The Disadvantages of Study Abroad

Posted by on in Study Abroad

Planning for a study abroad trip is an exciting time. Every great decision originates from the assessment of both the advantages and the disadvantages in the present situation. Imagining your trip abroad is glamorous and often times can cloud judgment of the reality that awaits you.

Friends Greeting Each Other at Cafe

Disadvantage 1: Language Barriers

Communication is essential to efficiency. Language barriers exist in every country, and are difficult to avoid all together. If you are not prepared to properly cope, this fact can create stressful situations for what seems like mundane tasks.


Disadvantage 2: On Your Own

Navigating a foreign place on your own can be an intimidating experience. For some, it may not be because they are independent and have lived on their own before. For others, being on your own is not familiar to you yet, and there are things you may need to do in advance to prepare yourself for the challenge.


  • Subscribe to a student travel blog and research by reading about others’ study abroad experiences
  • Join a chat forum to ask your questions directly to former study abroad students
  • Ask your guidance counselor for a student mentor’s email address to connect
  • Once enrolled in study abroad classes, utilize the class roster to reach out and form relationships with those in your classes, or ask the professor for advice or recommendations

 Mother and Daugther Embrace

Disadvantage 3: Finding Funds

Tuition, airfare, room and board, transportation, and overall cost of living can add up very quickly when living abroad and absent from work. Depending on where you attend and your area of study, the expense to study abroad can vary in price. Here is a general cost worksheet provided by Michigan State University to calculate the total cost of your program, and a few other helpful resources.


Disadvantage 4: Non-transferable Credits

There are two different circumstances that occur when talking about transferrable credits between two different universities while studying abroad. In most cases, your current university only offers study abroad programs with credits they will accept. If there is a specific university the student wants to attend outside of the suggested programs, often times, the universities can arrange an exception—but not always. It is important to check with your guidance counselor before signing up for any study abroad program.

The other case, the student finds a program outside of the university and enrolls, assuming the credits will transfer.


  • Your university will enforce their GPA requirements and curriculum standards to receive transferable credits
  • Be aware of what is expected of you versus your classmates while studying abroad
  • Transferring credits to the U.S. from abroad

Student and Professor Talking

Disadvantage 5: Healthcare

Preparing for a study abroad trip is highly involved and for some can require a year’s worth of planning prior to departure—get an idea by viewing this timeline. There are multiple aspects to consider for a trip like this, and travel medical insurance is one component that can easily be over looked or viewed as trivial in comparison. However, its significance can be the difference between having affordable healthcare and suffering the consequences of taking on all of the risk yourself while traveling in a foreign place. Many people assume their current health insurance provider will cover their medical expenses outside of their home country, which is not always true.  Knowing what benefits to look for in a travel medical insurance plan can be challenging and time consuming—start with the following:


  • No reoccurring premium fees, only a one-time fee
  • J-1 and F-1 Visa compliant
  • Crisis Response coverage for kidnapping
  • Covers eligible travel-related illnesses and injuries
  • Provides coverage for trip interruptions— like natural disasters, lost luggage, and terrorist attacks

You don’t have to reduce your coverage because you are on a budget—get covered for hospital visits and stays, local ambulance rides, prescription drugs, and emergency medical evacuation.  Receive a FREE quote now:


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • rss


Get bleeding-edge content delivered right to your door, or to your inbox. Sign up, it's that easy.