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Should I Recommend International Universities to My American Students?

Should your adventurous students say "see ya later!" to the US and consider applying to college in another country? One expert weighs the pros and cons.

Stephanie FarahStephanie Farah
Former Writer and Senior Editor
CollegeXpress
Fiercely adventurous and independent students with strong academic records might be well advised to add one or two schools international schools to the list of colleges. But before you put them on a flight out of the country, here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros

  • The ultimate experience: Going to an international university gives American students an invaluable international experience. They'll have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and truly strike out on their own, which can translate into the self-reliance and initiative that are so attractive in job interviews. Plus, if they’re worried about grappling with a language barrier, they can pursue school in a English-speaking country means.
  • The surprising affordability:  Many international institutions can be comparably less expensive than attending college in the US. For instance, a lot of schools in the UK also accept American financial aid, and there are thousands of institutional scholarships available for international students.
  • The time savings: In many countries, bachelor's degrees only take just three years to complete. American students could use that saved year to either take a gap year before they begin their studies or to start their careers a little early after graduating.

Cons

  • The paperwork and red tape: Unfortunately, it's not possible to just jump on a plane and spend a few years in another country. A Tier 4 Student Visa will likely be needed, and admission to an international institution and proof of funds to support oneself are required before it will be granted. There are simply more hoops to jump through.
  • There's no place like home: No matter how independent and culturally curious your students may be, spending months on end more than an ocean away from home will inevitably take its toll. Before deciding to spend their entire collegiate careers overseas, students should be mentally and emotionally prepared to leave behind their family, friends, and American culture for extended periods of time.

If you have students who are applying to competitive and prestigious schools here in the States, consider recommending they throw international universities into the mix. Who knows? If they're shot down by one of their top choices, they could end up having the adventure of a lifetime!

Students really aiming for an international education should read up on 6 Things to Think About If You Want to Study in a Foreign Country to start planning.  

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