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Posted Feb. 27, 2017

Postgraduate Studies Abroad: Expectation vs Reality

Studying Abroad ExpectationsDeciding to study abroad is one of the most important decisions you will have made in you life so far. The truth is, living abroad is a wonderful experience, but it is often surrounded by numerous assumptions. While many of them are true, some are very far from it. Only if you have a clear mind about the 'expectations and realities', you can make your abroad experience live up to its hype! Here we take a look at some of the assumptions about studying and living abroad – and what the reality may in fact be…

I'm going to have a lot of international friends

In truth people rarely find a bunch of friends immediately after moving to a new place. Do not rush things, there is something people call a 'culture shock' and you will probably have to go through this period at the beginning of your new journey. In reality, the majority of students that move overseas for their studies make their first friendships with people from their home city or at least with those they share some common geographical ground with. It is long after that they step out of this comfort zone and allow themselves to interact with people who come from other parts of the world. It is a good idea to try and make contacts before you move to your new country.

I will sound like a native speaker in three months

Many researchers have pointed out to the fact that people can learn a language much, much easier if they are directly exposed to it. However, we are all aware that every language has many different dialects. So, if you are expecting that you will master the language quickly you are likely to be disappointed. You may be able to learn the language or even become fluent in it, but you will need much more than a couple months – or even a couple of years – to sound like a native. Additionally, studying abroad usually means being in contact with people from all over the world. Therefore you will be greatly exposed to other languages, which is amazing, but it is yet another reason why you will not be able to completely immerse yourself in the language of the country you are residing in.

I will party all the time and every day will be an adventure

Sorry to say this, but as a postgrad student your studies will be more time consuming than you think – allowing little time for partying, and every day will not be an adventure unless you see the library as something adventurous. The main reason why you are abroad is to study and as a postgraduate student there will be many days that you’ll have to spend in the library. Although every postgraduate program is different, they all have one thing in common, you need to study a lot.

I will get a job immediately after I finish my studies

Everyone thinks that other countries work better than their own. Even though this is true sometimes, no country is the 'perfect land of opportunity'. If you decide to study abroad, do not think that people will be waiting for you in front of the university right after you graduate to offer you a job. It is you who will have to run around and look for a job yourself. And in most cases, you would have to start as an intern and prove what you have learned.

I will have the time of my life!

There is one expectation that makes you forget about all the challenges in an instant. Fortunately, this is absolutely the best one and it is real! If you decide to study abroad, be ready to see spectacular new sights, visit amazing places, meet interesting people and be exposed to a whole new world you couldn't have imagined living in!

In conclusion…

People who have studied abroad speak of the experience as the best time of their lives. Studying abroad is your opportunity to fall in love in another country, make new life-long friends and immerse yourself in a world of fun you will never experience if you don’t take the risk. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to go for it!

Author bio: Julie Petersen is a blogger at She spent a year in London doing her postgraduate program, that's why she provides tips for students to help them adapt quicker.

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Jen Wen Dec. 11, 2017, 6:12 p.m.

Great suggestions and a great read! I will definitely recommend your article to students considering post graduate studies abroad.

Thank you for the lovely read.
Jen Wen

Charlotte King Jan. 3, 2018, 2:59 a.m.

Great - We're glad you found it useful.

We have some other great articles about studying abroad like this one:

Happy reading - Charlotte

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