Are you ready to embark on a journey thousands of kilometers away from your home?
For many students thinking about their education after high school or college, studying overseas may seem like the glamorous option compared to staying in the country to pursue their degree.
Whilst studying abroad does have it’s fair share of attractions, let’s just give it a small breakdown to see if you’re better off staying here or packing your bags and leaving the country.
Amongst all the factors you should consider, one of the most important things to think about would be the degree you have chosen to pursue.
Do local universities provide the degree at a similar level to that of overseas universities?
If not, is the difference in quality big enough to make you want to leave the country or substantial enough to affect future employment opportunities?
Weigh your after-graduation job opportunity first
In today’s world, it is debated that the name and reputation of our universities carry little weight when employers are looking to hire someone.
Employers these days are looking for much more well-rounded individuals in terms of overall skill set, language proficiency and of course personality rather than just going for someone who has a degree from a reputable university with nothing else to offer.
First, you also have to ask yourself whether you want to develop your career locally in Malaysia or do you want to look for opportunities in a foreign land?
For example, do you think an Ivy-League business graduate who is only fluent in English have a better chance of getting hired if his competition is a HELP University graduate who fluent in Mandarin, English, and Malay in if both of them were to apply for a job in Malaysia?
Unless the said Malaysian company really want someone who graduates from a prestigious university joining their workforce, chances are that the local graduate will stand a better chance more than the later because he can communicate in three different languages.
Whereas, the US-based business graduate would have a better chance of getting hired in a US based company or any companies in the United States of America.
Of course, this is a very general guestimation.
What it truly comes down to, it depends on the job responsibilities, the candidates’ working experiences, and how they perform during the job interview. But in business, it is no secret that being fluent in multiple languages is always a bonus.
But in business, it is no secret that being fluent in multiple languages is always a bonus.
Next, the all important and typically key factor in thinking about pursuing a degree abroad would be money.
Overseas universities more often than not would be more expensive than local ones, although some countries such as India offer lower tuition fees such as in Medicine or Dentistry etc. So once again, this depends on where you plan to study.
So once again, this depends on where you plan to study.
Another factor to consider is whether you’re willing to leave your family and all your friends behind in pursuit of making new ones and experiencing a different culture.
But, if you’re the kind that gets extremely homesick during your one week Form 5 camp at the Malaysian National Forest, perhaps you want to think twice about being away from your family for at least one or even four years.
In addition, for those of you who plan to graduate in a foreign country, you will often have the opportunity to work there for a few years. A 4 years adventure could be easily extended into a 7 or even more than 10 years journey. Unless you have the finances to come back every other year, you will have to accept the fact that you are going to be ok while living alone in a foreign.
Having said that, it does get easier every time that you are apart from our parents.
For Malaysians, from personal experience as well as what almost all my friends studying abroad have said, we all agree that the thing we miss the most when studying abroad is the amazing food Malaysia has.
We so take for granted how blessed we are to live in a country so diverse and so abundant in great food that only after we go abroad we start to miss it.
If you don’t mind being without your favorite laksa, roti canai, or satay for months or possibly years, then go ahead.
However if growing up you were always a local foodie then it might be a little tough to adapt to food different to what you’re used to unless of course, you’re an amazing cook and you can find those Malaysian spices easily in the country you are studying.
All in all, so many good things come from getting out of your comfort zone and going overseas, like cultural exposure, a new-found sense of freedom and independence, and of course countless new experiences and many international friends.
But if you are a true home bird who can’t stand the thought of being outside of Malaysia for at least more than 6 months at a time, then I would advise you to stay back and enjoy the many charms Malaysia offers. Being homesick midway through your first semester is not a nice feeling.
Whatever you decide on, make sure you do these:
Make many new friends.
Have fun! And remember this … …
University life will always be the best years of your life!
My name is Kai Zen Au, and I’m a 20-year-old Malaysian who is pursuing my Bachelor Degree (Class of 2020) in Physiotherapy at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen (Hanzehogeschool Groningen), Netherland. I have great interests in health, fitness, football and food. And I hope to write more articles in the future just because I really enjoy writing.
I want to share my personal experiences of living and studying in the Netherlands and general knowledge of other topics.
You can reach me here at my Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/kzen01
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