Why You Should Study Abroad for Graduate School

Posted May 24, 2013 by
Group of people in Spain learning Spanish

Group of people in Spain learning Spanish. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Going to graduate school can enrich your education and create great job prospects in the future, but not all opportunities are created equal. Within any field of study there is a lot of variance in the characteristics of each program. Applicants need to consider the cost of a program, the quality of the education, the location where you will be living and the post-graduate job opportunities that will be available to you.

That’s a lot of information to wade through, even with most students looking only at domestic programs when narrowing down their options. That’s a mistake, though, because a lot of schools in foreign countries have respectable programs with a lot to offer to students coming from the United States. This is particularly true if you are interested in getting a degree but are concerned about the cost. But that’s not the only benefit to going overseas to get a graduate degree. Here are some reasons why you should expand your search to the international scene.

You combine traveling with studying

Undergraduates are drawn to study abroad programs because they provide the opportunity to travel while still allowing those students to continue their pursuit of a degree. Similar benefits are offered through a graduate study program, with some differences. For one, many graduate students are able to complete their entire course load at an international destination, in the process earning a degree from a foreign institution. And unlike undergraduate programs, graduate programs often challenge students while abroad, although there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the foreign setting.

You get a different perspective

Living and studying in a foreign country gives you the chance to see the world from a different perspective. In some cases, this can directly benefit your educational pursuits, particularly if your studies revolve around social issues, politics or international business, among others. But even if your degree program doesn’t directly benefit from an international setting, you still gain the personal life enrichment of these travels. This can help you in your professional and personal life, not just now, but for years to come.

You can save money

If money talks, then it’s precisely what might get some prospective graduate students to listen. Studying overseas can offer a much more financially viable alternative to domestic studies for a few key reasons. For one, many programs in Europe and around the world condense studies into less time than what is required in American schools, shortening your student time — and tuition costs — while getting you out into the work force faster. Depending on your circumstances, you might still quality for U.S. financial aid even while studying overseas.

Some of the costs associated with overseas travel might also be much less than what you might expect. Application fees are less common with international graduate programs, and student health insurance plans offer a cost-effective solution to purchasing health care when in a different country. These savings can easily tip the scale in favor of overseas studies when viewed strictly from a financial standpoint.

Ultimately, the best college match for you depends on a number of factors, including your comfort with the program’s coursework. A graduate degree is a valuable investment and an asset you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. But if you want to maximize your value by saving money and enriching your experience, then an international program might be your best choice.

Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area and she writes on education and social media. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

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