So much to do, so much to see, places to go and people to meet, things to learn and food to eat.
It’s overwhelming – in a wonderful way – which doesn’t make it easy to choose where to settle on when you decide to study abroad.
We spoke to nine students from all over who have been there, done that, made the decision, and probably got a T-shirt or two to prove it.
Who knows, their decision could inform yours…
Ieva, Lithuania to UK
Ieva had never been abroad before but had always desired to do so. “I wanted an adventure, something new. Something I could be proud of,” she told Study International.
The UK was an easy choice for Ieva because its degrees are internationally recognised and renowned – plus, having a good grasp of the language was a bonus!
She added: “maybe as well because I knew people who lived in the UK so thought it is going to be less scary than going somewhere where I don’t understand the language and don’t know anyone.”
Mohamed, Iraq to UK
“I felt that my bachelor’s degree isn’t enough and there is a lot to learn in my specialty, […] computer networks.”
Mohamed chose the UK because, before university, he had a teacher who graduated from the same university he is currently enroled at, “and she talked to me a lot about the university, [and] about the teaching in the university.
She told him about what life is like in the UK and how “the people are so kind and they just want to help you.”
“Here in my country, they don’t focus on giving the student the best information they can so that it could help them in their career,” so going abroad to seek a better education seemed like a necessity.
Henry, UK to Malaysia
Henry really wanted to have an “independent experience”. Moving to Malaysia from the UK was a big step at finding his way in the world, making him more of a global citizen.
“Although the place that I chose might not be top-notch,” it made sense as the family business was over in Malaysia so he took the leap and moved over too.
Maddie, US to UK
“I decided to study abroad because I realized the college years are the best time to travel since I didn’t have a job keeping me in one place,” Maddie explained to Study International.
She chose the UK specifically “because I wanted to get my degree in Creative Writing and I didn’t want to complicate it by picking a country with a primary language that wasn’t English.
“I had also never been out of the US before and figured that the UK would be different enough to have a study abroad vibe, but similar enough to not be entirely unfamiliar.”
Shannon*, Malaysia to UK
Shannon summed up her decision to leave Malaysia simply as: “It’s a cultural thing.”
“Most people in Malaysia have this concept that if you studied in US or UK or Australia you’d have better chances of getting work,” although she adds this is not necessarily true.
Also, “most highly ranked universities with ‘the best education’ seem to congregate in countries that are not Malaysia,” she said. “That kind of mindset is slowly changing though.”
Shannon’s decision to study in the UK specifically was predominately based around the fact her international school in Malaysia used the British curriculum, so her qualifications provided her with a “smoother transition” into the UK compared to other countries like the US or Australia where she would have needed to take another exam.
Sarah, Germany to UK
Sarah wanted to push herself by being away from home as well as gaining some independence, striking out on her own.
She chose the UK as she “always had a very romantic view of England from stories, knew the language,” and it wasn’t too far away from Germany.
Rebecca, China to US, Germany, Italy
“When I lived in China a lot of my friends planned to [study abroad] because of how tough the competition was to get into a Chinese university,” Rebecca told Study International.
“Due to the high volume of students each year, going abroad meant more opportunity to get into a ‘good’ university,” she explained.
The US was “most popular but my other friend was obsessed with Germany so went to study there,” she said.
González, Columbia to UK
González said his decision to leave Columbia for his degree centered around the higher quality of education in the UK compared to at home. “Moreover, there is no degree like that in my country,” he added.
He also said “the British reputation in terms of education,” was important to him and he was familiar with the language which made the UK an appealing destination.
Patrycja, Poland to UK
Just like González, Patrycja claimed the language was a great selling point. In Poland there is a “big emphasis on learning foreign languages,” she explained, “and English was the language I’ve always been exposed to and really enjoyed studying.”
She even took extra lessons and “became really interested in English culture and history.”
“So naturally as I developed those interests I wanted to study in the UK.”
She explained the whole concept of studying abroad was always somehow linked to England in her mind, “because of the prestige associated with it and also the general impression I got in Poland that people who studied abroad were better regarded,” although she admits she is unsure whether this is actually true.
What drew her to universities in the UK was the “critical approach to teaching and studying and the ability to develop independent thought.”
At home, the education system is centred around “spoon-feeding and having to remember masses of information by heart to be recited during the exam,” which was not an appealing idea for Patrycja.
The “tailored approach to module choices” English universities provide was also a major selling point.
“In Poland when you study a degree you tend to do some very irrelevant subjects that are not necessarily connected to what you are actually graduating in.”
Employment prospects were also incredibly important to Patrycja, who claimed she felt she would have “more opportunities for employment after graduating from a foreign university rather than one in Poland especially since I am interested in pursuing a career in international organizations.”
From the language to the prestige, independence to the travel experience, increasing the likelihood of admission to increasing job prospects, adventure to a better standard of education, specialised courses to stories from family, friends, and teachers. There are thousands of good reasons to study abroad and to choose a particular country.
What will sway it for you?
* Not her real name.
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