Every year thousands and thousands of people leave the comforts of their homes to learn English in countries such as the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. Why do they do it? Many feel that by studying a language in a country where it is spoken, they will be able to learn it more quickly. Others feel that studying abroad gives them a kind of prestige in their home country. It may even lead to a better job. And quite a few people want to study abroad for the pure pleasure and excitement it brings.
But living and studying in another country can also have its problems. Almost everyone experiences some level of homesickness. And a few people go home earlier than expected because their ideas about living in another country were different from reality.
Is learning English abroad something you are interested in? Whether to learn a language by studying abroad is a big decision. You should be aware of what you are getting into before you start packing your bags.
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Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad does not mean you will learn English magically. Many people think that they just need to live in another country and they will learn the local language. This is not completely true. You still need to pay attention and study. There are people who live in foreign countries for many, many years without knowing the language well. However, it will probably come to you easier and faster than if you just studied the language in your home country.
Studying abroad can be hard. You will probably have times when you miss your family, friends, food, and everything familiar. Almost everyone goes through some culture shock. You will have to realize and accept that it will take some time to adjust to a new way of living.
Studying abroad can be expensive. There is no doubt that it takes money to study abroad. It can vary from kind of expensive to very expensive. Most places don't allow international students to work. You will have to have the money before you arrive in the country or have someone from home support you. Is this something that you and/or your family can afford?
Advantages of Studying Abroad
You are surrounded by English. Yes, you need to pay attention and do some studying, but everything comes faster when you do because English is everywhere- on the streets, in the stores, on the TV- you can't get away from it.
Your eyes are opened to the world. We often grow up thinking that our way of doing things is the only way, or sometimes the best way. But living in a new culture helps us realize new ways of doing things, and also helps us to see that even though we are different, we are all human. And in many cases, not only will you get to know the natives of the country you are visiting, you may get to know classmates from all over the world.
You learn to take care of yourself. Living in another country, even if it is with a host family, means you might be doing things you may not have done in your home country. These include cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, washing clothes, figuring out transportation, making living arrangements, setting up accounts for cell phones and utilities, etc. You may think of this as a disadvantage, but many international students go home proud that they have become very self-sufficient.
Your life will be forever changed. One of the greatest things that happens when you do something as big as live in another country is- you become a changed person- your outlook on life is different. Your new maturity can help lead you to new places in your life.
You make memories that will last a lifetime. Your pictures, journals, and souvenirs will help you remember your time abroad, but your memories and emotions of this special time will also be a part of your life until you are very old.
So how can you know if studying abroad is right for you? First, start by talking to people who have already done it. Of course everyone will have his or her own experience and point of view, but it can be really helpful to hear what other people have to say. If you don't know anyone who has studied abroad, ask others about their experiences through the internet. Dave's ESL Cafe is a good place to start.
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If you do decide that you are interested in going abroad, take a look at websites like www.StudyAbroad.com and www.HyperStudy.com to search for schools and get advice on where to go.
Studying abroad can really change your life. And hopefully if you decide to do it, it will be a wonderful experience for you. The very best of luck to you.
Retrieved From: http://www.5minuteenglish.com/study_abroad.html
Summary of "Should I Study Abroad?"
Suffer from constant homesickness especially during the early years of living abroad
The cost of education is very expensive
Institutions does not allow international students to work
Students are exposed to different kinds of learning environment
Students are exposed to different kinds of people and their various culture
Students are more independent and confident
Student's outlook of life will be changed
Is Studying Overseas Worth It?
Mon, 11/09/2009 - 15:50 - Nabilah
Before you can answer that question, you'll first need to know how studying overseas differs from doing so locally.
By Tan Yan Shuo
An overseas university education in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (US) can easily set you back by several hundred thousand dollars. In comparison, the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) all charge an annual tuition fee of less than S$10,000. Yet, every year, thousands of Singaporean students flock to universities in these countries.
You may be considering studying overseas too. However, before you jump on the bandwagon, it is important to examine your motivations for wanting to do so, and to ask yourself if they are justified. And most of all, to make a better, informed decision, you need to be elucidated on the major differences between studying overseas and locally.
