Studying abroad can conjure mental pictures of reading in Parisian cafes, learning to navigate your way around the Tokyo subway, or sunning yourself on an Australian beach. It might also make you think about being lonely, lost, and broke.
Every experience comes with its ups and downs, and while none of these imaginings are entirely accurate, on balance, studying abroad tends to be a much more positive than a negative experience. Unfortunately, students often avoid exploring it as an option because they have several misconceptions about it.
5 Common Myths About Studying Abroad
Below are five common myths and why they aren’t accurate.
1. It’s Too Expensive
It’s very common to assume that studying abroad is out of the question because of the cost, but there are several reasons that this isn’t true. First, look at how you’re funding your current education. As is the case with many students, that might be through a combination of loans, savings, and scholarships.
If you’re not yet sure how you will pay for your education or struggling to pay, you might want to consider searching and applying online for scholarships. You can find Going Merry scholarships for college students and others for which you might be eligible.
Some types of scholarships and student loans can be applied to programs in a foreign country. Some overseas universities will offer funding packages that can help you cover costs. Your school might also have an agreement that allows you to pay your regular tuition in exchange for a semester abroad. At some schools, direct enrollment might be comparable to or cheaper than attending your own. It’s also worth considering the cost of living in the place you’re planning to go, which could be significantly lower than where you are now.
2. You Have to Know Another Language
If you’re going to a country where a language other than English is spoken, your experience there will be greatly enhanced by knowing the other language. The depth and breadth of your experience will increase depending on how fluent you are. However, you don’t have to learn another language.
You can use language learning apps or study abroad in English-speaking countries, but there are probably opportunities in non-English-speaking countries as well. Often, international classes are taught in English. In addition, you will generally find that many people speak English. If language is your concern, talk to the study abroad advisor at your school or with the program you’re considering.
3. You’ll Be Lonely
This is a common worry. It doesn’t just lead to students deciding not to study abroad at all. It can also lead to them only going with friends and only hanging out with people from their school or country. This is a mistake because it robs them of the fullness of the experience.
It can be hard to make new friends, especially when there may be a language barrier, but it’s worth all the difficulty. You’ll find many young people from all over the world who are eager to get to know new people as well, and you may make friends that last a lifetime.
4. There Are No Long-Term Benefits
Sure, going to school in another country for a while might seem like fun, but isn’t it just indulgence? How can it help you in your career? In fact, there are many potential career benefits.
Employers value this on your resume because it demonstrates to them that you are adaptable, independent, and culturally aware. Learning a foreign language can also be beneficial. Many people find studying abroad to be a life-changing experience. You’ll develop problem-solving abilities, resilience, and other skills.
5. You’ll Miss Out on Other Things
People often hesitate to jump at the chance to go to school in another country because they are worried about what they’ll miss out on back home. The fact is using education as a chance to travel is so smart and often any time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to other things.
There may be some significant events that you miss out on at home, but you’ll be having your own significant events and making lasting memories. At the same time, you’ll become a more confident, well-rounded individual, and studying abroad isn’t forever. Soon enough, you’ll be reunited with your family and friends back home.