The Disadvantages of Study Abroad
When wound up in the excitement of thinking about studying abroad, it is hard to consider the disadvantages of study abroad. Some things aren’t as simple and/or beautiful as some students may be imagining. Make sure that all grounds are covered during your research to help you decide where and when you want to study abroad to avoid disadvantages that could make your trip not as enjoyable as it possibly could be.
Disadvantage 1: It’s a different language
Most students don’t take into consideration that the simplest tasks, such as buying toilet paper, can become a days worth of work because of a language barrier. First thing you are asking where to find a convenient store, and the next thing you know you are lost in a fish market. Communication is tough in a different country, and should be thoroughly researched and practiced before entering the country.
Disadvantage 2: You are alone
Our world is becoming more interconnected by the millisecond with the use of Skype, Google Chat, texting, and Facebook to name a few. These resources help us communicate across the globe, but that doesn’t mean that these people can help you navigate a new country, which is a huge disadvantage of study abroad. It is important to stay in touch with familiar faces and voices, but you can’t rely on these people to “be there” when you need them when you are overseas. It is your own personal responsibility to find where to purchase a bus pass to class. You will often get lost, and feel out of control. Just remember to build a new routine that will help you feel comfortable in a new area.
Disadvantage 3: It’s expensive
Depending on what university your program is through, and what country you are planning to study abroad in, costs can vary. Most countries do not allow study abroad students to work, so the money will need to be saved up beforehand, or filtered to you in some other way. Here is a general cost worksheet provided by Michigan State University to help you estimate the total cost of your program. The costly disadvantage of study abroad can be avoided if you budget wisely.
Disadvantage 4: Work for no credit
Sometimes the university that you want to attend abroad doesn’t allow credits to transfer over to your university back at home. This would increase costs and time of your schooling back at home. In order to avoid this disadvantage, make sure that all of your credits transfer over. Although it is important to make sure that credits transfer over to your home university, some students have a hard time concentrating in a new country while they are abroad. The stimulation of completely new surroundings is very distracting and can pull you away from your schoolwork without even knowing it. Before you decide to have all of your credits transfer, make sure that you have the self control to stay focused on your work so that your grades don’t take a toll because of your study abroad experience.
Although the disadvantages of study abroad should always be considered when looking into a study abroad program, the advantages are endless, and study abroad is always encouraged to enhance your knowledge of surrounding countries and cultures.