Prestige and Career Opportunities
It is a myth that our local universities are less well-perceived by employers than their foreign counterparts. In a recent survey conducted by The Straits Times, three out of four public-listed companies said they had no preference with regard to employing local or overseas graduates, with the rest preferring candidates who studied in Singapore. Furthermore, both NUS and NTU have been ranked highly by The Times Higher Education, coming in 30th and 77th respectively in the 2008 World University Rankings.
However, our local universities' brand names do pale in comparison to that of top-tier overseas universities such as Oxbridge in the UK and the Ivy League in the US. While it is correct to say that your performance at the university matters more than its prestige in determining your career prospects, graduates from more prestigious universities nevertheless definitely have more opportunities. An overseas education also gives you an edge if you intend to work overseas, where the brands of our local universities tend to be less recognised. Indeed, many multi-national companies recruit directly from the campuses of top overseas universities.
However, when it comes to specialised degrees such as Law, Medicine, and Dentistry, our local faculties are just as selective and perhaps as prestigious as those of top overseas universities. Often, the effect of brand name is more pronounced for general degrees such as Arts and Social Sciences.
Quality of Education
There is little, if any, objective difference between the quality of teaching locally and overseas. Top overseas universities often boast big-name professors, and it is easy to be lulled into thinking that Nobel Prizes and similar accolades translate into quality teaching. However, in reality, being a good lecturer is a separate skill set from being a good researcher, and good and bad lecturers abound both locally and in top overseas universities.
When it comes to quality of education, the key differences between local and overseas universities lie in flexibility and variety of options. Universities from the US in particular stand out in being more flexible, and having more academic options than our local universities. While NUS, NTU and SMU rarely allow students to change their courses, universities in the US are known to allow such changes even into the junior (third) year.
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In addition, universities from the US emphasise broad-based curricula and cater to diverse academic interests through schemes such as personalised Double Degrees, Double Majors and Accelerations. The downside to these, however, is the lack of depth of study as compared to the demanding syllabi set by local universities.
The Overseas Experience
By far, the biggest difference between studying overseas and locally is the experience of living alone in a foreign country. You become a one-person household, and suddenly you realise there were a million things your parents did that you now have to manage by yourself.
Apart from doing your own laundry and cooking your own meals, there are also more significant things such as finding your way in a foreign society, and responding to setbacks without the comforting proximity of family and friends. Over the years, these individual experiences add up to make you a little more street-smart, a little more independent, and a little more mature.
As an alien in a foreign country, you will also face the prospect of learning the unspoken rules and social norms that others assume you already know, and dealing with people whose value systems and underlying assumptions about the world are radically different from your own. If you can cope with these challenges, you will emerge a more thoughtful, adaptable, and confident person.
Nevertheless, as enriching as an overseas experience sounds, it is not for everybody. Going overseas to study is like jumping into the deep end of the pool. Some are naturally good swimmers who flourish with the challenges, while others are mere beginners who will do better if introduced to swimming in a less intimidating environment. Likewise, not everyone at the age of 18 is ready to leave the comforts and familiarity of home.
Fortunately, there are other ways of gaining elements of "the overseas experience" without enrolling in an overseas university. Staying on campus can provide a simulation of living independently, and if you fall sick, you always have the option of returning home. For a more bite-sized experience of studying overseas, you can also apply for student exchange programmes offered by all three local universities.
Studying overseas is not the "Holy Grail" of university education. There is little, if any, compromise in terms of quality, prestige and career opportunities if you choose to study locally. Although studying overseas can be a unique and life-changing experience, it is not for everybody (whether due to cost or other factors), and there are other, albeit more circuitous, means of achieving the same outcomes.
Retrieved From: http://community.jobscentral.com.sg/node/1318
Summary of "Is Studying Overseas Worth It?"
Quality of education is better overseas
More job opportunities for students who have studied overseas
Some courses or subjects are not available in local institutions
Students are more independent
Students are more mature
Students are more confident
Students will be able to understand and experience the social norm and culture of the country
Will the difference make a huge impact on career path?
