Whether you are starting your extensive education, picking it back up, or looking to travel while still receiving college credits, applying to foreign universities is always an exciting option. Studying abroad has its list of benefits, but there are several things to take into account before making your first application steps.
Kevin Dalby, Texas professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Oncology at The University of Texas in Austin, is an advocate of travel and experiencing different cultures. Dalby encourages his students to look into gaining credit hours from foreign universities as it comes with additional advantages. If you are considering attending an international university for a long or short period, here are four things Dalby suggests you keep in mind:
- The Cost
Studying abroad comes at a cost, and it is not cheap. Before thinking about tuition, airfare, and the cost of living, there are several other expenses and plans to consider. After getting accepted into your desired program, you will need to get a passport and visa to travel. Depending on what country you will be going to, you can look up your destined country’s visa requirements online. Some countries require you to apply and pay ahead while others take a fee upon arrival. Those who have to pay a fee after landing in the country should carry crisp, new bills. Be sure and start your passport process as soon as possible. Sometimes the return can take a few weeks.
- The Language Barrier
Fortunately for Americans, English is a first and second language in many countries around the world. However, there are still many countries that do not use English, which can create a language barrier when first learning how to maneuver within the culture and learn the language. When you do not know the language, making new friends seems impossible, and you might experience more feelings of loneliness. Thank goodness for technology, services such as Duolingo, which can assist when translations are strenuous.
- Post-Graduation Job Potential
Unless you are planning to stay in the country where you are attending school, returning to the United States to get a job after graduation can be challenging. A recent study determined the probability that those studying abroad will most likely find employment three years after graduation. For colleges and universities in the United States, finding and instilling a career path for individuals after graduation is essential for those on the market. That is why so many of these education sectors have available connections, internships, shadow opportunities, and professionals to talk with in regards to finding employment after school. With a lack of access to such advantages when hundreds of miles away, technology, rather than face-to-face interaction, seems to be the most heavily used tool when seeking post-graduation jobs overseas.
Becoming homesick while abroad is both universal and typical for students. The excitement of travel can hide the reality of missing your comfortable way of life. It is smart to prepare ahead of time in case the feeling sinks in so that you do not miss a beat of cultural experiences, education, and exploration. Research homesick remedies, and have a list handy for when you need it.
About Kevin Dalby
Kevin Dalby is a co-director of the Texas Screening Alliance for Cancer Therapeutics, and the principal investigator on a CPRIT grant that gives Texas scientists access to resources for drug discovery research. By understanding cancer cell signaling, Dr. Dalby works to improve diagnoses and utilize technological advances to develop targeted pharmaceuticals for different cancers.