Since completing university, Paul has worked as a librarian, teacher, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he currently lives in Florida.
The idea of studying abroad can seem like a fabulous opportunity, but there are also plenty of potential challenges: practical, financial, and psychological.
As a British person who has experienced other European countries and now lives in the USA, I can certainly testify that living away from your home country can be difficult at times.
I wouldn’t wish to put anyone off, though, as experiencing other countries is usually rewarding and life enriching. You can also pick up some practical skills too, such as learning a new language.
Below are the main advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad.
Benefits of Studying Abroad
- Life’s an adventure. Living abroad can be great fun and it broadens your perspective on life – there are new friends to make, new experiences to have, plus you’ll always have lots of stories to tell to the folks back home.
- You can learn another language and immersing yourself in a place where they speak another tongue is the only good way to become fluent. Even if you are not studying that particular language on your study course, it may well come in useful later when you are seeking employment, or in your personal life.
- You can explore another culture. They say that travel broadens the mind and finding out about other cultures can be fascinating. It can also give you insights and perspective on your home culture.
- You may have better study opportunities abroad than you do at home. You may be able to do a course that you couldn’t do in your home country, or be able to study at a college or university that specializes in your chosen area of study.
- Mentioning that you have studied abroad can look very good to potential employers when it comes to applying for jobs. The fact that you have lived and studied abroad shows that you possess valuable workplace qualities such as independence, initiative, and resilience. It also shows that you are not afraid of a challenge and that you can be adaptable if the circumstances demand it.
Downsides of Studying Abroad
- You may experience language problems if you are studying in a place where they speak a different language to your native one. Learning a new language can be tougher than you think, especially if you need to understand it thoroughly enough to complete an educational course that is conducted in it (plus it can make the process of gaining new friends and social networking more difficult).
- You may well experience culture shock. Even if you have researched it extensively and think you know a country, you will find lots of things are very different when you actually live there. Some of the differences might be practical and obvious, but others might be more subtle – there are likely to be social and psychological differences in how people relate to each other and behave, for instance.
- You may find yourself feeling alone and without any of the social and emotional support from relatives and old friends that you might normally take for granted back in your home country. Making and developing friendships takes time and it can be more difficult in a culture that you are not used to.
- There are likely to be increased costs involved with studying abroad – both with the expense of your education and with everyday living. Language and cultural differences can sometimes make finding part-time work more difficult. Financial pressures can undermine your overall enjoyment of an experience if you are not careful.
What is the Definition of Studying Abroad?
The term "studying abroad" typically refers to a program run by an educational establishment, such as a university, which enables a student to live in a foreign country while studying at a foreign place of learning. Study periods can be as short as a single semester, or as long as a year or more. As well as learning from their course, the student also develops through immersing themselves in the surrounding and initially unfamiliar culture and environment.
How Much Spending Money Do I Need to Study Abroad?
This depends on the cost of living in the host country, as well as how luxuriously or frugally you wish to live there. However, assuming that you've already taken into account the study fees for your chosen course, you will also need money for:
- Food and clothing
- Linen, sheets, pillow cases, bathroom products, and other everyday items
- Domestic expenses, such as utilities, phone connection and internet
- Any study related costs, such as laptop, books, files and folders
- Transport to and from college
- Health care
- Travel to and from your home country to the host country at the start and end of course, as well as during holidays if it's a long course
Tips For Studying Abroad
Be prepared to:
- Learn as much as you can about your host country before you commit/arrive.
- Learn the language and culture of your host country while you're living there.
- Go out of your comfort zone at times and be open to new experiences.
- Be prepared to do things on your own, or with people from the local culture when abroad, rather than just sticking with people from your home country all the time.
- Treat the experience as an adventure - don't forget to enjoy yourself!
10 Quotes About Studying Abroad
- “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ― Henry Miller
- “Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone” – Wendell Berry
- “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” – Aldous Huxley
- “Coming back is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett
- “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” — Geoffrey Willans
- “Change your language and you change your thoughts” – Karl Albrecht
- “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine
- “I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a large scale” – Scott Fitzgerald
- “Not all classrooms have four walls” – Unknown
What is the Best Place to Study Abroad?