FOR a very long time, studying abroad was an option purely for the deep-pocketed elite. Apart from the cost factor, many families chose to send their kids overseas because of the cultural wealth and better job prospects that came with it.
Fast forward to today, many still choose to send their children overseas to pursue their education. Thanks to rising affluence, more families are able to send their kids abroad.
But are the benefits of studying some thousands of miles away versus just down the street so drastic that it's really going to make a huge impact on one's career path?
The main issue to consider when studying abroad is that it requires more financial support and planning. Lee, a 30-year old information technology graduate from the United States admits that the biggest issue about studying overseas is the cost.
"Studying overseas can be really expensive. Accommodation and food is denominated in a currency that's probably higher than ours. Furthermore, most countries do not allow foreign students to work, so you need to have money before you arrive in the country or have someone from home supporting you.
"However, having a foreign qualification helps to make your resume stand out compared with the rest," he says.
Dinesh Kanavaji, 31, is a practising lawyer in Malaysia who studied law in Britain in the late 90s. His two-year course cost him about £15,000 a year or about RM90,000 annually given the high exchange rate at the time.
"At the time, the tuition fees cost about £10,000 annually. Accommodation and food cost about £4,000 or so, this of course, provided that you lived at a campus hostel rather than elsewhere.
"Ultimately, it was a character-building experience, having to be able to live, cook and travel on your own," he says, adding that studying abroad also provides a unique opportunity for language and cultural immersion.
Dinesh also feels that the standard of education offered overseas is higher.
"The standard is higher over there. The lecturers are experienced and well trained, comprising doctors and professors that have written a few books. Many of the lecturers locally are quite young."
He also says the education in Malaysia (as far as law was concerned) was very academically-driven. "In Britain, they make you work and figure things out for yourself, creating a heightened level of maturity."
Dinesh's wife Melissa Ram, 32, studied her Bachelor of Jurisprudence degree in law entirely in Malaysia and is quick to admit the cost benefits of studying locally.
Compared with Dinesh, her four-year course (plus one year of A-Levels) cost just RM20,000.
"It probably would have cost me three times more if I had studied overseas.
"Also, you don't have to worry about getting home-sick and can meet up with your friends any time," she says.
Melissa however admits that the level of education in Malaysia (especially in law) was not up to par with the standard offered overseas.
"I participated in a legal workshop that was conducted by solicitors from London and could immediately feel that the quality of their training was far superior."
She says law degree graduates in Britain that studied for the bar exam (which qualifies a person to practice law) were subjected to hands-on training while the Malaysian equivalent of the bar, the CLP (Certificate in Legal Practice), is purely academic in nature.
"Those who do get the opportunity to study overseas should go," Melissa says.
Chan, 29, a local engineering graduate, says studying locally provided him with flexibility to do whatever he wanted during semester breaks.
"During your semester breaks, you can find good temporary employment at places such as McDonalds or a shopping complex for instance without the need to worry about work permits or the language.
He adds that food is also cheap and abundant in Malaysia compared with many other countries.
Who do the employers prefer?
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsudin Bardan says there is generally a preference for foreign graduates by employers.
"It's because foreign graduates are more proficient in English and have better thinking skills. They are more mature and independent than local graduates.
"In terms of qualification or technical ability, there's not much difference (with local graduates). However, when it comes to soft skills, foreign graduates have the advantage," he says.
A spokesman from the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management also concurs that there is a preference for foreign graduates.
"Multinationals, especially, are more keen to hire foreign graduates because they carry themselves better. They speak well and with confidence during the interview.
"Local graduates (who are more weak in terms of soft skills) don't express themselves well enough in front of the interviewer, who would think that the interviewee is just not prepared for the job."
He also says that there is a general perception that the standard of Malaysian education is more inferior when compared to the standards in other countries. "A lot of people have criticised the standard of our education, which has clouded the minds the way that employers think. The environment has to change. People and politicians should change this perception.
Retrieved From: http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=business&file=/2010/10/23/business/7255501
Summary "Will the Difference Make a Huge Impact on a Career Path"
Many parents send their kids to study overseas because they want the kids to learn new cultures.
The cost is actually the biggest issue when it comes to studying abroad.
The currency is higher.
