As you plan your Study Abroad journey, what is the first thing you figure out? It’s “what am I going to study ?” And the next question is: “WHERE ?”In this blog, we are looking at the ‘Where’ part of this process which is choosing study abroad destinations so that you are on the right track to success.
This Blog Includes:
- Points to consider while choosing a Study Abroad Destination
- What is the position of that Country in the Global Economy?
- What is the Culture like On-campus and Off-campus?
- Why do I need to care about the Local Culture and Economy of my Study Abroad Destination?
- Should the Study Abroad Destination be English-Speaking?
- Does the Campus Location Matter in my Choice of Study Abroad Destination?
- What about Logistics?
- Current Affairs, Geopolitics and Immigration Policy: Why are they Important?
Points to consider while choosing a Study Abroad Destination
This may seem simple Just find a program and get going on the application process. Seriously? Do we ever do that? Of course not! We always have certain countries in mind which attract us and we weigh our options accordingly. The choice of destinations for study abroad is extremely important. Although choices can be simple, here I am talking about using Critical Thinking to make SMART choices. So, here are some questions when Choosing a Study Abroad Destination:
What is the position of that Country in the Global Economy?
Is higher education a priority in that country? Does the degree of your choice have high employability ( for example, Luxury management in France; Computer Science in Germany or Scandinavian countries; Consulting in the US would be great choices). This will affect options for internships and jobs so you can add work experience to your resume, even if you don’t want to stay for long in that country.
What is the Culture like On-campus and Off-campus?
Choose a destination which you know has large numbers of international students. Many European countries are not English speaking but they have thousands of students from different parts of the globe. Their campuses are multicultural. This is important because your exposure to peers who come from diverse systems of education widens your horizons and equips you to compete in the international job market. Your peer networks can be important life-long connections for future projects or start-ups.
Why do I need to care about the Local Culture and Economy of my Study Abroad Destination?
Remember that Study Abroad is for international exposure. If you don’t learn about the country in which you spend 2-3 years, you are wasting a big opportunity! This understanding can be a huge advantage when recruiters meet you or even if you want to start your own business later you can be a ‘region expert’. So, plan to immerse yourself in the local culture. Read about the history of its society and its social problems. How does its economy operate? Who are the international trade partners of that country? All this will give you an edge as a professional. Alongside the degree, you can also claim cultural expertise in a region.
Should the Study Abroad Destination be English-Speaking?
No, not necessary! We know that more than 80 % of Indian students aspiring to Study Abroad want to go to Anglophone (English-speaking) countries like USA, UK, Canada; Australia. However, there are excellent destinations in non-English-speaking countries which are student-friendly and their universities have an excellent programs for international students in English. For instance, France has globally renowned MBA programs at ESSEC and INSEAD schools. Germany has several excellent universities for STEM. Destinations like Israel and Estonia are not commonly known but both these countries have a thriving culture of Startups and offer funding opportunities for foreign students. So, if you are dreaming of working in the start-up space you should research these “Off-beat Study Abroad Destinations”
Does the Campus Location Matter in my Choice of Study Abroad Destination?
Absolutely! Imagine this: If you choose your Study Abroad Destination in USA, Australia, or Canada, you should carefully check WHERE your university is located. It could be a lovely campus but miles away from the nearest bus station, train, or even airport. Does it matter to you that the campus is very isolated? Do you want to be near the bustle of a big city? This can make a huge difference to your experience when you plan to spend 2- 3 years at a destination. For example, in Canada, Quebec and Toronto are hugely different. Similarly, studying in the US in New York City or Los Angles is very different from being in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tip: Before finalizing a Study Abroad Destination, first check out the program/ courses you want to study. Then, see the campus location on a map. Read about the local region, the nearest city, see some images and see how it fits in with your vision.
What about Logistics?
The issue of logistics and cost of living is key. Check out student housing options; safety for foreign students; transportation and cost of living.
Tip: Research online especially on websites were students of that university post information online.
Current Affairs, Geopolitics and Immigration Policy: Why are they Important?
Recent global developments in the Russia-Ukraine war have shown the world that 1000s of foreign students can be displaced due to the geopolitics of a region. So based on my experience of having lived/ taught in several countries overseas, I want to emphasize that every student who is choosing Study Abroad Destination must be a well-informed reader of global politics and current international developments. The immigration policies of a country can change when political leadership changes. This will affect student visas, policies, stay-back options, Immigration policies, and possibilities for seeking permanent residence abroad.
Tip: Your chosen program may be the best in the world, but the university does not exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a country and the politics and policies of that country will affect you as an international student. So be well-informed!
Thus to Sum up The above tips are aimed at helping students to make SMART choices for Study Abroad Destinations. It’s important to weigh the choices carefully and choose the right fit for you! We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr.Maina Chawla Singh Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.
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