If you’re looking into obtaining a university degree outside of your home country, you’re probably aware of many of the benefits. The opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and experience a new culture is one of the big pluses. So is the opportunity to expand your network with interesting people from all over the world. An international degree might not be for everyone, but depending on your career goals, it can make a big difference in helping you land a dream job after graduation. Those aren’t all the benefits, however, as there are more pluses to studying internationally that aren’t as widely known.
Earning an International Degree Can Be Cost Effective
For some reason, most people don’t realize just how much you can save by studying in another country. This is especially true if you’re coming from the U.S. and looking to obtain a degree elsewhere. Research from Aperian Global shows, studying in Asia or Europe is about half the price of studying in the U.S (see infographic below). Even in Australia and New Zealand, which have very high consumer prices, the average cost of education is about $5,000 less per year than North American universities. Universities like Harvard and Princeton are considered among the best in the world, but they’re far from the best values.
Back in the U.S., tuition prices are rising sharply and the average college graduate leaves school with $29,000 in debt. Those debt levels are rising everywhere. With that in mind, more students are opting to learn overseas than ever before. Colleges in Europe and Canada are seeing big increases in the number of Americans applying to study. It seems word is starting to get out that there are affordable ways of earning a degree, and more people are seeking alternatives.
You Learn to Adapt
Discipline and adaptability are those soft skills that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom, yet they’re easy to pick up when living in a new country. Depending on your language skills, the most mundane tasks (like ordering food or buying a train ticket) become challenging. Likewise, the entire culture will be unfamiliar and stressful. To a lesser extent, you’ll experience similar things when starting a new job. That’s why it’s great to experience it as a student and learn how to handle change and adversity. Anything that comes after will be easy.
Numbers Become Meaningful
As good a deal as it might be to study overseas, you’ll find it’s important to manage your finances. You’ll be managing different currencies, and the cost of living might be greater than what you’re used to. This is a great time to learn how to keep a budget, or at the very least, keep an eye on your spending.
Even with lower tuition rates, being an international student opens up some scholarship opportunities that aren’t available to local students. Whether you’re in a financially comfortable position or not, these opportunities are worth applying for and can make the university you’re attending even more of a bargain.
You Gain Independence
For most people, college is their first real taste of independence. For people studying abroad, that’s especially true. With friends and family hundreds or thousands of miles away, you’re truly on your own. That’s an overwhelming feeling at times, but it’s also a great opportunity to focus on the things you find important without dealing with pressure or expectations of friends and family. You have the chance to do things your way, and learning how to handle independence is a skill that lasts a lifetime.
Setting up a Career
An international degree opens doors throughout the world. Back in your home country, your degree will be useful. If you plan to live and work in the country you studied in, the degree is especially valuable. If you studied back home with the hopes of one day working abroad, getting that opportunity would be much more difficult. With your degree and experience, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
For example, if you’re focused on Europe and earn a degree in Germany, you’ll find opportunities throughout all of the continent. The same could be said about earning a degree from a well-regarded Japanese university and the opportunities it provides throughout the rest of the region. An international degree greatly increases the potential jobs you can apply for.
Freedom From a Lack of Debt
Thanks to the ever-rising debt levels of college students, graduates find their hands tied after finishing school. With student loan bills coming in monthly, fewer graduates have the freedom to buy a home, a new car or other big-ticket items. Even worse, they have less room to make calculated risks that could pay off. By earning a degree overseas and paying much less for it, graduates have the chance to move around or take high-risk, high-reward positions. Out of all the benefits of earning an international degree, this is one of the best, yet most understated.
Check out this informative infographic from our friends at Aperian Global, and see where your college ranks!