Last year, the prospect of traveling abroad to study sounded about as reasonable as applying to study on the moon. However, things have changed significantly since then! Thanks to the fast rollout of vaccinations, many countries are now enthusiastically opening themselves back up to foreign visitors.
That makes studying abroad far more plausible in 2021. In fact, many countries that remain closed to tourists have special exceptions that allow students from around the world to enter.
Why? Because economies benefit significantly from international students. By traveling to study, you could actually be helping your host country to recover financially from the pandemic. Let that reassure you if you’re wondering whether it’s socially responsible to study abroad right now.
Should I consider studying abroad?
Studying abroad has always been considered a daring choice, one pursued by the bold and the brave. Doubts about traveling to study are understandably at an all-time high given the unprecedented impact of the global pandemic.
Don’t be dismayed, though. If studying in a foreign country has always been your dream, there are still many ways to achieve it. You don’t have to wait for an indefinite period for complete normality to resume.
Read on to remind yourself of the benefits of studying abroad, measures you can take to do so safely right now, and how to prepare yourself emotionally for this exciting adventure.
The benefits of studying abroad
Although studying abroad right now might require a little extra planning and preparation, it’s undoubtedly worth it. After all, studying abroad brings many unique benefits.
While living in another culture, you develop soft skills that can be transferred easily to the workplace. That’s why so many employers look at this experience very favorably. It shows that you’re able to adapt to new circumstances and relate to people from diverse backgrounds.
Maybe you’ll pick up some second language skills while you study. In an increasingly globalized business environment, this could be a great advantage. The job market post-graduation is competitive; studying abroad could be what gives you an edge over other candidates.
You’ll also begin to build a network that transcends borders, and a strong network can really help advance your career. When you know the right people, you’ll be made aware of more opportunities, and you’ll be able to access greater support. Imagine if that network was international!
At a more personal level, studying abroad can be a transformative experience. Exposure to different lifestyles, values and interests will open your eyes to possibilities that you never previously imagined.
No wonder so many people are keen to study in a foreign country! The pandemic has disrupted life in a variety of ways, but for those who remain determined to pursue this plan, options are available.
Travel safety measures you can take
First of all, it makes sense to choose a place that’s making steady progress with vaccinations. If a country remains in crisis, relocating there could be risky.
Students who study abroad generally want to be able to travel around their host country and socialize with other students, so select an educational institution where that is possible.
When you book your flights, look for airlines with high safety standards. Most airlines are enforcing mask-wearing mandates; however, extra-careful airlines also refuse to sell the middle seat in each row. This allows passengers to keep a safer distance from one another.
Whether the country you’re traveling to demands it or not, it’s good practice to take a COVID-19 test before and after you arrive. You should quarantine until you receive your results. Remember, COVID-safety is about protecting others, not just yourself!
Before you travel to another country, ensure you’re covered by comprehensive healthcare insurance. Your college or university should be able to advise you on this. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Remember that it’s much easier to access many countries if you’re already fully vaccinated.
Lastly, you should follow the guidelines of your host country while you live there. That means complying with any short-term lockdowns that may be announced, wearing masks when asked to, and isolating if you’ve been exposed to the virus. Basically, you should use the same common sense you’d be expected to apply at home.
Preparing to study abroad
Once you’ve accepted your place and booked your travel, there are many ways you can prepare yourself for the study-abroad experience.
First of all, you can acquire some basic language skills. Download an app like Duolingo and make sure that you can manage some simple greetings and common queries.
Be realistic with yourself: it’s unlikely that you’ll master the language in a couple of months, but you’ll be glad you learned how to ask where the bathroom is when you arrive!
Next, you should look up relevant blogs or podcasts. These can be a great insight into the student experience. You might find some invaluable advice contained in these resources.
To make the most of your time abroad, why not check travel guides in advance and create a to-do list? Rather than arrive feeling lost and confused, you’ll already have an itinerary to complete before classes start.
You don’t have to wait until you arrive to start making friends. You’ll find that the foreign student community is a close one: everyone is far from home and facing the same challenges, so they like to support one another.
Thanks to forums and Facebook groups, it’s easy to connect with your peers online. You can get acquainted with your future classmates before you even board the plane!
The option to study abroad virtually
Still not feeling sure about moving abroad to study? That’s okay! You can enjoy many of the benefits of an international education experience by studying abroad virtually. EU Business School offers a range of online courses that allow you to work alongside classmates from all over the world without having to leave the comfort of your own home!