Is Studying Abroad Worth It? 5 Ways It Will Transform Your Career | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

Is Studying Abroad Worth It? 5 Ways It Will Transform Your Career

14/06/2024

Every year, thousands of students decide to leave their home country and head somewhere different for their studies. In 2021, there were 1.52 million international students across the EU, with the highest numbers in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. But considering the stress of moving to another country, the costs of paying for tuition fees and rent, and culture shocks, is studying abroad worth it?

There are plenty of reasons why millions of students leave their homes and venture to foreign countries for their studies. For starters, living in a different country can make you more resilient, adaptable, and flexible. Studies have also shown that living abroad for a period of time can help give people a better understanding of who they are.

But studying abroad offers more than personal benefits. Results from the same study referenced above found that MBA students who had studied abroad had a clearer idea of what they wanted to do with their careers than students who hadn’t.

Evidently, studying abroad can have a huge effect on a person and their career trajectory. Here are five more ways that studying abroad could transform your future career.

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5 ways Studying Abroad Could Boost Your Career

1. Improved communication skills

As workplaces become more diversified, with people from different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities, it’s more important than ever that graduates can communicate with everyone effectively. Studying abroad can help you develop these all-important ‘intercultural communication’ skills.

Harvard Business Review points out that collaborative workplaces (including universities and companies) with people of the same cultures and backgrounds often rely on implicit communication. This might include non-verbal communication and communication relying on assumptions.

In diverse teams, though, this implied communication isn’t effective. You’re not going to practice these skills unless you have to communicate with lots of different people.

Studying abroad is the ideal way to improve your intercultural communication, as international students aren’t confined to one home country—they come from everywhere. You may be communicating with people for whom English isn’t a first language, as well as native English speakers, which will help build your skills in adapting communication styles and talking effectively.

Student Review

International and ...
European Law
avatar
Anonymous student
Master degree in Portugal

I have initially studied in another country for my bachelors but I moved abroad in September for my Master’s degree.
The University of Coimbra is located in a small but bustling city, full of students, where the academic celebrations never stop.

Compared to my country, I really love the unity you can find among the University staff and the students. Everyone feels like a big family wiling to help each other and no one is ever left out.
I like the way classes are taught because the teachers have a relaxed approach where they encourage you to speak up and be active not out of fear of a bad grade in case you do not do it, but because the atmosphere they create is comfortable enough for you to be yourself and participate.
There are also a multitude of opportunities for extra curricular activities offered by either the University itself or the numerous student organizations.

Programme: International and European Law
Degree: Master's
Graduation: 2023
Campus: Coimbra
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2. Explore different ways of thinking

Studying at a university in your home country is generally the easier option. You’ll be familiar with the education style, the method of communication, and cultural references. However, learning different ways of working can be highly advantageous in professional life.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 finds that companies value analytical thinking and creative thinking more than other common professional skills like leadership and technological skills. While knowledge of modern technology and the ability to work independently are always going to be important in today’s work culture, companies increasingly want to see the ability to think differently in their new hires.

So, if you’re wondering if studying abroad is really worth it, just think about the breadth of new experiences you’re going to step into. Working with people from all over the world in an unfamiliar education system will introduce you to ways of thinking that you might never have imagined. And this is a highly-valued skill in the professional world.

Student Review

Applied Foreign ...
Languages
Cecilia
Cecilia
AU
Great opportunity to explore the world around you

As a student involved in Foreign Languages studies the University of Genoa allowed me to take part in European programs. My first experience as Erasmus Student was in St Petersburg Russia in 2015 for three months that literally changed my life and world view. Thanks to the help of one of the best Russian teachers I’ve ever had, Laura Salmon, I was able to make this amazing experience despite my knowledge of Russian language was at a basic level. That period abroad gave me the chance to overcome all my fears and language barriers. The next year the Genoa Erasmus board appointed my second year abroad at the Durham University- also a remarkable opportunity for me to improve my English skills.
I will always be grateful to them for the encouragement and service they provided.

Programme: Applied Foreign Languages
Degree: Bachelor's
Graduation: 2017
Campus: Genova
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3. Learn a new language

Is Studying Abroad Worth It Learning a Language

Did you know that new experiences actually increase the number of connections in your brain and can strengthen the nervous system? As you study abroad in a new country, you’ll naturally experience a lot of novelty, and you can add to the benefits by studying a new language simultaneously.

Researchers have long known that learning a language benefits concentration, focus, and academic performance. However, by learning a language during your study abroad experience, you’re also opening up career opportunities that you may not have in your native language.

