You might think that your junior-year study abroad in Mexico was your only chance to live and study in another country. Or you may think that because you opted to stay domestic for your undergraduate degree that you missed out on the opportunity to gain international academic experience. If so, you would be wrong. While undergraduate study abroad experiences are becoming a vital part of a bachelor’s degree, studying abroad for post-graduate degrees is often as valuable, if not more so than short-term undergraduate programs. Here are five good reasons to complete your post-graduate degree in another country.
Many students assume that a post-graduate degree abroad will be more expensive than a domestic degree, but in many cases, international study for a master’s degree can cost the same or less than staying at home. How is that possible? Well, first it depends on your home country. In the US, post-graduate degrees can be extremely costly, but in many countries around the world master’s degrees are relatively inexpensive. In Spain, a Masters degree can cost as little as $3000. Finland, Norway, and Germany all offer post-graduate degrees for little to no cost for international students. And even though living expenses may vary from country to country, there are ways to earn while you study which can help to offset maintenance costs, and if you finish without a big student debt looming over you, your future will be more flexible.
One of the most important things about continuing your education is to expand your worldview, and while moving across the country to a new university can give you a different perspective studying abroad in a foreign country exposes you to a wealth of opinions, practices, knowledge, and ideas. You may think that coursework will be the same no matter where you go, but each country has a unique approach to academia. That means you have the chance to experience something new, and you can choose a program or culture that suits your academic style. And remember that master’s degrees vary in length depending on where they’re completed, giving you even more options.
It’s easy for students from around the world to forget that their country’s education system isn’t necessarily superior to all the others. Education has become global and competitive, and prestigious programs in a wide range of subjects can be found throughout the world. Many top business schools have campuses around multiple countries, and Singapore, Dubai, India, France, and Switzerland all have MBA programs that are ranked among the best in the world. But prestigious international institutions aren’t just for business students. China, the Netherlands, and the UK all play host to some the best post-graduate programs in Architecture, while Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia are top-ranked for Masters in Education.
Undergraduates are told that studying abroad is a great way to develop marketable skills and experiences. The same holds true for graduate studies. While a master’s degree will enhance your resume no matter what, a degree from abroad will make you different from your competitors. Many employers are looking for applicants with international experience and foreign languages, and a Masters abroad will give you a chance to develop your ability to work in challenging environments and learn a new language (or become fluent in one that you studied earlier). In fact, because most post-graduate degrees take at least a year to complete, your time spent abroad as a master’s student will be more impressive than a short-term study abroad during the summer after your junior year.
Last, but not least, studying abroad as an undergraduate may have been fun, but for many students, an international post-graduate degree might be the last chance to live abroad. Of course, you’ll always be able to travel, but once you’ve settled into a career, it can be difficult to find the time or the opportunity to spend significant time in a foreign land. And for students who are considering the ex-pat life, a master’s abroad can be the perfect trial-run. You’ll get a real sense of what living and working in another country can be, and will have the chance to find out if you’re ready to make a (semi)-permanent leap into what is hopefully now not the completely unknown. If nothing else, another year or three of international study will give you plenty of opportunities to explore, make new friends and connections, and fill up your passport with colorful stamps before heading back home, or out into the world.