8 Myths About Studying Abroad—Busted

Studying abroad is a big step, so it is not always an easy decision to make. What often stops people from taking the leap, though, are a few thoughts about studying abroad like “it is too expensive” or that “it is a waste of time.” But many of these problems are not grounded or are easily solvable—and so should not be something to be greatly concerned about. Here are some myths about studying abroad and the truth behind them to ease your worries!

Traveling and studying abroad are the same.

Some people believe that traveling solo gives a similar experience to studying abroad, so these individuals opt to travel over enrolling in a foreign school. Traveling gives you a taste of the local culture, plus it is an over-all fun adventure. But studying abroad gives you all that and more. 

Not only do you get to immerse yourself deeper in a country’s way of life, but you are also able to build relationships with locals (as well as foreigners who are on the same journey as you!). More importantly, studying abroad results in a hard-earned degree (or certificate) which is very valuable in the long run—and something that you cannot get from traveling alone.

It is too late or too early to study abroad.

While most students aim to go on their semester abroad during their third year in university, the timeline is not set in stone. Students of any year can take a semester abroad as long as they have all the prerequisites. Even seniors can take an extra year to spend it in a university abroad! More-so, post-graduates may also decide to take additional courses or classes abroad to get more experience and to improve their resumes.

The process of studying abroad is too complicated.

There is a lot of paperwork that goes into studying abroad. Aside from the process of enrollment, there is also a process to get travel documents. But contrary to popular belief, the steps are usually very straightforward. As long as you have all the necessary requirements, submit everything on time, and work on the documents as early as possible, you should not run into any issues. Plus, many foreign universities and study abroad programs assist you in processing the things you need to start learning in their institution.

Only students with high grades can study abroad.

It is a common misconception that only students with high grades can study abroad—that schools in foreign universities have too-high standards for student admissions. But the truth is, even average students have plenty of opportunities to study abroad. Of course, some schools do require more from their applicants. However, with so many universities across the globe offering programs for foreign students, you have plenty of options that can cater to your needs and capacity.

It is too expensive.

Another factor that hinders students from studying abroad is expenses. Tuition, housing, daily spending—all those bills can pile up. However, there are many ways for students to lighten the load. There are scholarships and financial support programs available in many universities, even for students in study abroad programs. Some countries also allow study abroad students to work while studying to earn some money for extra spending.

When you are choosing a school and program for your study abroad experience, it is important that it fits your financial capacity. Most schools give estimates of how much you can expect to spend to complete a program. You will find these on their website or a brochure. You can also contact your preferred university’s admissions department to get the information. 

I have to be fluent in the local language.

While it is helpful to know the local language of the country you are taking your study abroad program in, it is often not a requirement. Many foreign universities offer English courses—sometimes they may even have programs taught in your native language! That said, it would still be better if you take some classes to learn the local language while you are in a different country. This can help you with your day-to-day life.

If you are worried about not learning the language quickly, you can also opt to take a study abroad program in an English-speaking country such as the United States or the United Kingdom.

Foreign students are treated differently in study abroad programs.

Some people worry about how they might be treated as students from a foreign country during their study abroad program. Most countries and universities that offer study abroad programs are generally safe and welcoming. You will most likely not be the only person from a different country in the program, so all of you will have a similar experience, making it easy to find some support no matter where you are from.

Teachers and school administrators always keep it professional, as well. They will treat you no differently as they do their own local students. Similarly, you can expect to be treated the same way a teacher treats their students back home, granted cultural differences.

Employers don’t value the study abroad experience.

Many people think of study abroad experiences as just an excuse to travel or enjoy oneself in a different country. Employers think so, too—that once they see it on your resume or curriculum vitae, it is equivalent to a gap year. But employers value study abroad experiences a lot, if not for the degree you obtained, then for the experience of working with different nationalities and living independently in a foreign country. 

LingualBox prepares you for an English education whether you are taking it in your home country or abroad. Book one of our classes with any of our professional English tutors today!

Jica Simpas is a writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She has over two years of writing experience in producing travel and food-related content. She is currently exploring new writing ventures to expand her practice.