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The Benefits of Studying Abroad

By Staff Writer

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

Whether a short-term exhange program or a full-length degree, studying abroad brings numerous benefits, many of which will last a lifetime.

A world of choice

First, you have almost unlimited choice. If there is something specific you would like to study, you are sure to find it on offer, at a level suited to you, somewhere in the world.

Teaching styles and study durations vary worldwide. Finding the right one can give the flexibility to create the study program just right for you as an individual.

Looking worldwide also allows you to focus on extra-curricular activities that you may wish to pursue alongside your studies. For example, many people select a university in an area of outstanding natural beauty, such as the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, to take advantage of outdoor pursuits alongside their studies.

Others may select a city-based university such as Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France, the London School of Economics, UK, or Columbia University in New York, US, for the world-class cultural experiences available.

Deciding to study abroad can also mean you have the choice to study at some of the world's best institutions for your subject. Here, global university rankings and subject-specific rankings can help you form a shortlist.

Personal growth

Going to university always entails a step towards independence, but this is multiplied many times over and is even more rewarding when the experience takes place abroad.

Learning to adapt to another culture and manage everyday life in another country - and often in another language - is a character building experience that will stand you in very good stead for the rest of your life, and will certainly give you an edge over your contemporaries, who have not taken this step.

Career advantage

Certainly, employers worldwide are keen on people with international experience, as every company's marketplace is now global. Increasing numbers of universities worldwide are now offering programs in English.

Beyond the obvious advantages of proficiency in more than one language, people who have studied abroad have first-hand experience of immersion in another country, culture and climate and will be better prepared to understand the 21st century economic environment.

People who have studied abroad display a higher level of independence and resourcefulness. Employers know that they will be able to rely on you in a multitude of future situations. Given the choice, they will usually select someone who has studied abroad in preference to someone who has not.

The above feature is broadly based on Chapter 4, 'The benefits of studying abroad', of the indispensable Guide to the World's Top Universities, published by QS in association with Blackwell Publishing.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in March 2016

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