Why Study Abroad?

Project Atlas ® tracks migration trends of the millions of international students who pursue education outside of their home countries. According to its New 2013 Project Atlas Trends and Global Data Fact Sheet, it revealed that over the last decade, the number of students traveling to another country in pursuit of higher education increased over 95 percent, totaling some 4.1 million students globally in 2010. It is estimated that this number, which was 1.3 million in 1990s, will reach eight million by 2025. In 2011, the number of international students worldwide stand at a staggering of 4.3 million an increase of 200,000 from previous year.

Below are infographics about the Global Trends and Data Fact Sheet on international students mobility worldwide.

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In the recent research report on "The Value of Education" published by HSBC, 88% of Malaysian parents would consider sending their child abroad to study at university stage. This is higher than the global average of 74%. Overall, Indonesians (92%) were keenest on an overseas education, followed by Malaysia, Turkey (87%), Hong Kong (86%) and Mexico (86%) cited by HSBC report.

Why more and more students choose to study abroad? Are the study programs offered by foreign countries better than their home country? Are foreign countries provide better educational opportunities?

Simon Williams, Group Head of Wealth Management, HSBC, said: “The key reasons to send children overseas are the acquisition of foreign languages, international experience, and independence. Now, let's look from various common points of view why it is an increasing popular trend to study abroad.

To Gain Independence Experience and Personal Growth

One of of the biggest fears to study abroad is homesick and leaving your comfort zone without family members and good friends at your side in a foreign land. However, if you can overcome this biggest nervous and obstacle, studying abroad will make you become a much more independence person. Being away from your comfort zone will force you to understand yourself, which can be really hard and difficult but eventually you emerge as a better person. Being alone in foreign land, it's a huge opportunity for personal development and growth. Independence, time management, organization, social skills and self-confidence, just to name a few, will all develop exponentially while you’re abroad. It allow you to manage your own personal stuffs  like decision to be made, problem solving and daily stuffs like meals, clothing where you no longer enjoy all these privileges in foreign land. Over time, there will be moments of reflection when you realized that you'd made the right choice and decision and you will treasure these unforgettable moment. So all these will make you more independent and stronger person for the valuable experience you have gone thru in foreign country.

To Broaden Perspectives on Academic Subjects & Real-world Issues

Experiencing other values, beliefs and issues around the world will broaden your knowledge base, lead you to think and live differently and make way to adapt to it. Studying abroad will provide opportunity of rational thinking skills and open your mind for argument, discussion and debate in lecturer hall with many international students with diverse values and backgrounds. Learning how to interact with people from other countries will equip students with a broaden perspective on various real-world issues like global warming, environment pollution and hunger issue to share across borders. It is so important, today, to have a solid understanding of different cultures and values, and I believe studying abroad is an easy way to set up a young generation to be a more globally-minded society. All these are necessary to nurture our future leaders in order to make the world a better living place for mankind.

Develop Valuable Career Skills

Driven by a knowledge-based economy and demand for highly skilled human resources, students choosing to study abroad increased from 1.3 million in 1990 to 4.3 million in 2011 around the world, according to UNESCO statistics. Studying abroad will certainly make you become a much globalize and worldlier person, and become more marketable to graduate schools and employers because of the valuable and intangible life skills you’re going to pick up along the way. Globalization of education is the trend going forward. Globalization has been a key driving force that has impacted and spurred international student mobility. Students and scholars have always sought learning opportunities around the world as a way to broaden and expand their educational and career skills.

Opportunity to Learn Foreign Language

The research report released by HSBC revealed that in countries where English is not the first language, most parents see foreign language skills as the main benefit of an education abroad. This view is particularly strong in Turkey (82%), Hong Kong (77%), Brazil (76%) and Taiwan (75%). Now Chinese Mandarin is an uprising world language due to China strong economic growth. Many students where English is their first language will definitely like to pick up Chinese Mandarin as their second language in view of China surge. The mushrooming of Confucius Institutes around the world have cemented Chinese Mandarin as am important world language that must be acquired. I see acquire an addition new language skill is akin to a lifetime reward and achievement. By studying abroad, the opportunity to pick up a second language is relatively easier and this will give you added advantage and brighten your job prospect.

Opportunity for Travel, Explore Foreign Cultures and Make Friends

Weekends, holidays and academic breaks will allow you to venture out and explore your surroundings - both your immediate and more distant surroundings. Since studying abroad often puts you on a completely different country or continent, you are much closer to places you might otherwise not have had the opportunity to visit. Also, one of the best ways to experience different culture is to immerse yourself and live in it, which is exactly what you’ll be doing as a study abroad student. While abroad, you will meet not only natives to the culture in which you are studying, but also other international students who are as far from home as yourself and this put you in the right direction to start to build your international networking that might be handy and helpful after graduation. 

Although the rapid growth of mobility of international students is relatively recent, the desire to acquire a higher education beyond national borders is itself not new; students and scholars have always sought learning opportunities around the world as a way to broaden their educational, career and cultural horizons.

What has changed, however, is the overall context of global mobility, both in terms of who is going where, the mix of host and sending countries and the various social and economic factors that motivate students to pursue educational outside of their home country.

Also, the decision to study abroad it is not just confined to the quality of the academic program offered abroad but the valuable independence experience, personal growth and international perspective acquired beyond the classroom also take into consideration and influence the decision to study abroad.

Related posts:

1. New Study Makes The Link Between Study Abroad and Employability
2. 82% of parents will consider sending children overseas for university studies: Survey
3. Again, Australia is the most expensive country for studies abroad
4. International study is expensive: weigh costs against…
5. The Value of Education in Malaysians Perspective
6. International students eye China to expand their horizon!
7. Now 'Understanding China' is one of the important employable skill for American students!!!

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