your own country, generally speaking, is less expensive than going abroad. Excluding the cost of transportation, which although are still a great expense to take into consideration, we must not underestimate the rent for accommodation (unless your family have a property in that country. If that is so, you can light-heartedly skip this paragraph!), grocery shopping, health insurance (to not find yourself in a position as mentioned above), tax and more.
What are your thoughts on going abroad? Or have you already made such an experience? Feel free to share it with us in the comment section.
Authors: Thomas Koeck and Stefano Demichelis