Going on exchange or completing your entire degree overseas is a tempting option. Studying abroad means you can make new friends, experience a different culture and travel on a budget. It can also help you get ahead when it comes to your career.
Need a little more convincing? Here’s our list of the top ten reasons to study abroad.
Adapt to a new environment
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, employers value soft skills like teamwork, collaboration, and oral and written communication just as much as academic qualifications. As you make new friends, navigate an unfamiliar educational system and generally adapt to life as an international student, you will perfect all of these social skills that will come in handy in the future.
Alongside making lifelong friends, studying abroad will allow you to expand your professional network. Maybe you’ll meet a future employee or a colleague who can teach you something new in your new home. Plus, you’ll be able to exchange ideas and advice with your professors, teachers and fellow students who may have a different perspective from the one you’re used to.
Work on your English
If you choose to study in a country where the dominant language is different from the one you grew up with, you will be able to add another talent to your resume. In a globalised world, English (or another second language) is becoming increasingly essential in the workplace. A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that the majority of executives surveyed believe their workforce will need to speak English in the future, with Mandarin also ranking highly.
Whether you’re living with your family or have already moved out to study or work, studying overseas will give you a whole new level of independence and prove to potential employers that you’re a problem-solver. Moving to a new country is a challenge, but the lessons you learn along the way will make figuring out the workplace seem like a piece of cake.
Study at world-class institutions
If you decide to study in Australia, you’ll have your pick of several fantastic educational institutions. The Times Higher Education, QS and Shanghai Rankings consistently rank Australian institutions in the world’s top 100 universities, with the Australian National University (ANU), the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of NSW (UNSW) leading the pack.
Maximise your earning potential
Studying abroad is an investment that could have a significant pay-off. According to the 2018 Global Skills Gap
in the 21st Century report conducted by QS, international experience was one of the top recruitment priorities among the employers surveyed. This demand could translate into an increased starting salary or faster progression up the ranks once you start your professional life.
Get valuable work experience
While you’re studying overseas, you will likely have the chance to complete an internship or work a part-time job. Whether it’s in a cafe or a multinational corporation, this experience will build your skill set and help you figure out the kind of career you want to pursue. Plus, many employers value real-world experience that complements your education.
Reflect on your own culture
The social and environmental differences between your home country and where you study will probably be significant, as well as all the new food, pop culture and places you can explore. Spending time abroad will give you a new appreciation for where you grew up, and you’ll be able to see your own strengths (and weaknesses) more clearly when you’re out of your comfort zone. These insights will help you stand out in the global workplace.
Pursue your dream career
Some fields, like marine biology or geology, are focused on certain countries around the world, meaning you’ll have access to experts and natural environments that are not available in your home country. In Australia, for example, the University of Western Australia (UWA) comes in at fourth in the world for mineral and mining engineering in the QS subject rankings, closely followed by UQ and UNSW. UQ also ranks at 17th for agriculture and forestry, while ANU comes in ninth for earth and marine sciences, and tenth for geography.
Travel the world
It’s true what they say: travel broadens your horizons. While you may not be able to quantify the exact effects of your study abroad experience at the time, you will be left with memories, experiences and lessons to draw on in the future. Studying overseas will make you a more well-rounded individual, both personally and professionally, and change your life forever.