Less than 10 percent of students enhance their higher education with international studies. You’d think that number would be higher given the experience that you gain – both cultural and academic – but for some reason more students don’t decide to go. We found the nine biggest excuses that are the roadblocks to students studying abroad.
Here they are (the biggest excuse is at the bottom):
1. Wary of Another Country and Culture
Experiencing a different country and its culture should be considered a reason TO study abroad. Forget the words “culture shock”. You should relish the opportunity to have this amazing international experience and take it all in.
It’s enlightening to actually live in (not just visit) another country – interacting with diverse students, becoming immersed in a foreign lifestyle, and learning through your host university.
The people eat different foods (at different times), they speak a different language, and follow different sports. These are all part of your once-in-a-lifetime study abroad program.
Studying abroad not only enhances your academic education, but expands the way you view a culture other than your own – forever!
2. I Will be Away from My Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Think of it as a true test of your relationship.
3. Difficult to Live Away from Family and Friends
Ok, what if you studied abroad in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s and you were limited to writing actual letters and making the occasional albeit, expensive, phone call to your parents.
It can be hard to be apart, but your family will be happy (and excited) for you. Your friends, too, although they’ll probably also be a little jealous. Plus you’ll make new friends along the way among the locals, as well as with other international students.
4. Obtaining a Student Visa
This varies by country and really is not a worry – your study abroad advisor will walk you through every step of the way. It’s what they are there for. It may be unfamiliar territory initially, but remember, you don’t have to do any of this alone.
5. Concerned About the Health Services and Costs
You should understand that when you study abroad, your health is taken seriously.
Your counselor, school, and guidance system will make sure that you have the proper international health insurance before you go. As a matter of fact, they won’t let you leave to begin your study abroad program without it.
As far as cost is concerned, international health insurance is extremely affordable for college students.
6. Not Confident Enough with a Foreign Language
If you decide to go to a non-English speaking country, this should be looked at as a blessing in disguise. Learning a new language is a great way to distinguish yourself when applying for a job and will give you a leg up in your career.
If you’ve had any experience with language learning, you have probably heard that immersion is the best way to learn or to hone your language skills. As someone who failed their high school Spanish class I can tell you from experience that it definitely is. Actually, the language will become second nature, a part of your daily life. The more you work at it, the more your skills will improve, and the easier it will be to converse.
And before you know it, your new foreign language won’t be so foreign.
7. Security Issues with the Host Country
This isn’t just a concern for students, but for anyone who is thinking about traveling to a foreign country. If you do a little research about the country and city you want live in, you’ll likely discover that it is less dangerous than where you are living now. It is kind of like people who get scared of flying on an airplane even though they have a higher chance of getting killed in a car. Students enrolled in a study abroad program are in good hands.
8. Their Credits Won’t Transfer
Umm, they will. You can find all of this out prior to making a selection of city and host university. This is the second biggest fear students have when thinking about studying abroad, but by far is also the easiest hurdle to jump.
It is not a valid reason for students to dismiss the idea of an international education. Your classes and courses will mesh perfectly with the academic path you have chosen at your home university or college.
9. They Can’t Afford It
If you take it at face value this one makes sense; students are broke to begin with. They’ve got loans, they’ve got jobs, they’re busy studying, and they just don’t have the time or money to go. Or so they think. Yes, studying abroad can be more expensive than your average semester of tuition, but if you’re smart about it you will find that it is affordable. It could even cost less. Consider a budget savvy destination or a more affordable program that works with what you can spend.
Financial aid of all kinds is available, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Jobs and sublets are additional ways you can defray the tuition fees and living costs of your time abroad. There are lots of options to check out and your school’s financial aid or study abroad advisor can help.
It doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, opportunities for financial assistance are readily accessible to help make your study abroad dream a reality.