Studying abroad lets students to learn how to live on their own or in other words, they have to be independent.
Studying locally is three times cheaper than studying overseas.
Students who study locally won't experience being homesick.
Students who study in the country will never have to worry about language.
The cost for food in our own country, Malaysia, is way cheaper than overseas.
Students who have degrees from foreign countries have better chance in being employed.
Graduates from overseas have more and better soft skills than graduates from local.
Foreign graduates perform well during interview compared to local graduates.
Why study abroad?
10 reasons why you should study in a foreign country
Have you considered studying abroad, but are not sure whether it's worth your time? If you ask anybody who has studied abroad, he or she will most certainly tell you that it is a life-changing experience and one of the most rewarding things he or she has ever done. Perhaps you're not certain what benefits you can reap from an extended stay in a foreign country. Here are 10 very excellent reasons why you should take the plunge:Â
1.Â Study abroad is the optimal way to learn a language.Â There is no better and more effective way to learn a language than to be immersed in a culture that speaks the language you are learning. You're surrounded by the language on a daily basis and are seeing and hearing it in the proper cultural context. Language learning happens most quickly under these circumstances. [ReadÂ why you should learn a language.]
2.Â Study abroad provides the opportunity to travel.Â Weekends and academic breaks allow you to venture out and explore your surroundings - both your immediate and more distant surroundings. Since studying abroad often puts you on a completely different continent, you are much closer to places you might otherwise not have had the opportunity to visit. Some more structured study abroad programs even have field trips planned in or around the curriculum.
3.Â Study abroad allows you get to know another culture first-hand.Â Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, appearances, and personal habits. A person's culture reflects very deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence his or her way of life and the way that s/he views the world. Students who experience cultural differences personally can come to truly understand where other cultures are coming from.
4.Â Study abroad will help you develop skills and give you experiences a classroom setting will never provide. Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting is scary at first, but it's also exciting. It's an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities, conquer new challenges, and solve new problems. You will encounter situations that are wholly unfamiliar to you and will learn to adapt and respond in effective ways.
5.Â Study abroad affords you the opportunity to make friends around the world. While abroad, you will meet not only natives to the culture in which you are studying, but also other international students who are as far from home as yourself.
6.Â Study abroad helps you to learn about yourself. Students who study abroad return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. The experience abroad often challenges them to reconsider their own beliefs and values. The experience may perhaps strengthen those values or it may cause students to alter or abandon them and embrace new concepts and perceptions. The encounter with other cultures enables students to see their own culture through new eyes.
7.Â Study abroad expands your worldview. In comparison with citizens of most other countries, Americans tend to be uninformed about the world beyond the nation's boundaries. Students who study abroad return home with an informed and much less biased perspective toward other cultures and peoples.
8.Â Study abroad gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine. Study abroad is likely to be much unlike what you are used to doing as a student. You may become familiar with an entirely new academic system and you will have the chance to take courses not offered on your home campus. It's also a great opportunity to break out the monotony of the routine you follow semester after semester.
9.Â Study abroad enhances employment opportunities. Did you know that only 4% of U.S. undergraduates ever study abroad? Yet, the world continues to become more globalized, American countries are increasingly investing dollars abroad, and companies from countries around the world continue to invest in the international market. Through an employer's seyes, a student who has studied abroad is self-motivated, independent, willing to embrace challenges, and able to cope with diverse problems and situations. Your experience living and studying in a foreign country, negotiating another culture, and acquiring another language will all set you apart from the majority of other job applicants. [Read aboutÂ careers in foreign languages.]
10.Â Study abroad can enhance the value of your degree. While abroad, you can take courses you would never have had the opportunity to take on your home campus. In addition, study abroad gives your language skills such a boost that it is normally quite easy to add a minor in a language or even a second major without having to take many more additional courses after the return to your home campus.
Adapted From: http://www.vistawide.com/studyabroad/why_study_abroad.htm
Summary of "Why Study Abroad?"
When a student studies overseas, he/she learns the language that the local people use which is unusual to the student.
It usually happens when a student stays and studies abroad, he/she will be surrounded by the people who use the language all the time.
It also allows students to travel to new places.
