If you are considering attending graduate school, you likely have many different decisions to make before deciding on a specific program, not the least of which is where you will live. Given that some graduate programs can be shorter than their undergraduate counterparts, you might be looking locally or regionally, but before you limit your opportunities to a particular distance, it may be well worth considering international study.
Choosing to study in a foreign country might seem overwhelming or frightening, but the benefits can be immeasurable. These benefits may even provide you with a great start to your new career. So, before you write off international graduate study, consider the following ways that it can change your life:
1. Cultural exposure
There is no better way to gain exposure to a new culture than to immerse yourself in that culture’s rich community. By studying in a foreign country, you can expand your language skills, as well as your ability to understand those who are vastly different from yourself.
Not only will this experience expand your conception of the world, it can also improve your employment opportunities (see below for more information). A resume that boasts foreign study and travel suggests to employers that you are an open-minded individual who can work cooperatively with people from all walks of life—an increasingly important skill in all fields.
2. More job opportunities
Foreign graduate study can provide you with the opportunity to form new connections and to build your social network in fields that highly value international experience. In the business community, for example, a global perspective can be invaluable in a world that is increasingly oriented toward international business.
Participating in another culture gives you experience with different economic, political, and social systems, which can make you a strong candidate with companies and organizations that operate globally. This includes a number of fields, such as medicine and the physical sciences.
3. Cost savings
In the United States, the cost of undergraduate education has been a growing concern for some time. The cost of graduate tuition can likewise be prohibitive, with totals running above $20,000 per year in some instances. In light of this information, broadening your search to include international schools may lead to a less costly education without compromising quality. For instance, at the Canadian school McGill University, international students can expect to pay roughly $15,000 (not including fees).
4. Different perspectives
If graduate school is about expanding your horizons and gaining a degree of expertise in a particular area, what better way to do so than by engaging with those whose perspectives might be vastly different than your own?
Around the world, different cultures teach and study in different ways using different models. Having not been raised in the culture in which you might immerse yourself, these new perspectives provide new ways of seeing the world and the subject of study, potentially leading to new discoveries and insights that might not have happened had you stayed in your home country.
David White is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world's largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.