An Overview of Study Abroad
An international education, whether a semester abroad or a full degree program in another country, can be one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences in a person's life. There is so much to be gained from experiencing a new culture, facing new challenges, and opening your mind to a whole new world. Although the events of September 11th may have hindered international education, it also represents a greater need for international students. International studies allow for the mixing of various cultures, cultivating a greater understanding between nations. In the USA alone, 2000/2001 saw the greatest increase in foreign students to their shores since 1979/1980, with 547,867 foreign students studying in the USA.
Financing an International Education
Generally speaking, the biggest barrier to students interested in studying in the USA is money. The average tuition for a low-cost private institution costs $12,000 US Dollars a year, excluding living expenses. This, of course, can be lower or higher depending on the school, but for international students, this is a huge burden and one that stops many from attending. However, it need not be an obstacle, thanks to the many international student loans now available and a wealth of scholarships and resources for students to utilize.
Applying to Study in the USA
Admission to top schools in the USA is also extremely competitive and requires advanced planning; application forms need to be completed, test scores need to be produced, and some may require application essays or letters of recommendation. This at first may seem a daunting prospect, but students should not be put off. Hard work and planning are the key factors for students wishing to come to the USA. Students need to obtain the best grades possible and plan well in advance (at least 18 months) and this will give them the best chance to study in the USA.
To learn more about applying to study in the US, take a look at our Application Process section.
US Students Studying Abroad
For US students to study abroad, the obstacles are not as great as for those who wish to come to the USA. Since September 11th, there has been greater emphasis on US students to study outside the USA. As Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute for International Education, states "Even more heartening is the enthusiasm and interest among students in gaining international experience after the terrorist attacks of September 11th." In 2001 there was an 11% increase in US students studying abroad with the majority of this increased coming in shorter (less than 8 weeks) programs. In part this has also been due to the popularity and success of companies such as Semester At Sea and InternationalStudent.com who specialize in helping students achieve their study abroad goals.
Benefits of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad can do so many things for an individual. On the personal side, students are able to experience new cultures, religions and new ways of thinking thus enhancing their acceptance and tolerance of minorities and their outlook on life. On a professional level, it can enhance their career by exposing students to a variety of new perspectives, the latest technology or state of the art research and training. There are so many benefits to studying abroad, and arguably the most important benefit is to create a better understanding of the world around us.