International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

Studying abroad: the big questions

Posted 12 June 2015
Studying abroad: the big questions

Making the transition from school to university – living independently, making new friends, adjusting to a challenging workload – can be tough enough without throwing moving to another country into the mix. But if it’s so hard, why do so many international students take up the challenge?

Why should I study abroad?

  • Employability – want your CV to stand out from the crowd? With more and more students gaining degree qualifications, studying abroad can help differentiate you from the pack. It shows you’ve faced tougher challenges, have a broader range of experiences, soaked up new cultures and languages and are truly independent. Whether you study abroad for a full degree, or just a year, employers will be impressed.
  • Global outlook – the internet, as well as the way the business world now works, means that we’re better connected than ever before. Business is conducted on a truly global scale. Our blog posts, research and creative endeavours can be shared around the globe at the click of a button. Businesses are increasingly multinational, and by reaching out and studying in another country you’re instantly strengthening your own global outlook.  Why not take your career abroad post-graduation? Why not have friends that span continents? This modern way to study better suits our modern, global lifestyles.
  • Learning style – universities and colleges overseas do things differently. The learning style in one country can be completely different from the country next door. Some are more challenging, some place more focus on practical learning than theoretical learning in the classroom, longer hours, shorter hours, more or less online work. Think about what study style suits you when you’re considering where to study.

Where should I go?

  • UK – a great place for international students, as the UK is so used to welcoming international students to its cities and universities. In 2013-14 almost 20% of the UK’s student population came from overseas. As a result, its universities are adept at helping students from all over the globe adjust to student life here, with institutions like the University of Sheffield International College being set up to do just that.
  • Europe – home to a wealth of top-class universities and colleges, some of the oldest in the world, as well as lots of fascinating, multicultural cities, Europe can help you expand your language skills and meet students from all over the world. If you’re a student from an EU country, student mobility is made even easier. Healthcare costs may be covered by your own government, while course fees could be cheaper in other EU countries than they are in your own, with some courses actually being fee-free in some parts of the EU.
  • US – the US attracts international students from all over thanks to its renowned educational record and facilities. It’s home to some of the world’s consistently top-ranked universities. While course fees tend to be higher here, qualifications from good US institutions are well-regarded by employers and are recognised in countries worldwide.
  • Australia – there are plenty of reasons international students are drawn Down Under to study – and it’s not just the great weather. Bustling cities, the beach, the outback – you can lead a very varied lifestyle while you study here and the cost of living can make things easier on your budget too.

Is it worth it?

  • In a nutshell – yes!
  • Career benefits – an international stamp on your CV not only makes you more attractive to employers, it boosts your own self-confidence when it comes to furthering your career post-graduation. If you can make it in a foreign country on your own, there’s very little you can’t accomplish in the workplace, no matter what sector you work in. Studying abroad can also open up career doors you never dreamt of, be it in the country you’ve chosen to study in or countries around the world.
  • Experience – Studying isn’t just about preparation for a career, it’s about growing as a person too. Studying abroad broadens your range of experiences, far more so than students who choose to play it safe and study at home. You’ll soak up new cultures, new languages, new music, a whole new and surprising way of life. You’ll learn to communicate better with all kinds of people – a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life. And you’ll have done something exciting and totally new to you, keeping you motivated and hungry for even bigger challenges and adventures in future.
  • Friends from around the world – wherever you choose to study, you’re going to be lucky enough to meet students and tutors from all over the world. Not only giving you insight into the way the world really is, you can improve your language skills, and enrich your life by hanging out with such a diverse range of people, all hungry to learn, just like you. As overseas students facing the same challenges, you can help to support each other and form friendships that will last a lifetime while spanning the globe.