So you want to study abroad. That’s great. It probably means that: 1) you’re a go-getter who wants to make the best of her studies and student life and,
2) you have found the funds (or a way to get them) to make that dream happen.
Naturally, the next question is: where?
1There are a few factors you should take into consideration. For those still undecided, we’ve listed the pros and cons of studying in the States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. ’Cos we are just awesome like that. Thank us later!
What to consider:
Language: What the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand have in common is that – thankfully – they are all English-speaking countries, so if you are fluent in English and able to carry a conversation confidently, you should flourish in these places. However, if English is not your strongest suit, you might wanna opt for another country, or better yet, polish up on your linguistic skills! It could never hurt to learn up on the third most widely spoken native language in the world. (That’s after Chinese and Spanish!) Similarly, if you prefer to study in countries like Germany or Italy where English is not the norm, you have to ask yourself if you’re prepared to master a whole new language from scratch.
Type of Program: Obviously, you can’t sign two or three years (or even the rest) of your life away to a country that doesn’t even provide the program you want to study. If you’re lucky enough to already have an idea of what you want to pursue, do thorough research on the availability of that program in each of the countries you wish to study in, and be sure to check out the modules under each program, study time and cost too, if they are available online.
Major Requirements: Every college and university has varying levels of qualifications required from you to enroll in a particular program, so after finding a program of your choice, examine the credits, language qualification grades and CGPA needed to get you in.
Local Culture: This might seem like a no-brainer, as you probably decided on your country of choice in the first place due to its promise of a lively, exotic studying experience. However, no country is without its drawbacks and cultural oddities, so be sure to learn as much as you can about the customs and locals’ lifestyle in where you’re going so that you know what to expect.
Pros and Cons of Studying in…The United States of America
Pros: Wide range of programs available (Comic Art and Theme Park Engineering anybody?); opportunity to be a part of the most current research work in the world; freedom to decide on major after only the first year of studies; a whopping 108 universities listed in the World University rankings; and a great place to intern in a myriad of career fields such as fashion, technology and entertainment.
Cons: Higher (and continuously) rising cost of education; potential difficulty in finding jobs due to overpopulated graduates market; lack of streamlined curriculum of courses which results in drastic differences in education standards.
Pros and Cons of Studying in… the United Kingdom
Pros: Relatively shorter study periods due to increasingly focused programs here; higher chance of getting more spacious accommodation; less focus on assignments and more on lectures and exams (if that’s your thing); a relatively high number of universities in the World University Rankings (45 to be exact); and outstanding internship opportunities in finance, law and mass media.
Cons: Grades usually hinge on one final exam; high cost of living unless you’re earning a local’s salary; generally dreary weather (not the most ideal if you’re used to – and love – Malaysia’s sunny skies).
Pros and Cons of Studying in…Australia
Pros: The existence of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which sets the national standard for learning outcomes at every level and ensures formal recognition of your degree; outstanding research work (inventions like penicillin, WiFi and the ultrasound machine all originate from The Land Down Under); a great student visa that lets you work part time for a higher number of hours; and stellar internship opportunities in the fields of nature conservation and tourism.
Cons: Might be hard to find things to do outside of classes as most shops in Australia close around 5pm to 6pm; high cost of living (especially due to the increasingly strong Australian Dollar against the Malaysian ringgit); relatively underdeveloped public transport system which makes getting around places outside of cities a challenge.
Pros and Cons of Studying in…New Zealand
Pros: More affordable alternative compared to the other countries on this list; has a great extreme sports scene; home to some of the world’s top researchers in geology, marine biology, agriculture and the like; and excellent for those looking to intern in the fields of engineering, nature conservation, marine biology and hospitality.
Cons: Not as culturally rich (unless you’re big on the sheep and LOTR culture) as the other countries listed here which is a drawback for students looking to broaden their horizons; lack of developed public transportation in most areas which can limit students’ leisure activity options; limited studying options with only eight state universities available.