Studying abroad helps one to gain new knowledge and expertise in their field. At the postgraduate level, particularly, it expands the field of view of an individual and helps them to understand problems and analyze them from a global perspective. When studying abroad, the chances of acquiring new knowledge are high. This normally occurs when students from different countries share their experiences, and then together come up with different solutions to these problems. Foreign students also get the opportunity to learn and improve on their language skills. This has both short term and long term benefits. In the short term, it helps to make new friends in the foreign country because it breaks the language barrier. In the long term, in may help one acquire a job as a translator in their native country. Furthermore, friendships made in the foreign country enhances the global networks of a student. While abroad, a student is exposed to new cultures and landscapes. Interacting with the new cultures helps the student to acquire new skills and improve his or her personality. It helps to understand, appreciate and tolerate diversity. It clears the stereotypes spread by the media about a certain country, culture or religion. By living together, foreign students will learn to appreciate one another, hence interact peacefully.
Studying in a foreign country increases the chances of an individual to land their dream job. It is worth noting that only 4% of people study in a foreign country in their lifetime. The world is becoming more of a global village, and companies are expanding into foreign countries. This creates the need for employees to be able to work in different countries, which is made possible by studying in a foreign countries. It gives them an edge over employees who studied in only one country. An employee who studied abroad is viewed as independent, willing to accept new challenges, self-motivated and able to tolerate different cultures. Such employees approach an issue from a global point of view and tackle it critically, putting into consideration the different possible outcomes. An individual who studied in one country, on the other hand, may use a narrow approach to the issue without considering the possible outcomes if it was tackled different. This can be blamed to lack of exposure and interaction with different cultures. A foreign student also has improved language skills, which may help him get his dream job.
Studying in a foreign country gives one an opportunity to gain new experiences in life. In addition, it introduces a new way of learning different from the one the student is used to back at home. At first, the new environment can be scary and one suffers culture shock. However, with excellent adaptability skills, the student will be able to overcome the challenges. One is able to acquire new strengths, which may be of benefit in future. A foreign country, a student familiarizes with a new way of learning. This is important since it opens the mind to the different ways of handling a task.
Studying in a foreign country provides a student with an opportunity to travel to new destinations. Foreign students use their weekends and study breaks to travel and learn more about the country they are in. The trips may be organized by a group of friends or the student union. Students returning from abroad have shared their experiences in the foreign countries. From trips to Italy, where they visit places like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to France, where they may visit the Eiffel Tower. They can also share in the culture of the new country – the music, food, fashion and personal habits. Traveling opportunities give enable students to visit places they would otherwise not visit.
Studying and living abroad may not be as cozy as it sounds. Many international students are faced with challenges in the foreign countries. They suffer culture shock and homesickness. This is, particularly common with those students who find it hard to adapt to their new environment. Most of these students argue that while the university fulfills the part of offering quality education, it does very little to ensure complete integration into the local community. Others point out that some foreign universities have halls of residence designated exclusively to foreign students, which limits their interaction with the local students. Another problem they face is language barrier that limits communication and makes their study difficult. The cost of studying and living abroad can be very expensive. In other countries, international students are not allowed to work. This means that those students, from families that can afford the financial costs of living abroad, will study in a foreign country. Other students have to rely on scholarships, which are few, to study in a foreign country.
The benefits of studying in a foreign country overweigh the drawbacks. It enhances the ability if one to survive in a new environment, hence independence. A student gets the opportunity to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds and this encourages understanding, appreciation and tolerance to different cultures. In the long term, this promotes peaceful coexistence amongst people from different countries. Studying abroad enables a student to gain more knowledge and expertise in their area of study. It broadens their understanding of their field of practice and increases their competence in the job market. The opportunity to travel to new places exciting, especially in a foreign country. It enables one to learn more about the country in terms of attraction sites and lifestyle. Students should therefore be advised to consider studying away from home at least once in their life time.
5minuteenglish.com. Reasons to Study Abroad. 2013. <www.5minuteenglish.com/study_abroad.htm>.
Donald, James. Studying Abroad: The Benefits. 26 November 2008. <http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/studying-abroad/studying-abroad-benefits>.
Williams, James. Why do students study abroad? Experiences of international students in the UK. 10 June 2010. <http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~powision/wordpress/magazin/ausgabe-7-engagier-dich/james-williams/>.