Studying Abroad

Studying abroad has become a common practice among young people in many less developed countries of the world. Every year, many students from countries like India, Malaysia, and China flock to USA, Britain, Australia, or Canada to study in the reputed universities there. In many countries, especially in Asia, a whole new industry of Education Consultants has sprung up, and they help students get admission to the university of their choice and assist with visa approval.

There are many reasons why students choose to study abroad especially for their tertiary education. Firstly, there are many universities that are highly ranked in these countries, such as Oxford and Cambridge in the UK and the Ivy League universities in the USA. If a student is granted admission to one of them, his/her future is made. Many job opportunities will come their way because these universities ensure a certain quality in their education system. This is true of not just the elite universities, but also other universities of repute such as The University of Edinburgh in the UK, or the Washington University in the United States of America, Monash University in Australia or the University of Alberta in Canada.

Secondly, being away from family and friends makes one independent emotionally. For example, when a setback happens while studying abroad there is no family to run to and complain. Granted that these days communication technology is so advanced that distance is practically eliminated, but still a certain degree of emotional maturity is developed while being apart from family.

Thirdly, the important skill of finance management is learnt when one has to handle money by themselves. Usually, parents deposit a certain amount of money in the bank from which money can be withdrawn whenever needed. Since this is a fixed amount in the bank, without adequate money management skills the student can find himself penniless. Many students also work during their free time, earning extra. This teaches them the value of hard work and that of hard-earned money.

Another attractive factor of studying abroad is the opportunity for networking. Students from all over the world come to the good universities in these countries, and they quickly develop connections. This network is incredibly important when it comes to opportunities in life. Also, since students come from all over the world, a certain understanding of different cultures is developed, and one’s horizons are expanded. In other words, there is tremendous personal growth happening when one studies abroad.

However, excepting brilliant students who land coveted scholarships, potential students have to spend huge amounts of money on tuition fee, accommodation, visa fee and numerous other miscellaneous expenses. Studying abroad is definitely not cheap. Many students go abroad after taking a considerable loan, and struggle to pay up, finally ending up with a huge debt problem. They try to circumvent the issue by working during their free time, but this often affects their academic performance. Sometimes, some students abandon their studies altogether, in favor of holding a low-paying job such as driving a taxi.

Another pitfall to be beware of is the tendency for many youngsters to stray from what they have to do, and end up distracted by bad company. The newfound financial freedom sometimes is detrimental to an immature mind. There are students who were excellent at studies in their home country, suddenly scoring failure grades due to the lack of focus. Needless to say, it takes a very disciplined mind to concentrate on studies even when his friends may be enjoying a drink at the local pub.

A very commonly observed phenomenon as far as studying abroad is concerned is the culture shock that many Asian kids experience when they go abroad, and the resulting confusion about values. The culture of many of the higher education destinations is different from those in Asian countries when it comes to personal freedom. For example, boy-girl relationships in many Asian countries follow traditional patterns even at this age, but in Western countries, a lot of freedom is allowed in this matter right from adolescence. This is incredibly attractive to youngsters, and the values of their home culture are often forgotten. Furthermore, many of them do not return to their home country, getting a job and settling down in the host country instead. This causes the phenomenon of brain drain from less developed nations.

In conclusion, studying abroad is a mixed bag. There are pros and cons, and it is up to the individual to decide based on his/her life situation, especially financial situation, and personal ambition.

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