There are so many options for international students these days. With popular study abroad countries competing with each other to have the most international students, making a decision can be overwhelming.
But where is the best place for you to study abroad? It’s a subjective question, and students often find themselves confused and unsure about where the best fit for them would be.
You may be tempted to listen to your friends and study where they are, or take advice from your parents, but no one really knows what’s best for you, except, of course, yourself.
Why it is so important to find the right place for you? Well, you don’t want to spend a huge chunk of money on a programme only to leave it halfway through because it wasn’t the best fit or because you found you were miserable.
A bad decision over where to study can make what’s meant to be a positive experience really negative.
When choosing a place to study abroad, there are many factors to consider: budget, programme quality, weather, work opportunities after graduation, proximity to your home country, and more.
To help you make an informed decision, here are the pros and cons of studying in the three most-popular study abroad destinations: the US, the UK and Australia.
If you find none of these appeal to you, try looking at other countries like Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, France or even the Netherlands.
The so-called land of opportunity is incredibly appealing to many international students from countries in Asia, who have generally grown up watching American TV shows and movies and eating American snacks.
It’s often a dream come true for many to study here. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? Here are the pros and cons:
The American style of higher education is attractive for students because most courses are non-cumulative, meaning the overall assessment is broken up into semesters.
If you aren’t doing particularly well in a certain subject, you can quickly make up the difference in a final exam or by earning extra credit, as most of your grades are made up of a combination of assignments, class participation, tests and exams.
You also have the opportunity to take electives outside your major, making for a well-rounded education.
Plus, the country is huge, meaning there are a huge range of programmes, courses and universities in different climates, so it’s easier to find the right place for you.
Skilled faculty members and outstanding education quality ensures your degree will be recognised worldwide.
A major disadvantage is the high cost of tuition. Due to the strength of the American dollar and the fact that international students pay out-of-state fees, it can be very costly for students from some countries to study here.
Another reason the US is slowly losing popularity among international students is the government’s restrictions on working and settling down after graduation.
The H-1B visa is becoming harder and harder to obtain under the Trump administration – a major turn-off for some.
Depending where you choose to study, the weather can be extremely cold and quite an adjustment for studies from tropical countries.
Another country that has always attracted foreign students, the UK has plenty to offer. But is it the right choice? Take a look at the pros and cons:
UK higher education is synonymous with quality. It has some of the most reputable universities in the world, including the London School of Economics and Oxford University.
The pound is also very high and students are often attracted to the prospect of working and earning a good salary in the country after graduation.
The UK is also a beautiful, modern country with easy access to other European countries, and it is a diverse, multicultural society where students feel at home.
The biggest disadvantage for most students in the UK is the high cost of education. Tuition fees and cost of living are high, especially in London.
Courses are rigorous and challenging, and students are often required to stay on top of their studies to avoid falling behind which can be stressful.
The weather can also be unpredictable – it rains often during the summer, which can be a drawback for some.
Due to the upcoming Brexit, student work visas face uncertainty, so this may be a disadvantage for some. While reports show that Brexit hasn’t really deterred international students thus far, the country’s economic future is ambiguous.
There’s a high number of international students in Australia, but that doesn’t mean it’s the obvious choice. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of living and studying in the Land Down Under:
The beautiful country is rich in lush landscape, modern buildings and gorgeous beaches, on top of being relatively safe and peaceful. The large international and diverse student community means foreign students often find it easy to adapt and fit in.
Australians are friendly and laidback by nature, and many international students find them welcoming and hospitable. The weather is not as extreme as in other parts of the world, though it can get hot in the summer and quite cold at the peak of winter.
In terms of education, course offerings in the country are diverse and the standard of education is very high.
When it comes to settling down or working in Australia after graduation, it’s easier than the US. You can apply for a temporary visa which allows foreign students to remain in the country for 18 months after graduation to travel, work or improve their English.
The cost of education can be quite high for international students, as well as the cost of living in places like Sydney and Melbourne.
If you’re from a country like China or Malaysia and want to truly immerse yourself in the local community, the fact that there are so many international students might be a drawback.
Many students find it hard to integrate in the local culture and meet local friends because there are just so many foreign students who tend to stick together.