Southern California native Nathan Yang says he originally planned on applying to U.S. and Canadian colleges only, but was later introduced to the idea of studying in the United Kingdom. He says he considered rankings, application requirements, costs and location as his primary criteria.
“England really appealed to me as I wanted to have access to great resources for future careers and be in an English-speaking area of Europe,” says Yang, now a third-year student pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in geography with social data science at University College London in England.
Attending a university outside the U.S. may not be for everyone. But for American students thinking about applying to a global university, pursuing a full degree abroad may be a good option.
Here are three types of students who should consider attending a university outside the U.S.
Interested in Other Cultures
Attending a global university can allow a prospective international student to spend years immersed in a new culture.
“To embrace a new culture is to open yourself up to new experiences, sometimes on a daily basis,” says Jo Turner, a liaison and recruitment manager for international students at UCL. “Things may work differently to what you are used to. Behaviors and mores may be unfamiliar. But for those willing to take the plunge, the potential rewards are considerable.”
Yang says he was excited to explore and experience new cultures. Before the pandemic hit, he had already traveled to five European countries, he says.
“I am one who really enjoys travel, adventure, food and new life experiences so being able to come to the U.K. and be at the doorstep of the European continent and other areas around this region certainly is a benefit to me.”
Alexandra Rhodes, an education consultant and founder of Rhodes Educational Consulting in California, says there may be some students who want to experience a new culture but want a traditional American-style education with English instruction.
“A student like that would do well at a place like the American University of Paris, which is essentially a U.S. university with the cultural overlay of being in a foreign country,” says Rhodes. “It’s just like being at a U.S. school, but in Paris.”
Has a Clear Major and Career Path in Mind
Prospective international students with a specific major they intend to pursue may want to consider global schools that can boost related educational goals, research and job opportunities.
Turner says studying in the U.K. allows students to focus on their favorite subject and gain not only knowledge , but key skills valued by employers.
“Programs typically allow students to undertake independent research and reach their own conclusions, so for students looking for a new academic challenge, studying in the U.K. could be the perfect fit,” Turner says.
Earning a degree abroad can also be beneficial for graduate students. Keagan Chronister from Bentonville, Arkansas who has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, is earning a master’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“My degree program hit all the topics I wanted to learn more about that I didn’t feel I got enough of during my undergraduate courses, so that was a huge draw,” says Chronister.
Another plus, he says, was that Denmark encourages international students to find work in the country after students have completed their degree.
Eva Raimondos-Moeller, full degree coordinator and senior adviser for international education at the University of Copenhagen, wrote in an email that she “would recommend that taking a degree abroad also includes careful consideration on a career in that same country.”
Denmark offers a post-study work visa for two years called the establishment card, which has only three requirements, she says: “A Danish degree of minimum bachelor’s level, applying within one year of graduation and the ability to support yourself, for example, a part time job will do.”
Comfortable With New Challenges and Academic System
A global university can be a good option for students who are open to new challenges and a different academic system.
“Students who are adventurous, independent and want a challenge are ideal candidates for studying their full degree abroad,” Turner says. “Courage, maturity and adaptability are required to study overseas.”
Chronister says he was not afraid of taking on new challenges. He says he visited Copenhagen in 2019,instantly fell in love with the country and knew the University of Copenhagen was where he wanted to pursue his master’s degree.
“I did look into the course structure, how grade points are assessed and found it pretty manageable. I think being adaptable is the most important thing,” Chronister says.
Academic systems can vary depending upon the country, and experts recommend students do their research — like Chronister did — when considering whether to apply.
“We know from experience that the ‘Danish way’ with calling your professor by first name, being asked to perform in class in front of the others and do group work can be a challenge for some international students,” Raimondos-Moeller says. “However, we also see that most American students thrive in a Danish educational environment.”
Yang says he’s enjoying his time in England. He plans to graduate in June 2022 and notes an additional advantage in choosing to study in the U.K. — a bachelor’s degree takes three years there compared to four in the U.S. He says his decision to leave his home country at 18 to study in London was the best choice.
“I get to live in this great city, have access to some of the best fun and entertainment, do a degree in something I am interested in, have access to great career opportunities that I would have never considered staying in the U.S., and have friends from absolutely every corner of the globe.”
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3 Types of U.S. Students Who Should Consider Earning a Degree Abroad originally appeared on usnews.com