23 June, 2022

Studying Abroad: Pros and Cons.

Let’s consider this from the perspective of Further or Higher Education. 

A lot of students studying at The British School Warsaw will already be familiar with living and going to school in a country they are not from, but moving to another country by yourself to study at University is another experience altogether. Being far away from the support network of family and friends can take some getting used to and most certainly involves an adjustment period. Luckily most Universities have a wide programme of Clubs and Societies where students can make friends outside of their studies. Alongside a dedicated International Students support office where you can go to get help and advice when needed. Let’s not forget the opportunities of exploring a new city to keep you busy in the evenings and weekends!

Some students may choose to study abroad at a University where courses are taught in English but it is not an English speaking country. This can bring it’s own challenges – registering for the doctor, communicating with a landlord or just ordering dinner might prove difficult. But don’t forget that being able to add another language to your CV once you graduate will also give you an added advantage.

The cost of International Student fees are a common reason why students may choose not to study abroad. Tuition fees plus accommodation plus living costs over the course of a three or four year course can add up very quickly. There are some opportunities for Scholarships but they are not very common in Europe and extremely competitive. The good news for EU students is that you will pay EU student fees when studying at a public university in any EU country (for example, this is €2,209 per year in the Netherlands). Another benefit for all International students may be the opportunity to continue living in a country once you graduate from University there. If you study in the UK as an International Student for example, you have the opportunity to continue living and working there for two years once you have graduated. Giving you time to secure a job in your chosen field or industry. You may also be able to take out student loans in your home country and use them to pay University tuition fees in another country (something to consider when discussing finances).

While Brexit (for those considering the UK) and the Pandemic (why study at a University abroad if everything is online?) have made studying abroad a less attractive option for some, there are still many benefits to completing a University education overseas. Studying at one of the World’s top ranking universities with a reputation for high academic standards and world-class research will give you countless opportunities both academically and socially. Studying abroad shows that you have the confidence to challenge yourself, adjust to new situations and make major decisions. At the same time studying abroad will help you to develop your independence, adaptability, self-awareness, resilience, and problem-solving. Evidence of these skills and an internationally recognised degree will set you apart from other graduates in the job market.

For those who don’t think that moving to another country to study at University is for them, the good news is that there are a growing number of English taught degrees being offered all over the world so finding an option in your home country is a possibility too. Here in Poland there are two World ranked universities where you can study a wide variety of courses taught in English. And, there are no fewer than twelve Universities right here in Poland where you can study Medicine taught in English too. The same goes for most European countries and a lot of Asian countries.

Wherever you choose to study at University, home or abroad, you must make sure that it is the ‘right fit’ for you and that you will be happy living and studying in that country for the next three or four years of your life. Making these decisions can be difficult and take some time but it is worth getting them right!

Victoria Willson

University and Career Guide Counsellor