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Why Study Abroad?



Abroad education consultancies KottayamThe question “Why study abroad?” is one of the issues explored in our recently released report on Trends in International Student Mobility, based on global surveys of graduate degree applicants in the last five years. The report examines some of the key motivations and priorities for students applying for a master’s or a PhD, and particularly those with an interest in studying outside of their own country. Here’s an overview of some of the most common answers respondents gave to the question “Why study abroad?”

1. Study at a university with a strong international reputation
A major motivation for many international students is the prospect of studying at a university with a strong international reputation. This underlies the continued popularity of study destinations such as the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany, which boast large numbers of universities that are well-known and respected worldwide. As more institutions succeed in growing their international reputations, there’s now even greater choice than ever before for prospective international students for whom reputation really matters.

2. Experience life in a different culture
For many international students, the opportunity to spend an extended period of time immersed in a culture other than their own is a huge part of the appeal of studying abroad. This might simply be for the pleasure that comes from encountering new experiences and perspectives, or it could be that students are already looking ahead to their graduate careers; international experience and intercultural skills are highly valued by many employers. Some students may have a specific destination or culture in mind, while others may be ready to explore pretty much anywhere new.

3. Benefit from scholarships or lower tuition fees
Studying abroad is certainly not always a cheaper option; indeed, for many (if not most) international students, it’s more expensive to study abroad than it would have been to stay closer to home. However, this, of course, depends on how the tuition fees and living costs compare in your own country and your potential study destination. If you’re based in the US and decide to study in Germany, for example, you could actually end up saving a lot in tuition fees, as our student blogger Felix explains. You may also be able to benefit from international scholarships, such as those available to attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour.

4. Improve your language skills
Lots of students are also motivated to study abroad at least partly by the prospect of improving their language skills, which again can be a major asset when applying for graduate careers. This could mean spending time taking a preparatory language course, in order to study a full degree program taught in the local language. Or you may study in your native language, but have opportunities to improve your foreign language skills through immersion in the student community.

5. Start building an international professional network
Finally, studying abroad can be an opportunity to establish a really strong international professional network, by establishing friendships with classmates from all around the world, which will long outlast the duration of your study program. If this is one of your motivations for overseas study, you may want to make sure you choose a university with a, particularly diverse student community. Of course, it’s not essential to study abroad to achieve this goal; you could choose to study in your own country and still have the chance to meet people from across the globe!

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