Studying abroad seems to be most people’s dream, maybe yours too, but before you begin packing your bags, check out for the following four signs that may indicate an overseas experience is not for you.
1. You easily become homesick
Certain individuals simply do not enjoy being far from home for long periods of time. It can be difficult to leave your family members and friends!—for months or weeks. Prolonged feelings of homesickness can cause anxiety and emotional distress, which can sometimes lead to physical illness. None of this is pleasant to experience, especially if you are living abroad. These negative feelings can often be overcome with stress management techniques like deep breathing. However, you may wish to rethink an overseas experience if you have had persistent trouble with homesickness in the past.
2. You dislike change and uncertainty
Studying abroad will force you out of your comfort zone. Your day-to-day experiences, no matter how well planned, will be at least somewhat unpredictable as you attempt to navigate life in a foreign country. While overseas, you will likely encounter customs, food and languages far different from those to which you are accustomed. A dislike of change and uncertainty can contribute to stress, just like homesickness. If you are easily upset by unpredictable and unfamiliar situations, studying abroad is perhaps not the best idea.
3. Your funds are limited
From airfare, to room and board, to other fees, the various costs of studying abroad can accumulate quickly. If you are worried about the expense of an overseas experience, it is well worth investigating financial aid options. However, if studying abroad means bankrupting your family, you should reconsider this trip overseas. How much is the experience worth to you? You will need to decide whether the benefits of studying abroad matter more than the large cost of the experience. If you find that the overall cost outweighs the benefits of studying abroad, stay home.
4. Your time is better spent elsewhere
Every study abroad programme is unique in its purpose. You should think about exactly what you will be gaining academically from any given programme. Ask yourself: Will this programme help to further my intended field of study? Will this programme lead to career or employment opportunities?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” you may not wish to study abroad. Travelling overseas when it will not benefit you academically or professionally can still be fun, but it may put you behind in terms of graduating and eventually securing a job. In most cases, it does not make sense to spend time and money abroad if there are better academic and career opportunities available to you at your usual “home” schools.