Should You Study Abroad? Exploring the Benefits and Considerations of International Education


Photo Credit: FIU business

Students who decide to study abroad all gather and pose in front of a famous building.

Yser Alsaedi, Writer

For many students, the idea of studying abroad evokes images of the foreign city streets, conversing with locals in their native language, and absorbing the history and culture of the place they decide to study in. However, alongside the undeniable allure of these experiences, studying abroad also presents a unique set of challenges that mandate careful consideration. 

Embarking on a study abroad program offers students the unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, adapting personal growth, and extending their worldview. This first-hand exposure to diverse customs and values can lead to increased critical thinking and a more in-depth understanding of global issues. 

Studying abroad also provides an excellent platform for acquiring different languages, as students are introduced to an environment where they can practice their language skills daily. The ability to communicate in multiple languages is a valuable trait in today’s world, significantly enhancing one’s career options.

“I’m really considering studying abroad because I want to experience new cultures and perspectives. It’s a bit daunting to think about being away from home for an extended period, but I think it could be a great opportunity. I’m still weighing my options, but I’m excited about the possibilities that studying abroad could bring,” said Adams freshman Lucy Meteyer. 

Nevertheless, studying abroad can also prove disorienting for some students, who may face culture shock and homesickness as they navigate these unfamiliar social landscapes. Language barriers can exacerbate these difficulties, obstructing students’ ability to engage with their meaningful surroundings. As such, students must approach  their experiences studying abroad with an open mind, and prepare to confront and learn from these challenges. 

“I don’t think studying abroad is for me. I know I would get homesick, and it would be too difficult to be away from my family and friends for that long. I’m not willing to sacrifice my comfort for the sake of a study abroad program. It’s just not worth it to me,” said freshman Ainsley Klomp.

Study abroad programs often serve as a fertile ground for forging connections with individuals from diverse backgrounds, including students, professors, and local residents. These relationships can blossom into lifelong friendships or even professional networks that may prove beneficial in future career endeavors. 

However, the process of building these connections and honing language skills can be time-consuming, and potentially distracting from students’ primary academic pursuits. To strike the right balance, students must manage their time effectively, prioritizing their academic responsibilities while making the most of the unique opportunities studying abroad presents. 

API high school students in Dublin. (Photo Credit: Experiences API)

Living and studying in a foreign country can be a transformative experience as students learn to navigate new situations, adapt to unfamiliar environments, and become more self-reliant. This newfound independence can have a lasting positive effect on both personal and professional commitments. 

However, the benefits of studying abroad often come at a steep price. Tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs can add up quickly, placing a financial burden on students and their families. Students must research scholarships and financial aid options to reduce these costs. Additionally, homesickness can take a toll on students’ mental health and overall well-being. Maintaining open communication with loved ones back home and seeking local support can help ease these feelings of isolation. 

To circumvent these challenges, students must carefully research their chosen study abroad programs, ensuring that the courses offered align with their academic goals and are recognized by their home institution. Additionally, seeking academic support and resources in their host country can help students acclimate to the new educational environments and excel.

Ultimately, the decision to study abroad is a personal one that requires careful consideration and planning. By researching your destination country, understanding the academic system, and creating a budget, students can make informed decisions and take full advantage of the opportunities that studying abroad can provide. With the right mindset and preparation, studying abroad can be a transformative experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.