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Common Myths About Going to Grad School Abroad

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When choosing where to apply to grad school, it can often feel unnecessary to consider potential universities outside of your own country. Whether it’s due to a lack of information available online or uncertainties about a different culture, it’s easy to be deterred from exploring your study abroad options.

However, if you’re willing to explore the options available to you in other countries, you may well find the perfect study program for you. Here’s why you shouldn’t be daunted by some of the most common myths about going to grad school abroad.

I’ll need to speak or learn a second language

If you’re looking to study abroad in English, you’d be forgiven for thinking your only options were the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the US. However, while English-taught programs used to be few and far between in non-English speaking countries, many European grad schools have turned to English as their main language of instruction in order to attract the brightest students from all over the world.

In France, for example, business schools like emlyon business school offer a range of master’s programs fully taught in English, as well as language-support classes for students who wish to learn French during their studies.

Some business schools even offer joint-degree with universities in neighbouring countries. The Msc in Management - European triple degree - Grande Ecole program, for example, is fully taught in English and split across three major European campuses. The two-year management course run by emlyon business school, Ludwig Maximilian Universität and Lancaster University Management School will take you to France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It offers four specializations: finance, marketing, strategy and corporate development.  

I’ll have to compromise on the quality of teaching

Just because you’re less familiar with a country’s education system, doesn’t mean the standard of teaching at their universities is poorer than you’d find at home. In fact, there are plenty of amazing study destinations in every region of the world, something which is proven by the geographical spread of institutions in the QS World University Rankings® 2018.

Europe alone is home to 369 of the universities included in this year’s rankings and some of these are among the most reputable, oldest institutions in the world. You can also use our rankings to find an institution that performs well for your chosen subject. emlyon business school, for example, saw its master’s programs in finance and management ranked 9th and 12th in the world respectively in the QS Business Masters Rankings 2018, which is no mean feat!

Traveling is a better way to explore the world than studying

There are other ways to see the world and explore a new country than the usual gap year holiday, and in many ways studying in a new country allows you to have a much wider range of new experiences than if you were merely visiting for a couple of weeks.

Being at university abroad also means you get to enjoy the benefits of traveling while also having a structure and safety net (not to mention a degree) you can rely on. You’re also more likely to make friends with locals at university than you are on holiday, which will in turn make your experience richer.

Employers will find my degree from abroad unusual

While this used to be true a decade ago, there’s been a dramatic shift in attitudes over recent years and employers are much more used to seeing candidates apply for positions having studied abroad. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find an employer who won’t be won over by your international experience, as knowledge of a foreign language and awareness of another culture can be major assets to a company.

In fact, according to a recent study, the unemployment rate five years after graduation among students who took part in an Erasmus scheme is 23 percent lower than among their peers with no international experience.

Moving abroad for a few years will ruin my relationships back home

Going abroad might feel like you’re turning your back on friends and family but it’s not really the case anymore. If you’re in a relationship, it’s so much easier to have a successful long-distance relationship now, particularly if you have an honest conversation about your expectations and visions of a shared future together.

Of course, it can be difficult to show your significant other that you’re thinking about them when you’re miles away, but little things like sending them messages to wake up to in the morning or putting impromptu care packages in the post can make them feel valued. Set up a routine, with regular Skype sessions and plan visits to see each other if you can afford it.

The truth? Studying abroad might be the best decision you ever make… Go on!

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