In one survey, 56% of companies in the UK said that their need for candidates that speak multiple languages has increased in the last five years and will continue to be a priority.

Student Review

Accounting and ...
Auditing
Chenai
Chenai
ZW
Free polish language classes

When studying at Vincent Pol University, the programs offered are very diverse and valuable in preparing me for my future career. One of the best things about the university is the free Polish courses provided to help international students learn the language, making it easier to navigate daily life in Poland. However, I have noticed that some courses are listed in the program but are not actually taught at the university, which can be frustrating and stressful for students trying to plan their schedules. I appreciate the opportunities and resources available at the university, but I believe there is room for improvement in streamlining the course offerings to align with what is actually being taught.

Programme: Accounting and Auditing
Degree: Bachelor's
Graduation: 2024
Campus: Lublin
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4. Expand your network

Study Abroad Worth It Networking

The networking opportunities you get while studying abroad are unbeatable, especially if you choose a highly international degree. Other students will come from around the world and may have insights into careers you’d like to target. This is particularly the case for MBA programmes, where students arrive at their degree from professional work experience.

However, even in a pre-experience Master’s degree, studying abroad can greatly expand your horizons for your future job. Professors will be able to connect you to industries and professional networks that may not exist in your home country, and networking events will introduce you to local companies that are hiring international students.

Plus, international universities will usually try to connect students with job opportunities in the local area if they would like to extend their visa and start their professional lives in their new country.

Student Review

Bachelor in ...
Management
Rania
Rania
MA
My 3 bachelor years in ESCP

I completed the Bachelor in Management at ESCP, and the experience was transformative. Starting in Paris, I gained a strong foundation in business fundamentals. The second year in Berlin focused on digital innovation and entrepreneurship, while the final year in Madrid emphasized strategic management and consulting.
The program’s international aspect is its biggest strength. Moving to a new city each year helped me develop adaptability and cultural awareness. The professors were top-notch, bringing a mix of academic rigor and practical insights. However, the frequent relocations were challenging and required careful planning and time management. Overall, the diverse experiences and the strong alumni network have been invaluable for my career.
LOVED IT!

Programme: Bachelor in Management
Degree: Bachelor's
Graduation: 2024
Campus: Madrid
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5. Boost your confidence

Studying Abroad Confidence

Finally, studying abroad is undoubtedly worth it for the very simple reason of boosting your confidence. Diving into an unfamiliar experience, meeting lots of new people, and navigating a new culture and language can feel overwhelming, but going outside your comfort zone is the easiest way to build confidence.

Confidence is a really important skill when it comes to navigating the professional world. It’s certainly not a prerequisite to getting a job, and research suggests that introverts have unique skills vital for the workplace. However, one study in Greece found that in the context of job interviews, a candidate’s self-confidence led to more positive hiring decisions.

So, studying abroad could actually improve your job prospects by making you more likely to get your dream role.

Student Review

International MBA
Tadeo
Tadeo
BO
Unforgettable Experience!

Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life, and Porto Business School played a significant role in this journey. Being part of this school and meeting incredible people along the way has left a lasting impact on me. The small class sizes fostered a close-knit circle of friends, providing a supportive and engaging learning environment.

I had the opportunity to learn about pioneering technologies and cutting-edge strategies in management, with a special focus on artificial intelligence, all taught by highly experienced and knowledgeable professors.

My expectations were far exceeded, and I am thrilled with my decision. This experience has positively transformed my life.

Programme: International MBA
Degree: Master's
Graduation: 2024
Campus: Porto
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Is Studying Abroad Worth It?

Although we’ve outlined five reasons why studying abroad can be an incredible experience, it’s difficult to truly answer the question of whether it’s worth it for every student.

All international students have unique situations, and your choice of whether to study abroad might depend on financial concerns, family connections, degree interests, and your level of English.

However, if you have the opportunity to study abroad, it’s undoubtedly going to be an incredible opportunity. From improving your communication and confidence to enabling you to work with different people than you ordinarily would, studying abroad can make a huge difference to your future career.

Conclusion

Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to explore a new culture and improve your career prospects. But if you want to study abroad, you’ll have to successfully navigate the international application process.

For help with international university applications, read our blog on writing a motivation letter for an international university.

If you’re still unsure where in Europe you want to go for your study abroad experience, why not check out our ranking of the most international countries and cities? At a university in these destinations, you’ll network with a diverse student population, enabling you to develop those important intercultural communication skills!

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Written by
Abigail
Abigail is a freelance writer specialising in higher education. She has lived in London and the Netherlands, and has a Masters degree in American Studies.

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