A student who studies abroad can also learn the people's culture which is something new to the student himself.
By learning other people's culture, students can also change their perceptions about certain things in life.
Students will also learn how to develop their skills in many things especially in soft skills.
A graduate from overseas will have better opportunities to get a job.
Students can have better opportunities to get a job.
A student can learn more about himself.
Students who study abroad can also make friends from people of different backgrounds.
There are wider selections of programs and courses offered by foreign learning institutions that can be chosen by students who study overseas.
Getting your degree locally
Distance from home is often an important factor when choosing where to study. You could probably group people into 4 different categories when it comes to choosing where to study and the distance it is from home;
Those that are keen to study at a university or college far away from home - sometimes even in a different country.
Those that want to study a certain distance away from home, but not so far that they can't reasonably get back for the odd weekend.
Those that want to study for a degree at a local college or university or at least one that's commutable from home.
Those that aren't bothered whether they study at local college or university or one that's far away.
In the UK there has been a bit of a tradition that when considering where to study for a degree, students look at universities and colleges fairly, or very, far away from home.
This tradition has recently started to change somewhat and more and more students are choosing to study at a local college or university and get their degree close to home.
There are a few reasons why when choosing where to study people are increasingly opting for a local college or university:
Probably the biggest factor of all. Going away to university is an expensive thing. Expenses like rent , bills, food, transport (whilst at uni and also travelling back and forth between university and home) can be removed or significantly reduced by staying at home.
Family, friends, community
Studying locally enables people to remain close to their friends and family whilst at the same time taking advantage of everything that being a student has to offer - a wider social group, clubs and societies, a Student Union, nights out and so on. You can also keep any part time jobs you might have.
Change in cultural attitudes
In many countries across the world such as Spain and Australia, most people get their degree locally and stay living at home. In the UK there has been a culture of 'going away' to study for a degree, but increasingly the Spanish and Australian way of doing things is being seen as a good option. The point is, is that the question of where and how to get your degree isn't set in stone. Just because there's been a culture in the past of going away to university, doesn't mean studying locally isn't just as valid and in many cases can be an even more attractive option.
Retrieved From: http://www.whatuni.com/degrees/university-application-ucas/study-local/local-colleges.html
Summary of "Getting Your Degree Locally"
Studying locally means that the students can be close to their homes
Expenses are much lesser if the students study locally compared to the expenses studying abroad
There is no need for them to pay for extra expenses such as bills, rents and others as they are living at home.
Students are also able to be close to family and friends if they study in local universities.
Their previous part time jobs could also be kept as an extra source of income, if they have any.
In the aspects of cultural attitudes, people are beginning to favour the option of studying in local universities.
Studying in the country does not mean it is not valid; it might even be a better option for the students.
LOCAL OR OVERSEAS?
With so many postgraduate courses available, both locally and overseas, how do you choose? Here are some things to consider before making a final decision. ByÂ C S CHING
Now that you have decided that a postgraduate programme is what you want to do, there are a
number of issues you need to address. One of the most important is deciding where you want toÂ pursue it.
You have two options - going overseas or doing it locally. Both options have their pros and cons, and you have to weigh each carefully to determine which suits you best. GRADUANÂ® explores the options available to help you make the right decision.
While a luxury before, pursuing studies abroad has become something many Malaysians can now afford. Relatively more expensive than studying locally, many regard a qualification from an overseas institution worth the money spent.
The most popular foreign destinations for Malaysian students are the UK, Australia and the US. Study opportunities in the UK and Australia are varied, with postgraduate opportunities at both taught and research levels. The US is a more traditional route for students who are committed to specialist research, especially in the sciences.
There are many reasons why some students opt to do their postgraduate work in an overseas institution. First, it could be because you did your first degree abroad and want to pursue postgraduate studies at the same institution. There are many advantages to this, not least being that you may be able to secure funding from the university and your lecturers can be your referees when applying for a place or a scholarship.
Also, you won't have to deal with the hassle of moving and getting used to a new environment as you will already be familiar with the area. Not only that, you would have made friends who may also stay back to continue with their postgraduate studies. This way, you will have some company helping you go through this major change in your life.
