Why you should study abroad as a postgraduate student

Choosing to continue study after your first degree in the current global economy appears to be a no-brainer in terms of career strategy. The job market is slack and a bachelors degree doesn't go far when employers have an ever deepening pool of graduate labour from which to recruit. If academic aspirations are what you have; then it's a given that you'll be competing with PhD graduates rather than masters graduates so, you're going to be studying for a long time.

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Set yourself apart from the rest

One sure-fire way to distinguish yourself from the competition is to have read for your postgraduate degree at a foreign institution. The very fact that you have left your comfort zone and a support network, which you may have enjoyed for years, displays a degree of self reliance and adaptability not found in those who have purely studied domestically. Study Abroad

Spending time in a foreign country living as a native is not the same as being a tourist. Anyone can mention in passing on their CV that they “love to travel”, this is not the same as transplanting oneself in a foreign culture, organising housing, healthcare, working, socialising and studying far away from home. It is a massive undertaking and not one which should be entered into lightly, but the rewards in the long term will far outweigh the initial hardships.

You don’t need to go it alone

There are study programs which enable you to live with a host family if you don't feel like going it completely alone. You can make money by offering translation services, tutoring in your native language, becoming a tour guide or even working as an au pair. You language can be your fortune and you may enjoy a quality of life which you didn't have at home simply by talking, you can even use the exchange rate to your advantage and go home relatively wealthy.

Immerse yourself in the language

For a language student the benefits of moving to study in a country where their studied language is the first language are obvious. Complete immersion into the language and culture will provide insight not possessed by their peers and will undoubtedly put them at a distinct advantage. At the end of your stay you may even be dreaming in the language you came to study.

Networking opportunities

Language is not the only factor when deciding to study abroad, an employer may be looking to implement an international business development policy in their future and a prospective recruit who already has contacts and knowledge of their desired market will arouse an employer’s interest immediately. You will certainly have a lot to talk about in your interview.

College and University provide friendships and relationships which endure. You will forge friendships with other students who are also studying far away from home, they will be experiencing everything you are experiencing, and for the first time. These are the ties which bind and these relationships will continue long after study. You will also find out who are your real friends at home and who are merely acquaintances by the efforts they make to stay in touch with you while you are away. The friends you make will find jobs as will you and if you need to call upon a contact in their home country as part of your job who would be the first person you think of? Networking skills are an essential part of the modern workspace and these skills should be developed early.

The native students will be keen to show you their country. You will be able to regale those back home with tales of your visits to iconic sites only seen on postcards. They will also show you the most interesting parts of it, the parts which the tourists miss. Those back home who are still sitting on the same bar stool they were when you left will wonder what they missed as they see the hundreds or thousands of pictures on your social network page.

New opportunities

Foreign institutions provide an opportunity to study subjects which may not be available in your home country. You will be exposed to different teaching materials and different teaching methods which you can put into play when you go home. 

Seeing the world through the lens of another nationality will make you a more well-rounded individual. You will able to discuss issues with an eloquence not found in those who have not embraced the chance of foreign study. You will pick up certain nuances and inflections in your speech and mannerisms which will make you stand out from others, and people will listen to you simply because you seem a little more 'exotic' and worldly.

Leaving familiar surroundings can be daunting, even frightening but the world has shrunk in recent years and one can be anywhere on the planet in a day. And with technological advances such as Skype and Facetime, you can see and speak to those people you miss from home really easily meaning that distance is no longer a reason not to embrace the chance of a lifetime.

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