Is studying in your home country exciting and inspiring enough for you? If not, you’re probably considering a foreign exchange program, so that you can work and study in a country of your choosing. As appealing as this concept can be, moving to a country completely different from yours can also have some downsides. So, in case you’re considering changing your scenery in order to work and study abroad, here are some pros and cons you should be aware of.
Language and culture
Moving to another country usually means experiencing a fresh lifestyle and getting familiar with a new culture and a language. A con would be that it’s sometimes very difficult to adapt to things you haven’t had contact with so far. Learning a new language could require a lot of effort and it might also slow down your studies and make it more difficult to find a job.
On the other hand, there are several pros to this as well. Yes, you have to learn a new language, but what better and faster way to do it than by being surrounded by people speaking it all the time? Also, even though a new culture and customs can appear strange and puzzling, there is a lot to gain from learning about them and being a part of them. If reading books and watching documentaries can broaden your horizons, then actually experiencing something as interesting as this can be enriching beyond what you could imagine. Plus, of course, adding another language to your CV could mean a great advantage when you apply even for the most demanding and difficult-to-fill positions.
Finding accommodation in a foreign country could prove to be tricky, which is another con. The reason for this is that you need to find a place to stay even before you actually move there. Most people do it online, but what you see on the internet can differ greatly from what you actually get when you arrive.
The pro here is that a growing number of countries are making an effort to make foreign students feel more welcome. Countries like Australia are aware of how important it is for students to feel comfortable and safe while on foreign exchange. This is why you can find awesome student accommodation in Sydney, where hospitality and student security are among top priorities, along with great location and a positive environment for young people of all cultures and backgrounds. These accommodation options are close to the city center and some of the universities, while you can use public transport to get to other universities easily.
When it comes to your social life, your friendships and family relations, there is an obvious con if you move abroad. It’s only natural that you miss your closest friends and your family members greatly. This may make you feel lonely and in need of some emotional support, which is something you didn’t have to think about while you were surrounded by those who love you and know you best. Furthermore, in case you’re pursuing a career, once you move, people might disregard you as an employee option.
However, a huge pro is that you’ll get to meet many new people from all over the world. Think about all the new friendships you’ll have the chance of making. Even if you find it hard to form meaningful connections with new people, you’ll meet so many of them that it will be next to impossible not to find somebody you like and want to become friends with. This can even make it easier to deal with your studies, since most of the people you’ll meet will be students, just like you, giving you an opportunity to form a nice study group. Meeting your academic requirements is always more fun and less stressful when you’re doing it with somebody’s help. Plus, you’ll be in a position to make new business connections and open some new career doors for when you decide where you want to live and what kind of job you want to do.
One of the main cons of studying abroad can be the expenses. Not only do you have to pay for the transport there and probably some fees for your student visa, but the university fees are sometimes different for foreign students, too. And then there are the accommodation expenses, the food and everything else.
The pro here is that there are many scholarships and other financial benefits available to international students nowadays in many of the world countries. You can actually study for free as a foreign student in countries like Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Spain. Some countries, like India, Argentina and Taiwan have study programs at great value for international students, while others, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Canada offer scholarships to people who want to come from abroad and study there. And when it comes to other everyday expenses, they are something you’ll have to deal with even if you study in your own country, which is why they should definitely not be something to stop you from studying abroad.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every choice you make in life. The best thing you can do sometimes is to just leap forward and see what life brings you. You never know. This might be the best choice you’ve ever made.