Graduate school can help you leapfrog your career, sharpen your professional skills, shift your role or industry, and make new friends and business connections. Expanding your search to schools abroad may offer additional benefits, such as more cost-effective programs and the opportunity to learn a new language.
To better understand why a potential graduate student should consider schools abroad, we spoke with Lionel Johnnes, a Fluent City Spanish student who is studying the language to prepare for a one-year Masters in Spain. Here are the reasons Lionel recommends you consider graduate schools abroad:
Quality of Education
“We have some of the best schools in the world [in America], but not all of them. For some areas of study, you may find better programs in a different country, or similar programs of high caliber.”
Opening your search to global education can help you find a program that is more specialized for your field and that gives you the specific experience you require. For instance, the demand for trained data scientists has led to the creation of several technical graduate programs in Europe over the past five years. In Lionel’s case, he is studying big data analytics, a relatively new field of study. By expanding his school search outside of the United States, Lionel discovered a large and growing data science community in Spain along with great graduate programs to help him excel in his chosen field.
“Most of the Masters programs I considered in the States were two-year commitments, while one-year programs tend to be much more common abroad.”
Two-year programs give you more time to complete your studies. However, two years is a long commitment to study, live in a new town, and skip a paycheck. Masters programs abroad, especially MBAs, are consolidated into 12-18 month intensives more often than their American counterparts. Spend a shorter time earning the degree you need to get a post-masters salary bump.
“Tuition is often much less expensive for foreign programs. Some countries, such as Finland and Norway, even offer scholarships that can make school tuition-free.”
You can save thousands of dollars and avoid a decade in debt by selecting a program abroad, where education costs are less. Just be sure to budget for plane tickets (or start saving your miles)!
“Pursuing a degree abroad is the easiest and fastest way to get a long-term visa. You can spend years working your way up in a company with international offices in pursuit of a transfer, or you can go abroad to get a degree and an internship working in an international company right away.”
A master's degree can be the fastest way to get your foot in the door at an international company. Particularly at schools that create programs in response to the private sector’s demand for trained graduates, professional internships are often part of the program. In addition to meeting potential overseas employers face-to-face, you can pick up international work experience and test the waters to see if you like working outside the U.S.
“The best way to learn a language is to go to a country where it's spoken every day. Whether for travel, work or study, find a great reason to go, then go.”
A big reason Lionel elected to study in Spain is to improve his Spanish. While the courses that he will be taking are in English, daily life will be conducted en Español. By considering a program abroad that also pushes you to learn a new language, you create opportunities with many professionals and companies who conduct business in that language, even in America.
In Lionel’s case, he comments that part of his motivation for learning Spanish was his prior stint in Texas marketing commercial and residential solar panel installation services. Lionel regrets missing the large, untapped opportunity to serve Spanish-speaking families, and now plans to widen his sales net by learning a new language.
“During a semester abroad or US satellite program, you're stuck in an American bubble. At a foreign school meant for locals, or even at international schools, you cut yourself off from what feels safe and known and you force yourself to build a new network.”
While Lionel is pursuing a Masters to foster professional growth, another reason is more personal. He wants to expand his international network and meet people from different cultures, who come from different perspectives. Living away from home exposes you to new foods, new ways of life, and new ways of thinking. Use your time pursuing graduate studies to challenge yourself in more ways than one.
Are you considering grad schools abroad? Check out language classes to get prepped for where you're headed.
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