Home or Abroad? What to Consider Before Choosing the Right University
Choosing the Right University
Choosing the right university is a hard-enough task when you set your sights locally. But what if you’re also considering studying abroad? While thousands of students already study abroad in institutions such as international schools in China through their teenage years, the added considerations will make even the most steadfast student suffer an enormous amount of stress.
So…why don’t we just chill right out for a minute?!
The choice of the right university and the choice to study abroad are actually two quite distinct matters, so it’s important to explore the pros and cons of the location before you can even start to consider choosing the right university.
Bursting out of your comfort zone isn’t as scary as you think
Choosing a university close to home has innumerable benefits, including the fact that you can keep your precious comfort zone intact. The main drawback, though? Well, you will keep your comfort zone intact!
Evolving into an independent, resilient, and well-rounded adult is made that much easier when you’re taken out of your usual, safe and predictable environment and thrown into a new, amazing, yet slightly scary one. Studying abroad means you’ll be effectively choosing to deal with all your issues on your own, and this can be an immensely powerful tool to develop brand-new skills you didn’t even know you needed in life. And you will.
Ask anyone who chose to study away from home, and they’ll likely tell you that it was a life-changing decision you will never, ever regret.
Having said that, studying abroad is not the right call for everyone.
Here are some considerations you ought to keep in mind.
The Priority – Academic prowess deserves a LOT of consideration
A university’s standing in a specific field is a huge consideration, and, for many, it’s what they base their eventual decision on. If the best university for studying X is in Shanghai, for example, and your lifelong dream is to build a career in that specific field, then it’s really a no-brainer.
Conversely, if you happen to live next door to a world-class university that offers a degree in precisely the field you seek, then it makes less sense to study abroad, right?
Study Abroad – It will get progressively harder to live abroad the older you get. Do it now!
If your secret Santa wish is to spend a year (or 3) living abroad and experiencing a new country and culture, learning a new language, and exploring a totally different continent for a while, choosing to go to university in another country may just give you a very convenient 2-in-1 option. It does get harder to squeeze in a living-abroad experience as you get older, especially if you’re looking at a considerable college debt that you’ll be needing to pay off in just a few years.
Never mind the fact that, before you know it, you’ll be in a full-time job, perhaps married and with a child or two. Extricating yourself from a well-established life is seriously hard work, so taking advantage of a university-abroad experience makes sense if you’ve curious about traveling.
And you never know, it may just alter the course of your life!
Study at Home – You may not have a chance to ‘try out’ your major
In some countries, like the U.S.A., students don’t need to decide their major as soon as they enroll in college – usually, they will have at least a year before they lock into a specific field. Not so abroad. In most countries, the decision is made immediately.
That’s a huge pro for the study-at-home option if you’re not yet sure of your exact university path.
Study Abroad – It might be cheaper to study abroad
It might seem crazy and counterintuitive, but it’s true: some countries offer world-class university degrees at a fraction of what you’d pay at home. Obviously, that depends on where you live, but you get the idea. Unless your close-to-home option allows you to live at home with your family (avoiding exorbitant boarding fees) and spend very little on transport and entertainment, you may actually be financially better off attending a university in another country.
This is especially true if you hail from the U.S.A., where college prices are continuously rising.
Study at Home – That foreign degree may not be recognized back home
This matters in very few and specific instances like, say, law, medicine, or nursing.
Before making a final decision, and after having selected a few abroad options, do some research to ensure the foreign degree (s) would be recognized back home.
Study Abroad – That foreign degree may boost your CV back home
If your field of interest is in political science, international business, and international relations, a shiny new degree from outside your home country will bump up your resume to the top of a potential new employer’s pile.
Studying at university abroad is an extraordinary chance to experience life from a totally new perspective. You’ll be exposed to a new culture and way of life and will likely make friends from every corner of the globe. To a global-thinking student, the allure is impossible to resist.
You just need to decide if it’s the right decision for you.