Why studying abroad is the best decision you'll ever make

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Written by Asaël Häzaq on 24 June, 2024
Despite economic gloom and restrictive immigration policies, many students are still eager to try their luck abroad, even if their home country has excellent universities. What motivates them to study abroad?

Getting a full experience of international mobility

At first glance, you have every reason to stay and study in your own country. Prestigious universities are at your doorstep (or a few hours away by train). You can move to a nearby city or region and enjoy its privileged university system. However, like many other students, you might be looking further afield. There are many compelling reasons to study abroad, with mobility being a major one. Moving to another city or region is an experience in itself, but you are still in somewhat familiar territory. Studying abroad, even in a neighboring country, introduces you to "full-scale" mobility: finding a foreign university, obtaining a visa, paying various fees, securing accommodation, embarking on a new life, etc. Going through these steps (not all of which are exciting) is a way of stepping into the working world.

Your first encounter with "real life"

Of course, you won't start a part-time job as soon as you get off the plane. But organizing your trip prepares you for other formalities in the host country: registering at the town hall, joining the social security system, looking for a job. Studying abroad lets you experience these tasks from a new perspective. You'll discover "real life" by searching for a part-time job abroad. Job hunting is a job in itself, and it might be more challenging abroad. You'll dive into the local job market and discover how locals look for jobs, whether it is acceptable to knock directly on company doors, and whether you should prioritize phone calls, emails, job platforms, or specialized agencies. These experiences are invaluable for your professional development.

Indulging in a different lifestyle through student mobility

Do you clearly envision your life in 5 or 10 years? Some students go abroad with a precise plan. They carefully choose the country and aim to accumulate experiences for their international careers. Whether you have a ten-year career path or not, studying abroad allows you to test a different lifestyle. You might go abroad intending to stay long-term or plan to return after your studies. You could also want to travel to different countries to find where you might settle down. Student life is about testing, trying, making mistakes, retracing your steps, and taking new directions. Take advantage of this time: you are not married and don't have kids yet. You might have the support of your family, both financially and emotionally. There is no age limit for changing your life, but it's easier to test a new lifestyle when you have fewer responsibilities.

Planning your international career

Are you considering a career in water management, porcelain painting, robotics, or design? Why not see what opportunities exist abroad? By studying abroad, you'll have the time to explore the job market in your host country. Is there a demand for your chosen profession? You'll use your stay to learn about companies in your desired sector, make contacts, secure interviews, build your network, and possibly land an internship in your field.

Improving your language skills

You'll have better career prospects if you speak the language of your host country. If you are in a non-English-speaking country, don't neglect the local language, assuming "everyone speaks English." This is often not the case. Even English varies significantly between cultures: British English is different from American, Nigerian, or Australian English. Gain an edge by mastering the local language. Many expats choose to study abroad precisely to improve their language skills.

Standing out with your hard and soft skills

The international job market is competitive, even in highly skilled sectors. Companies fiercely compete for top foreign talents. This competition starts during your studies. The academic level is rising each year; you must always strive to be the best. You may graduate from a prestigious program, but so do thousands of other students. How do you stand out? Studying abroad is a way to showcase your abilities. It develops your soft skills, which are highly valued by employers. Each experience abroad can enhance qualities such as teamwork, empathy, autonomy, and altruism.

Extra tips for studying abroad in 2024

While you may crave adventure, proper preparation is crucial. Choose your destination carefully. Stay informed about potential immigration reforms. Also, research the job and housing markets: is it easy to find a job and accommodation?

Take your time with your application. Many applications are rejected due to poor attention to detail. Don't jeopardize your chances, especially if you're applying for study permits in highly sought-after countries like Canada and the United States. Your visa application deserves careful attention.

Don't wait until you're in the host country to learn its language. Begin language classes as soon as you've chosen your country. Learn in ways that suit you: books, apps, online or in-person courses, etc. Many learning formats are available. Don't forget passive learning methods, like books, series/films, music, etc.

Once there, explore cultural programs offered by your city/university. Students often get discounts (e.g., sports club memberships). Studying abroad also means discovering a new culture and immersing yourself in a new daily life.