Increasingly, employers are looking to recruit students with an international outlook who are aware of the cultures of the world and have the skills to work effectively with colleagues, stakeholders, and customers from around the world. Governments also recognize the importance of international study for graduates. Foreign countries has long had an open approach to highly-skilled immigration, offering post-study work opportunities to its international students.
Employers and governments agree that international study can be a good thing, but what, in concrete terms, are the benefits of doing your masters abroad?
It will help you expand your horizons, discover a new country and culture and enhance your personal development.
Over half of the employers abroad have concerns about shortfalls in young people’s international cultural awareness. One way to demonstrate this skill is to show that you have studied abroad. Studying Abroad means living abroad and you have had embraced unfamiliar environments, cultural practices, and traditions. Even a new language. Unless you spend the duration of your degree with students from your own country (this may help you settle at the beginning but misses the point of an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture), it will allow you to gain an insight in a way of life which may be radically different from your own. This is as valid a reason as gaining an academic degree from an overseas institution.It won’t just be people from the country you study in that you meet. It is likely that if you are an international student, there will be other students from overseas. What you will gain by studying with these students is an added cultural dimension to your studies. And, imagine how great it will be to have international friends for life! This has more than social benefits: professional networks are incredibly valuable and your fellow masters’ students may be the future leaders of tomorrow.You also get to fly the flag for your own country. It doesn’t have to be overly patriotic but it may help you to see what great things your own country has to offer. On a personal level, studying abroad will also make you more independent. Especially if you did your first degree near your hometown, doing your masters abroad will give you new skills such as resilience and adaptability.
You will be exposed to a new study environment, learning and teaching methods as well as academics who have a different perspective
Doing your Bachelors/masters abroad will most likely involve getting used to a different way of teaching and learning. This may involve more hours in the classrooms and less of a focus on grades but it may also mean that the interaction with your lecturers is different from what you may be used to. It is worth observing how “local” students behave in the classroom (better still, speak to international students who are doing a similar masters to yours in the institution you have chosen). Do students challenge ideas put forward by teaching staff? Are you invited to debate and think critically? Can you call your lecturer by their first name? These are just some of the questions you will have to answer for yourself.The country where you have grown up will no doubt have eminent academics and scientists but not all the best thinkers are in the same country. What better way to broaden your mind than to gain ideas shaped by unique international perspectives?By going abroad, you will get to study at institutions which have an excellent reputation and education. The best university for you may not necessarily be where you thought it was. And it goes beyond the rankings. For example, is your master’s degree in a niche area not taught in your own country? Do they have experts, facilities, and resources (inc. natural resources) not available back home? Is your master’s degree specializing in a region? The best place to study your area-specific discipline is arguably in that country itself! Do you have an interest in American politics? Wouldn’t doing your masters in the US be a good option? Do you want to study tropical forests? Where would your masters best be done then?Something else to consider is whether the process of applying to do your masters is less complex. For example, not all countries require entry examinations and selection is based on your academic record. If you want to avoid having to sit a GRE exam, look into European Universities.
It will “internationalize” your CV and show that you are mobile.
Many multinationals recruit all over the world and all they are interested in is that they employ the best. Seeing that you are prepared to travel means that you may be more attractive to large companies with operations worldwide. Employers are not too fussy about how you gain your experience abroad but if you want to do a full masters degree abroad, you may wish to consider gaining some experience of studying/ working/volunteering abroad beforehand, for example doing an Erasmus exchange, undergraduate expedition/fieldwork, summer volunteering abroad, internship abroad) Your reason to do your masters abroad may then become going back to the country you enjoyed the first time around.Joint-masters (including Erasmus masters) is a good way to study in several countries for shorter periods of time and to gain a masters from overseas universities. It may be a good compromise if you wish to study part of your master’s at “home” (assuming a relevant joint masters programme exist between an institution at “home” and an institution abroad).
You will gain language skills.
Doing a Masters abroad isn’t just for language students and whether you are looking to consolidate your English skills or learn a new language, it will be an asset during your studies, in particular, if your course involves an internship in a local company, if you are doing quantitative surveys which involve interviews or if you want a part-time job. Of course, having knowledge of foreign languages (not necessarily fluency but just enough to break the ice) will also help you in your future job search. Studies show over two-thirds of employers are not satisfied with the foreign language skills of young people. While traditional European languages are appreciated by employers, some are looking further afield for example Mandarin.
A more attractive degree duration and structure?
