Travelling internationally to pursue a better tertiary education experience is growing in popularity. There are many benefits such as personal development and the chance to create a stand-out profile and resume that differs you from your peers. Travelling internationally for a university experience prepares you better than studying locally, and makes you better equipped for paving your path to success.
One of the greatest benefits of travelling internationally as a student, is that you are presented with an opportunity to explore yourself as a person, learn more about how you react in challenging situations and invest in personal development. This process of personal development is facilitated by travelling opportunities, the constant exposure to a wide range of cultures, languages and foreign practices, as well as the spate of challenges which you would unlikely face studying locally. When I moved to Australia in February 2011, the challenges began as soon as I stepped out of my front door. It was the first time that I had caught a plane alone and the daunting task of arriving in a large airport, and navigating the routine procedures, was overwhelming as a young traveller. From exchanging money at the airport, to ordering and paying for a meal, the basic tasks seemed to be so foreign. This trend continued when I arrived in Australia, with transport, navigation, establishing my own bank account and mobile number all posing the same challenges. I learnt a lot about myself in the process and my continued willpower to overcome extremely stressful situations and hardships has continued to surprise me.
A second benefit of studying internationally is increased employability. When the time had come, I graduated with my hard earned combined degree in Engineering and Medical Science. I found interviewing for jobs arduous and generally boring, with prescription answers a norm to the host of uninspired employer questions. However, I found that my brave move to Australia was paying off. In general, employers favour candidates with greater general knowledge, as it aids in creating a friendlier and more co-operative workplace. In interviews, I had life evidence to prove my success, paralleled with my academic success. I followed the seasoned advice of “fake it until you make it”. This experience made me stand out, and I was as a result, more employable overall.
My time abroad has certainly not been without many tears of both laughter and sadness. I have pushed myself to my limits and have not regretted any step along the way. Despite the hardships faced, such as financial pressure, making tough decisions, high pressure for success, these skills are indispensable to face the challenges of the real world.
While it may seem conflicting as to whether the challenges are worth the effort, studying abroad as an international student is an experience like none other, with benefits far outweighing the costs.