Over the last few years, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has dipped. In the academic year of 2019-2020, it went down from 347,099 to 162,633 students. In large part, the decline of a whopping 53% is due to the COVID-10 pandemic. Many international companies rue the change as they worry that this will result in a shortage of internationally competent workforce.
When mulling over studying abroad versus studying locally, there is no easy choice. The simple truth is that each option comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. It all boils down to how the pros and cons of these options stack up against your long-term educational and career goals.
Are you facing such a dilemma? Do you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall trying to get a handle on the benefits and drawbacks of the two options? You’ve come to the right place then. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between studying abroad and studying locally and their implications for your future. I’ll walk you through these to help you make an informed decision.
Which one is cheaper or more cost-effective?
As a rule, studying locally is cheaper and more accessible. It is also likely that you will gain access to scholarship opportunities and financial aid more easily. As a local citizen, you must be eligible for various opportunities to support your studies that international students might have no recourse to.
If you want to study abroad, you need to factor in the cost of living, transport, and meals, especially if you have no scholarship or financial aid to cover these. Some countries do not allow international students to work, so you cannot plan to earn anything in your free time.
In addition, you are never going to feel homesick! No cultural shocks and no fear of learning all the dos and don'ts to survive in a new country. This is an important factor for consideration if you come from a culture where family ties, extended family networks, and local friendships are an integral and inseparable part of the social fabric.
Which one offers better quality?
This is a tough one to respond to with a definitive answer. Costs vary from country to country and from college to college. It probably comes down to the specific subject or major you want to choose. You would need to do your due diligence to find out which college or country offers better quality in relation to the subject you chose.
Read lots of reviews, ask your fellow students and tutors, and talk to the local educational institutions to find out more before making your call. Do not forget to pick up the differences between curricula offered in different countries. Teaching styles also vary, so make sure you are comfortable with them before you apply.
Whether you choose a local college or an educational institution abroad, you must complete numerous essays and other college assignments. When pressed for time, you should not hesitate to use the reviews offered by LetsGradeIt to identify a reliable and trustworthy writing service to complete your assignment by top writers and at a reasonable cost.
Which one offers more diversity?
While many colleges locally might have lots of international students, there is no doubt that studying abroad has greater potential in terms of offering culturally diverse experiences and opportunities. At the end of the day, these experiences might prove to be crucial if you go on to work for an international company.
By broadening your horizons, learning about other cultures, and building an international network, you learn how to adapt to different cultural contexts more easily. Local knowledge is often a decisive factor for ultimate success.
By studying abroad, you expose yourself to new insights and different ways of doing things. You come to appreciate other people’s viewpoints, lifestyles, and independence.
In addition, you will be encouraged to learn a new language! This is an important incentive in case you are contemplating a possible career in the country where you plan to relocate for your college studies.
Which one is more strategic?
This should depend on your overall goal and career aspirations. If your goal is to develop an international career, you might be better off choosing an internationally recognized institution for your college education. If the goal is to work in the public sector of your own country, picking a local college might prove to be more advantageous, as it will let you learn more about the local work culture.
In any case, you should start building your network of professional contacts, which you can draw on later in your career. Casting the net wide makes a lot of sense because you might be swapping jobs and learning new skills as you go. Helpful advice from fellow students, professionals, and peers never hurts.
Are there any alternatives to these two?
Throughout the pandemic, many students switched to remote learning. Distant learning had already been around before the pandemic hit the world. Technological advances made remote learning easier to manage. Lots of students are now choosing hybrid models of learning too, alternating class-based and virtual learning sessions.
If you cannot or do not want to move out of your country of residence but are still interested in gaining access to educational opportunities abroad, consider remote learning as a viable option. It could be a happy medium between the two goals.
When it comes to choosing a country or a college for education, choosing the right path can be a daunting task. While choosing a local college looks more hassle-free, cost-effective, and practical, it does not always offer the kind of diversity and cultural nuance that students benefit from when they go abroad.
The truth of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all option. Every situation is unique in its own way. Each decision needs to be based on your long-term goals, evidence, and a sound appraisal of pros and cons. It is only this sort of analysis that can pave the way for a decision that will make your learning experience a worthwhile investment with far-reaching effects.
Authors Bio'-Joanne Elliot
Joanne Elliot enjoys writing about student life, college life, and everything in between. As a college student, she has done a lot of traveling while studying abroad, so Joanne’s blogs are backed up with both facts and personal experiences. She is a real guru when it comes to comparing and contrasting the advantages and disadvantages of various study locations, colleges, and academic programs.