Should I Study Abroad?
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.
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.
If you do decide that you are interested in going abroad, take a look at websites like 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.