Below is a list of the top 10 QS Best Student Cities 2019. A variety of indicators are considered, including desirability and affordability, in order to rank the best places in the world to be a student.
- London, United Kingdom
- Tokyo, Japan
- Melbourne, Australia
- Munich, Germany
- Berlin, Germany
- Montreal, Canada
- Paris, France
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Sydney, Australia
- Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong SAR, and Seoul, Korea tied for tenth place.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: What are the disadvantages of studying abroad?
Answer: Language can be problematic. Living in another culture can be a challenge too. Psychological pressures such as homesickness and loneliness can affect one's work as well as cause misery. In many cases it can work out to be a lot more expensive studying abroad. Differences in education may mean that you find yourself on a course that is either far too easy, or far too difficult.
Question: What are the problems faced by a country if someone goes to study abroad?
Answer: The primary problem is that the person will continue to live abroad after completing their studies, not bringing their newly acquired education and expertise back to the country they left.
Question: What is the best age for a girl to travel abroad?
Answer: That depends on a number of factors, which include: the personality and maturity of the girl, the safety of the country visited, language abilities and cultural considerations. Some young women may be ready to travel at the age of 18, for others it may be in their mid-twenties, a minority may be uncomfortable with travel under any circumstances.
© 2012 Paul Goodman
SUBHENDU BARAL on February 09, 2020:
Studying abroad is a good thing... But we have to utilize this knowledge in our origin country and work for our own country Thankyou fro this article. I am from https://www.studyqna.com/
anoir on October 21, 2019:
well, although have never travelled abroad, think that it must be so exciting. the best thing is see things differently and experience new life styles
haseeb on July 12, 2019:
thanks alot for helping me with this.
Doschanovatolganay@mail.ru on December 24, 2018:
My opinion it helps us more encourage. It is very interesting and helpful. I always wish I entered abroad university. There are a lot of beautiful building and I want to eat abroad meals especially pasta and Chinese food❤❤❤❤
Hilde Stephan on September 18, 2018:
Thanks alot for helping me with this.I really appreciate the facts you have stated.
Neo on August 31, 2018:
I agree with the facts listed down, this really helped me to re-consider my future in studying. I am from Singapore and going to do my university level :)
Murali on August 19, 2018:
If we are going to abroad we will leave our parents
Mbek on July 10, 2018:
I think China is the most popular study abroad destination too.
sophiet on June 16, 2018:
actually that artclel is really useful if you want to studying abroad... thanks. good hub !
Ngoc_Minh on April 22, 2018:
Great!!!! I'm Vietnamese. You know today I have a final English test at school. These information help me a lot. Study abroad is my biggest dream!
Isabel on April 10, 2018:
Thank you for this article
bla bla bla on February 09, 2018:
a very useful article
Stanislav Nowak on January 19, 2018:
Good article! As for me, I see only advantages in studying abroad. It`s a great life experience for everybody and it`s much easier than people (at least in my country) used to think. If you cannot allow study abroad for money, you always do it for free with the help of grant or scholarship. There are lots of sources for searching - hotcourses, masterportal and etc. If it help somebody to find something, I use this one - https://goo.gl/iEQWn8
toko on October 29, 2017:
great thank you . my teacher liked this :d
Ejaz Malik on July 16, 2017:
thanks for this article
Marcelo Faria from Germany on July 11, 2016:
Some good points to consider. Thank you for this article
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 07, 2015:
asian parents are reluctant to send their kids abroad because of money and missing them
Doodlehead from Northern California on August 11, 2013:
Just ask Amanda Knox.....!
Haley Schaeffer from San Diego on April 16, 2012:
This is a nice breakdown of the pros and cons. For awhile I was considering an overseas master's program, but eventually decided against it for some of the reasons you touched on under "disadvantages". I do sometimes wonder what I'm missing out on by staying close to home though. Great Hub!
htodd from United States on March 18, 2012:
There are too many disadvantages of studying abroad ..Thanks for the nice post
Ov Overo from Oklahoma on January 08, 2012:
Good Hub, but sorry, I didn't pay much attention to the disadvantage. Hope you don't mind
Nan Mynatt from Illinois on January 08, 2012:
Good hub! There are a lot of people in the US who came from various countries and we need to know more about their culture. I marked you up.