Is Studying Abroad Right for You? 5 Ways to Know

Image by Warren Wong,

The world suddenly becomes full of possibilities once you turn 18. You can do lots of things you weren’t allowed to do before, and enjoy more freedom once you go off to college or university.

If you’re still deciding which course to take and which school to go to, at your age, there should be no reason for you to limit your options. This means that you should also consider the possibility of studying abroad.

Making The Decision

But how do you know studying in a different country is a good, if not the best, option for you? You can do so by considering the following in your decision-making process:

1. Financial Capability

Let’s dive right into one of the most important factors you have to consider since there is no getting around it: the expenses that come with studying abroad. In the USA, the average tuition fee for international students who want to study at a private university falls between $18,000 and $35,000 per year. State university tuition fees are lower, ranging from $12,000 to $25,000 annually. Fees are usually higher for international students than for locals. In addition to your course fees, you will also have to consider your living expenses.

Because studying abroad can be a costly endeavor, you need to be financially capable of doing so. You have to be able to pay the course fees and have enough money monthly to meet or satisfy your living expenses. To ease this burden, look for universities or colleges that offer scholarships and find out if you qualify for them.

In addition, international students have rights to work as well. For instance, in the USA, international students are allowed to work with pay on campus. If you are granted an Optional Practical Training (OPT) status, you will be allowed to work off-campus, with certain restrictions. Either way, you will be able to earn some extra money you can use while studying here.

2. You Have a Supportive Family

In addition to any financial support, you will need the emotional support of your parents. You will experience homesickness every now and then and nothing will make you feel stronger and better able to face your challenges than some quick words of encouragement from your family.

3. You Want to Earn an Internationally Recognized Degree

There’s nothing wrong with a getting an education and degree in your home country; there are certainly many local colleges and universities that offer good quality courses. But if you want a degree that will help you go places, nothing will be more effective than having one that is awarded by a well-known educational institution (think Harvard University, MIT, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, etc.).  Employers will know immediately that you are top-caliber since you were able to graduate from an institution where the screening and learning processes are rigorous. Having a degree from a highly recognized school will make you employable anywhere.

4. You Want to Become More Self-Reliant

You will need help with finding the right college or university abroad, and even which course to take. For these purposes, seeking expert advice from college admissions professionals is the smart thing to do. Generally, though, once you’re overseas, you’re on your own. You won’t be able to rely on your mom to make you breakfast or do your laundry, and your dad won’t be able to chauffeur you anywhere you want to go. When you study in a different country, you will have to do everything by yourself, which is a good thing if you want to be more independent and responsible.

5. You are Ready for an Adventure

Lastly, if you want to live in a different country, learn about new cultures and traditions, meet more people, and make new friends, you will experience all of these (and more) when you study abroad. Make the most of your life even if you’re still young. Although you are studying, you will have plenty of time to do some touristy stuff (after all, you are in a different country) and meet new people. Even if you’re just on one of the pre-college programs offered overseas, you will have a great, life-changing experience.

If you find all these appealing, it may be time for you make the leap and start planning for your future as an international student.

This article was contributed by guest author Brian Giroux.