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The Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad

Jan. 14, 2020
3 mins
Hip young professional on his phone on a park bench

Studying abroad can be an enriching experience you'll remember for the rest of your life. However, taking time off to study in another country also has some downsides. In this article, you learn the pros and cons of studying abroad.

Pro: You'll Learn About a New Culture

One of the best parts of studying abroad is meeting the locals in your host location. You'll learn about ways of life you've never experienced back home while being exposed to new foods, music, or architecture. And, you're unlikely to get bored!

Con: You Might Get Homesick

While initially, it might be exciting for everything to be new and different, you may start missing your hometown after a while. The comforts of home, like your friends, family, and favourite restaurants, might be thousands of kilometres away.

Pro: You'll Learn a New Language

Learning a new language can be fun and exciting. Studies have shown that speaking multiple languages helps keep you sharp. It can even help delay diseases like dementia! Plus, getting to know a community's native tongue is one of the best ways to learn about its culture, traditions, and customs.

Con: Day-to-Day Activities Can Be More Difficult

While navigating a city or town in a foreign language can be mentally stimulating, sometimes you might just want to relax. When studying abroad, everyday activities like going to the grocery store, signing up for a gym membership, and taking public transportation can be much more complicated than back home.

Pro: You'll Gain a Unique Education

By studying abroad, you'll have a unique opportunity to learn lessons outside your school's traditional curriculum. Anyone can take an introductory statistics class in university, but how many of your classmates have the opportunity to attend foreign cultural festivals or meet local business owners? When you interview for a job after completing your education, you'll stand out from the crowd.

Con: You May Fall Behind in School

In some cases, leaving your university's set degree program might delay graduation. After studying abroad, you may have to complete an extra semester to make up for the lost time. However, many students choose to study abroad at partner universities without having to make up extra classes, and may even earn additional credits. So, be sure to know what you're getting yourself into before you go. Talk to professors and counsellors to get a realistic picture of your academic situation.

Pro: You'll Become More Independent

While in a foreign country, you'll develop problem-solving skills. When you're back home, you might rely on other people to make decisions for you, but studying abroad forces you to take ownership of your life and become independent. The first few weeks might be a challenge, but you'll gain confidence in no time.

Con: You Might Increase Your Risk of Injury or Disease

Studying abroad carries risks that might not be present back home. Your host country may have foreign diseases, undrinkable water, or a higher crime rate. While following basic safety precautions can greatly reduce your risk of injury, be sure to purchase travel insurance before you leave. That way, you won't have to worry about who will pay for your expenses in case you are hurt or fall sick while studying abroad. Instead, you can stay focused on getting the most out of your experience.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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