Studying abroad can also be an enriching experience, especially if you have never been overseas before. Not only will you be gaining a postgraduate qualification, you will also be coming home with international and multicultural exposure. You will meet many different people from all over the world and learn much from them.
Also, being in a new environment is a perfect opportunity to broaden your mind. This experience may come in handy, especially when you are looking for job opportunities. If you are planning on a career with a multinational firm, this exposure will help you communicate better with the different colleagues and clients you will meet along the way.
Being in a new environment is a perfect opportunity to broaden your mind. The opportunity to study in a world-famous institution will look very impressive on your resume
The key to making a right decision is to gather all the facts and weigh them against your desires and financial standing.
Some students opt for an overseas institution out of necessity because the specialised qualificationÂ may not be available in Malaysia. Institutions abroad are often also better equipped in terms ofÂ technology and expertise to allow you better access to the right kind of knowledge. This especially applies to scientific studies. Also, the opportunity to study in a world-famous institution will look very impressive on your resume. If you are given the chance to do this, do not turn it down as it will help your career in the long-run.
Â You may feel that a local institution may be the right fit to pursue your postgraduate studies. In fact, there are many institutions in Malaysia providing postgraduate programmes that are as good as those overseas. With this option, you won't have to travel far and spend so much money, and you will be receiving the same quality education at the end of the day.
Apart from that, proximity may play a major role in your decision. If you plan to pursue postgraduate studies part-time, this is the best option as you need not put your life on hold: you can still work full-time, while studying for a higher qualification. On the other hand, you may not want to be apart from your family, so a local institution may be your best choice. If you are married, this may be ideal as you need not uproot your family to a completely different country. Not only will this be an expensive affair, it can also be very disruptive, especially if you have school-going kids. Finances may be another important factor to consider in doing your studies here. Malaysian institutions will naturally cost a fraction of the amount you will need to pay at an overseas institution. Many local universities have tie-ins with universities abroad, so you still receive the same type of tertiary education, but at a far lower cost. There are also many foreign university branches here where you can explore the possibility of a postgraduate studies. These foreign branches offer the same courses and awards as the main campuses in their home countries. For example, Monash University in Malaysia offers a number of postgraduate courses.Â With the establishment of these branches, you can obtain a foreign tertiary qualification locally instead of having to go abroad, thus, saving you tens of thousands of ringgit.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION
In order to make a sound decision, you have to do a lot of research. If you can and money is
available, visit your chosen destinations before committing to a course. You also have to be realistic, as postgraduate study will take up a considerable amount of time. Decide whether you are able to spend that number of years at the location you have picked.
Being comfortable and happy at where you are is extremely important in ensuring you completeÂ your postgraduate studies successfully. Speak to as many people as possible. If distance is an issue, you can correspond with course tutors and other students via email. Ask as many questions as possible: remember there is no such thing as a wrong question.
The key to making a right decision is to gather all the facts and weigh them against your desires and financial standing. Be honest with yourself and plan how much this will set you back in the years to come. Write down the pros and cons of each possibility and go over them thoroughly before you make that important decision.
Retrieved From: http://www.graduan.com.my/Page/PGPGGuide/Article/LOCAL-OR-OVERSEAS
Summary of "Local or Overseas?"
Many people think that a qualification from an overseas institution is worth the money spent.
Most Malaysia students study in Western countries such as Australia, UK and the US.
One of the reasons why students choose to study abroad is because they did their first degree abroad and want to pursue postgraduate studies at the same institution
Students are able to secure funding from the university abroad and their lecturers can be their referees when applying for a place or a scholarship.
The students won't have to deal with the hassle of moving and getting used to a new environment.
Studying abroad can also be an exciting experience, especially if the students have never been overseas before.
The students who study abroad will also be coming home with international and multicultural exposure.
This experience may come in handy, especially when they are are looking for job opportunities as it enables them to communicate better with the different colleagues and clients.
Their resume will also look presentable if they study abroad.
If the students study in local universities, the students do not have to travel far and spend so much money.
They will be receiving the same quality education as studying abroad.
Stay close to family
Lower costs, save more money when students study in local universities.