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An Educational Dilemma: Ups and Downs of Studying Abroad

Not quite one in ten expats first moved abroad for their education. But whether it’s for a bachelor’s degree or a master’s, deciding to study in a different country is hardly ever an easy choice and deserves due consideration.

The journey of studying abroad is not just about books, exams, or a degree — it is an adventure, an exploration of the unknown, and a challenge. But it’s also a journey that promises a blend of cultural richness, academic excellence, and personal development.

Here are the most common pros or cons of being an international student if you’re still undecided:

Pro: An A+ Educational Experience

If you decide to study abroad, you’ll get access to courses and programs that your home country might not offer. It lets you tap into top-notch education and broaden your academic horizons.

Con: Language Learning Hurdles

Learning a new language is cool, but at first, it can be a bit tiring or tricky to communicate. Not being able to involve yourself in daily conversations or connecting with locals might be hard depending on the location. It can be even more of a challenge when you’re studying in a foreign language! But don’t worry. Tackling the language barrier takes a bit of dedication and willingness to learn but is well worth the effort!

Pro: Diving into Different Cultures

Studying abroad does not solely improve you academically but also opens your eyes to diverse customs and traditions. Living a whole new lifestyle will help you become more open-minded and make you a global citizen.

Con: Missing Home

Despite the exciting adventure, homesickness might kick in. Being away from your hometown, family, and friends can trigger discomfort and feelings of loneliness. Studying when you are not feeling psychologically well creates another challenge for international students. Your psychological well-being should always be your priority when you are following your dreams.

Pro: Learning to Depend on Yourself

Even though living abroad for the first time can be tough, and you may feel out of your comfort zone or lonely, it helps you become more independent. Studying abroad is a great way to learn to enjoy your own company and face challenges more bravely by yourself. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Con: Money Matters

Let’s not forget that funding your international education can be a challenge, with tuition, living costs, and travel expenses piling up. You may even lose or spend more money converting currency. Plan your budget smartly, don’t forget to explore scholarship options, and beware of frauds in the new country (e.g. when looking for accommodation). If you’re planning to work alongside your studies, make sure you have enough cash until you find a part-time job to cover your expenses.

Pro: Connecting Globally

Studying abroad opens many doors, and one of them is the international network you’ll build! You’ll meet students from many different countries or backgrounds. This can be a blessing for your future career — as well as any travels.

Con: Dealing with Bureaucracy

Figuring out visa regulations and getting piles of documents ready can be a bit like navigating a maze. It’s a paperwork party, and understanding your host country’s regulations needs lots of preparation, patience, and organizational finesse.

Pro: Traveling Options

Studying abroad is your ticket to exploring nearby countries and regions (as long as your student budget allows it). You can make the most of your time abroad by traveling, expanding your horizons, and creating memories that will stay with you forever.

Con: Expectations

It’s important that you set your expectations realistically. Having unrealistic expectations about your studies abroad can quickly lead to unhappiness.

Moving abroad or studying abroad won’t change your life as if touched by a magic wand. It will open many doors for sure, but the journey has many bumps, twists, and turns along the way.

Pro/Con: Returning Home

Returning home after experiencing the international vibes can throw you a curveball. You may need to make a big decision whether to stay or go back to your home country. If you decide to go back, adjusting can take some time and might mean another culture shock. Life went on for your family and friends as well while you were living abroad, so things that you’re used to might have changed.

But returning home with all those experiences and academic success will also change your life in a good way. Embrace the changes and open a clean page to follow your new goals.

At the end of the day, deciding whether or not to study abroad is a very personal decision. So, what do you think? Can you overcome those challenges and reap the benefits?

For me, studying abroad has been quite a journey with all those ups and downs! Nobody told me it would be easy; they didn’t mention I would be lonely though! (P.S. Germany is not the best choice for making friends but offers academic excellence.)

This is why when moving abroad, we should set our expectations realistically and do our research. And one last note: we should stop comparing our experience with others. As there are many variables, experiences of studying abroad differ. So, if you hear one bad experience story from someone else that doesn’t mean yours will not be exciting stay abroad.

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