Perhaps there is a very simple rationale for doing a bachelors/masters degree abroad? The structure of taught bachelors/masters degrees in your home country doesn’t suit you. Is your aim to do your bachelors/masters over a short period of time (say a year), albeit intensively? Or, do you prefer the idea of having a summer holiday during which you can do an internship or just have a break? Do you want to do your masters part-time but this isn’t really an option back home? You will find a format that suits you but makes sure you do your research. A masters degree will be similar in structure throughout the UK but this may not be the case everywhere so don’t assume that because one institution in your chosen destination offers an ideal structure that they all will.
Your career opportunities will be enhanced
Studying abroad will make you stand out and it will also enhance your knowledge of working abroad opportunities. Career advisors in your institution will have in-depth knowledge of the local labor market and of employers in the country. You may also have opportunities to meet company representatives at career fairs or at presentations during your studies or perhaps one of your course mates has some tips on how to approach a job search in their own country. You may also be able to acquire unique internships which will enhance your CV regardless of whether you stay on in the country you did your masters, go somewhere else or return to your home country where your international experience will be valued.
Where to go for your master’s degree?
So the last thing to consider is where to study abroad. Some destinations like the US and the UK are well known to international students but the picture is changing and new study abroad destinations are making headway. University World News recently featured India as an increasingly popular destination for Study Abroad. Another and a very important factor is the cost of education. Countries with competitive masters tuition fees include France, Germany, Sweden which are all home to excellent institutions.
Take Advantage of Scholarships and Financial Aid
Funding is usually one of the biggest issues for many prospective master’s students as they often already have loans from their bachelor’s degree, or may have spent four years outside of the workforce.Many students don’t want to be dependent on their parents, nor do they want to take out more loans that they will have to repay after graduation. This ranks as one of the top reasons a lot of students do not pursue graduate studies at home or abroad. But, if you decide to do your master’s abroad, you can take advantage of the plethora of available scholarships, grants and financial aid specifically for international students.Furthermore, there are many countries that allow graduate students to study for free or at a low cost. Take Norway, for example, which is one of the countries that offer free tuition to any student despite national origin, making it one of the most popular studies abroad destinations. European students are especially lucky, as they are able to study at many more European universities for free compared to students coming from outside of Europe.
Add Value to Your CV
By doing a master’s degree abroad, you also increase your future professional career opportunities.Students who excel in their programs often benefit from partnerships their university or institute of higher education have with internationally renowned businesses. If you fall in love with your host country, you may even be able to secure a job to stay permanently. However, whether you decide to go back home or stay abroad and work, you will surely see the positive effects your experience has on how employers view you and your CV.The skills you gain from studying abroad and the exposure to a new market will differentiate your resume. Additionally, choosing to do your master’s abroad can give you access to quality internships and high ranked programs in the best universities, which have access to world-class facilities such as libraries, labs, technology etc. These experiences will look great on your CV and you’ll enjoy it when you hear back from prestigious companies looking to hire someone just like you.
Find New Passions
If you’ve developed a specialized interest while completing your bachelor’s, you may have considered pursuing it further through graduate studies.However, studying abroad also has the added benefit of introducing you to subjects you may not have have been exposed to were it not offered at your host university. National literature, politics, languages, and history programs often vary greatly depending on geographic region.So, explore the political system of Germany, the literature of Japan, or the art history of Italy. If you have an interest in a particular subject, turn it into a passion by studying it firsthand. Your passion will be further supported by an expert, international staff who share your desire to learn and experience new things.
You may not have thought about it as a benefit for studying a master’s program abroad, but taking your degree program international has the added advantage of giving you a new perspective on home.Once you’re abroad, you will naturally miss your friends and family, but you may not realize exactly how much you actually appreciate them until there is a distance between you. Although bouts of homesickness may have you missing home cooked meals and company on holidays, your new international study location will give you much-needed perspective on what you love about your roots in your home country.And, if you’re nervous about the distance, there are many international master degree programs that run for only a year or two. To make sure you stay in touch in the meantime, you can read more about how to stay in touch with your family while studying abroad.
Branch Out and Try Something New
Did you do your bachelor’s degree in your home country? If so, it’s time to try something new and go international to pursue your master’s abroad.Don’t limit yourself! By doing your masters abroad, you have a chance to experience a new lifestyle and broaden your horizons. You’ll learn to socialize with many international students from various countries and backgrounds, creating long-lasting friends and professional contacts. You’ll also learn to communicate better across cultural and language barriers.If you’ve been looking for a way to move abroad, doing your masters abroad can be the perfect opportunity.
Increase your self-confidence
At first, you might have a fear of living alone in a foreign country but prove to yourself that you’re strong and there is nothing to be afraid of.Tell yourself that it’s only two years and it’ll end in the blink of an eye. You’ll have so much fun and you’ll get back home with lots of unforgettable memories. Doing your master’s abroad will increase your confidence because not only have you conquered your fears but you also acquired lots of knowledge and experience.
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