The Pros And Cons Of Earning A Post-Graduate Degree Abroad
For some, it seems like the only option. For others, it’s more so about the experience and gaining more knowledge. And for many us it’s simply a means to an end. As if deciding to purse graduate school isn’t a major decision itself, completing it abroad is an even bigger decision.
I decided to complete my Masters of Social Work abroad – at the university I studied at during my junior year of college. I am almost finished with the first semester of my second (and final!) year, so I’ve had plenty of time to decipher many of the pros and cons of my decision. If you’re contemplating the possibility of traveling outside your home country to complete your post-grad degree, maybe my experience can help prepare you for yours!
The Pros Of Earning A Post-Graduate Degree Abroad.
Pro #1: It will be the experience of a lifetime.
As anyone who has studied abroad in any capacity will tell you, the experience will change you and your life forever; exploring new places, eating new foods, learning about those different than yourself and making life-long friends. This is especially true when you’re completing a longer degree because you’re able to truly settle into your new space and make it feel like home. You’ll also most likely meet people from around the world who will broaden your worldview and expose you to new things – both of which only enrich your life experience.
Pro #2: It forces you out of your comfort zone and to grow up.
While this may seem like a scary thought, it really is true. Completing a post-grad degree abroad entails packing up and moving for at least two years, and in another country that can be daunting. The process forces you to figure out finances and budgeting in another currency, figuring out the processes of another country, and more.
This is next-level adulting that you most likely didn’t have to do during your undergrad, and a phone call home isn’t as easy as it once was. But learning these skills will teach you to do this again if you’ve moved back home, and will also transfer across a broad range of areas in the future.
Pro #3: Of course, it will look great on your resume.
This one is a given; any experience abroad earns you instant brownie points. When you begin looking for jobs, employers will see this experience and want to learn more. You will most likely stick out from other applicants, and the time abroad illustrates maturity, resilience, and adaptability. It will also show them you are driven! These qualities are desirable across the board, so completing your post-grad degree abroad is the perfect way to advance these qualities.
The Cons Of Earning A Post-Graduate Degree Abroad
While there are plenty of benefits to completing your post-grad degree abroad, there are also some disadvantages…
Con #1: Trips home are much less likely or affordable.
Unfortunately, many countries have different university schedules and semesters, which can make visiting home at convenient times difficult or near impossible. This requires effort and heaps of efficient planning if you want to make it home for holidays. Quick weekend trips home or to visit friends are most likely off the cards.
Also, depending on where you are studying, flights can be incredibly expensive and travel days can be long. For those who are taking out loans to complete their study this can be really hard; especially if you are a homebody and are exceptionally close with your friends and family. This is a major consideration!
Con #2: Making friends as an adult is hard.
This is a cruel, cruel reality. As we grow older, we realize we took the childhood days of sports, extra-curricular activities, and clubs which were organised for us, for granted. These activities allowed us to meet other people with similar interests, which eventually made us friends.
As an adult in another country, even though you’re studying, sometimes we need to branch out. For all of us, especially those who identify as introverts, this can be very challenging, and therefore isolating. It can also be super intimidating to seek out opportunities to meet people in ways that don’t seem “weird”. But it is so worth it once you do!
Con #3: You (most likely) have to leave.
Odds are, you will fall in love with the people, places, and experiences of your time abroad. This is only going to make it so much more painful to return home, but what you gain from the experience will always outweigh this heartbreak. It’s a normal part of the overall journey that everyone goes through, but you will get through it and look back with positive memories. If you’re struggling to do this, check out our article on recovering from the post-study-abroad blues.
Overall, completing my post-grad degree abroad has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I cannot wait for the opportunities it will open up. It’s a big decision that requires much consideration but if it’s the right one for you, you will know.