The short answer to this question is yes, you should. The long answer to the question requires a more in-depth analysis of who you are, what are your interested, how well you have defined your short-term and long-term goals, and how much of an adventurer you are.
While I will be speaking from my own experiences, I will also include my friends experiences and all of the people that I have met throughout the years. I began my bachelor’s degree in my home country, went to Italy for an exchange semester, and did both my master’s degrees in Norway. I have summed up some of the questions that I believe you should ask yourself before deciding for studying abroad or not.
Is Going Abroad to Study Worth It?
I still have to meet a person that says that they regret studying abroad. So, the short answer, again, would be, yes, it is worth it. It is worth it for me, but what about you? Let me explain why I think that going abroad for your studies is worth your time, and how it can positively influence your life. You gain undeniable experience that otherwise would be difficult to gain while studying home. You get to interact with new cultures, new language, you have access to new opportunities (academic-wise, but also social-wise). All of those experiences will shape you to be more confident in yourself (hey, you survived in a foreign country, foreign language, different culture, different cuisine – life in your home country will be a piece of cake now – that in case you decide to go back).
What Are the Cons and Pros of Studying Abroad?
- Travel and discover new places
- Make new friends
- Experience new culture and cuisine
- Expand your social skills
- Learn a new language
- Experience different educational system
- Lots of fun
- Become more independent
- Having difficulties adapting to new culture, new food, and new educational system
That’s it. That is the only con I can come up with. And if you really think about it, it is not really such a big disadvantage. So, what if you have difficulties? You will still learn something about yourself. You will learn to see where your boundaries are. Perhaps, you will even be able to get out of your comfort zone, and jump into the growth zone.
Which Country and Culture Spike My Interest?
If you go for more than 6 months abroad, for example if you apply for a full bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, then the choice of the country you are going to live in is more important than you think it is, and here it is why:
- There are high chances that you will settle there- either find a girlfriend/boyfriend, or a good job opportunity after you finish.
- You will get with you part of the culture you will be living in. Part of you will become a bit like the “locals”, especially when you will be talking the new language.
- Job opportunities.
- Cultural and social experiences – discover yourself.
How to Choose a School or a Program to Match My Interests?
In order to do that you will have to clarify two things first:
- What type of study are you going for? Is it an Erasmus/exchange, or a full degree?
- What are your interests?
Now, when you will have the answer to those questions, you will most likely be able to answer yourself the question. If you still struggle in doing so, join our community on Facebook and don’t shy away from asking for help.
Am I Ready to Move Away from Home?
Write down a list with the things that makes you think that you are ready and another one with the things that keep you away from moving abroad. Then compare the two lists. Which one makes your heartbeat with full excitement?
One rule of the thumb, if you are 18+, you should be ready, more than ready actually. In the opposite case, set aside some time to find out what is lacking.
Can I Afford to Study Abroad? How Expensive Is to Study Abroad?
Here is the list of the things you need to consider, financially, when it comes to studying abroad:
1. How much is the tuition fee? Some universities, like the ones in Norway, are free of international students (although I don’t know for how long).
2. How much does it cost to rent? Is it possible to share a flat? Or a room?
3. How much does food cost?
4. How much does a bus card cost? Can I use a bike or walk to university instead?
5. How much does it cost a phone or internet subscription? Can I live without them? (in theory yes, in practice you will be in pain without the internet).
Is It Difficult to Make Friends While Studying Abroad?
No, it is not. Even if you choose to study in Norway, where the Norwegians are famous for being shy and not talkative. Why? Because even if you will struggle to connect with the locals in the beginning, you will have plenty of international students around you, that are in the same situation.
Do I Need a Visa to Study Abroad?
Depending on which country you are coming from and which country you are going to, you might need a visa. You will have to check the visa requirements for your country before even applying to know what you need to prepare. The good news is that most of the time, you will get approved a student visa once you have an acceptance letter from a specific university.
Do I fulfill the Admission Requirements for the Desired Country?
You have to go your homework now. And that is to find out which country you want to study in, find out your program, and write down the requirements for admission. Then, go through each one of them, and see if you fulfill them. The ones where you are lacking competencies, find out what you can do about it. For example, if your average GPA is 2 and the university requires a minimum of 3.5, find out if you can increase your grades. If that is not possible, don’t spend your time with this application, find another university which has less stricter requirements.
If you have answered all the questions above and still feel like you need more guidance, join our Facebook community and ask for help. And if you have all the answered you need, join anyway, and share with us your journey. Looking forward to seeing you there.