Choosing to study abroad is a brave choice. It’s an interesting and unforgettable experience that teaches you independence, helps you discover new cultures and make new friends across the world. But being away from home- far away from family and friends is no doubt hard. If you’re still trying to decide whether to go abroad to pursue your studies, here’s a list of pros and cons to moving abroad for studies.
PRO: Experience culture
When you live in one place for your whole life, your world narrows. But living in a new country exposes you to new cultures; some that you may have not even known about otherwise. You get to try exotic foods, learn the traditions of a different country, and get the opportunity to try many new things. Exposure to these different cultures and traditions help you become a more knowledgeable, open person.
PRO: Making new friends
Studying at a new university in a new country means meeting new people. By moving away from the comfort of your own country and home, you widen your horizons and get the chance to meet many interesting people from various walks of life, from across the world. You could end up making bonds that last a lifetime, and these friendships are sure to come in handy in the future if you’re travelling and need a place to crash.
PRO: The chance to learn a new language
Is there a better way to learn a new language than by immersing yourself in it completely? Talking to native speakers and learning at least the conversational ways of a language will be easy to do while studying abroad. Learning and being able to speak multiple languages is always impressive, so this is a definite pro of moving abroad.
PRO: Discovering new holidays to celebrate
Celebrating the same holidays- whether it’s Christmas or New Year- over and over again can quickly lose its magic. When you move abroad and get exposed to the ways and traditions of that country, you’ll be able to discover new holidays and rediscover your passion for celebration.
PRO: Learning to be independent
This is my personal favourite advantage of moving abroad. Before I moved abroad to study, I was quite pampered. Without any idea of how to cook, live or travel alone, I’m not shy about admitting that I was quite useless. But by leaving home, I learnt many important life skills, that have changed me for the better; I know how to cook, I live and travel alone. Moving abroad opened me up to new experiences that helped me mature as a person.
CON: You feel homesick
Being miles away from home, it’s only natural to feel homesick. Not being able to pop home for a quick weekend, or having to go through a bout of illness alone, without your family to pamper and spoil you, can get quite lonely. Skype and Facetime definitely help alleviate this homesickness, but you’ll still miss the physical contact of your near and dears one.
CON: Loneliness can strike
If you settle in well, and make good friends, moving abroad can be significantly easier. But if you are unable to meet the right kind of people, being in a new country can get quite lonely. The way to get out of this loneliness is to be outgoing, to make an effort to join groups with interests similar to yours and initiate conversations. If you aren’t ready to do any of that, studying abroad may not be for you.
CON: It can get expensive
Flights, accommodation, travel, and living costs all together can make living abroad quite expensive. You’ll constantly find yourself using the conversion rates to see how much home currency you’ll be losing by buying the good kind of shampoo. Budgeting well can help to some extent, but living and studying abroad is definitely a hit on the bank.
CON: Finding it difficult to keep up with studies
Uni is hard regardless of whether you’re an international student or a local. But add to that the culture shock, homesickness and different education system of the new country, and you might find it hard to get a grip on all of your coursework at first. But if you keep putting in the effort, and seek the help of your tutors, you can learn to cope well.
CON: You start craving home cooked food
A hundred microwave meals and takeaways later, anyone would crave a homecooked meal. No matter how much you enjoy sampling and experiencing new cuisines, it can get tiring and you start missing the food from home. If you’re especially picky about food, then living abroad can be quite hard on your stomach, and your appetite.