Are you thinking about studying abroad? It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, as there are plenty of challenges to consider, but you might find it’s the making of you. A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that only 37% of American adults have a valid passport, which means nearly two-thirds are unable to leave the country and broaden their horizons.
So, what are the pros and cons of heading overseas to further your studies? And which locations have historically proven most popular for US academics? Read on to find out more.
Which countries are most popular for US students?
The data reveals that western Europe is the favoured destination for American students. According to records from the 2019-20 academic year, Spain was the most popular choice, with 19,792 students making their way across the Atlantic.
Italy and the United Kingdom were not far behind (19,731 and 19,147 respectively) while France was fourth on the list, receiving 8,528 academics during that period. The only non-European nation in the top five was Australia, where 8,252 Americans chose to study.
What are the challenges of studying abroad?
Of course, as with any major life decision, there are negatives to weigh up against the positives. The language barrier could prove problematic and may cause you to feel isolated and lonely, even in a bustling capital such as Madrid, Rome or Paris. You may not feel safe in unfamiliar surroundings, or you may struggle to make new friends with which you can socialise.
All of which can contribute to extreme feelings of homesickness, although international shipping services mean you can arrange for your loved ones to send you a care package of home comforts to help you through the tougher moments.
What are the benefits of studying abroad?
Meanwhile, the advantages of furthering your education overseas are vast and varied. For example, it offers a sense of independence, freeing you from the restrictions of home life and allowing you to find your own way without the guiding hand of your parents or guardians. It also enables you to see the world, experiencing different cultures and a way of life that could be entirely different to what you’re used to.
Gaining such an understanding can help to broaden your mind and remove any preconceptions or prejudices, helping you to become a more rounded individual. Not only that, but it offers an opportunity to learn a new language. Spanish, for example, is spoken in several countries around the world and even a basic grasp could prove invaluable if you plan to visit South America as part of your studies or travel plans.