Why do students choose to study overseas?
Nowadays, many students choose to visit other countries during a gap year between school and university or between university and starting work. Some students, however, choose to spend some time studying in other countries.
It is more common for university students to do this, but some students choose to study abroad when they are still at school. Sometimes they do so as part of a student exchange scheme.
Such a scheme is often organized by the student’s school. Several schools have an arrangement with a school in another country by which some of their students go to live and study in that country and students from that country come to live and study here. The students usually live with each other’s parents and go to each other’s schools.
This scheme is very popular. Some school students are eager to take part in such a scheme to improve their language skills. Obviously, they would already have spent quite some time studying the language of the country with which the exchange has been arranged. The exchange presents them with an ideal opportunity to practise their spoken language skills with native speakers of that language. There is no better way to learn a language.
School exchange schemes are usually quite short in duration. At most, they last a month and some last only a week. It is thus not a big commitment in terms of time. Some students, who are not especially interested in or gifted in languages, go on them simply to get experience of a different culture or of different people. Some school students, school students being what they are, decide to go simply to escape from what they see as the day-to-day tedium of school.
When university students decide to study abroad, they usually do so as an integral part of their course. Indeed, some universities insist that students studying a foreign language spend a year studying and/or working in the country where that language is spoken, usually in the second or third year of their course. Thus, students who have chosen to study a foreign language have little choice but to spend time in the country whose people speak that language.
Obviously, the students are usually very pleased about this. If they are studying a language at university level, then they would already be fluent enough in the language to communicate easily with residents of the country. They will be able to make friends and exchange ideas. They will also welcome the opportunity to experience the culture of the country and sample the various ethnic foods.
University students who study in a foreign country usually spend a year in that country, which gives them a chance to get to know the country, its people and its way of life. Sometimes they choose not only to study, but also to spend part of their time working, often as teaching assistants in a school, thereby gaining valuable work experience.
Not all university students who study abroad are language students. Sometimes, they are students of another discipline who simply admire the culture of the country of their choice and who want to know more about it. Sometimes, they feel that the country in question can provide a better standard of education in their chosen area of study than their own country can.
Whatever the reasons for their decision, it is an extremely good idea for students to study abroad. At the very least, they stand to gain a lot from the experience. On a grander scale, students studying abroad can improve international relations.