Disadvantages of studying abroadPosted on 21. Apr, 2010 by Marie M. in Study AbroadYes, studying abroad has not only advantages! It would have been too simple: you go to aforeign country and everything is wonderful, people are nice, your home is beautiful and soon. Lies!!! Studying abroad is not (always) so nice. You might have to face one or even moreproblems while living abroad and see some of the disadvantages of studying abroad.1 Disadvantage of studying abroad: You are not a geniusReality is hard, I know. Studying in another country does not mean you will learn English orother languages magically. I remember the father of one of my friends: he was British anduses to live in France for 3 years. But he could not speak French because he never tried tolearn it. Of course living abroad will help you to understand the language better, but if you donot talk, you will not improve. That is why you need to pay attention and study, but bereassured because you live in that country it should make study easier and faster.#2 Disadvantage of studying abroad: You are aloneEven if our society is more and more communicative and even if you are closer to yourfamily and friends thanks to Skype, msn, Facebook and others, it still does not mean it is anyeasier to study abroad half way round the world. Are any of these people are with you in thatunknown country? Nope. That is why you could feel alone and sad sometimes. At thebeginning, culture shock will not help you to feel integrated: you will need an „adjustmentperiod‟. You should create new habits, discover the place you are going to live, meet peoplefor example. I cannot hide to you that it will be hard sometimes. You could feel excluded inthe country where you are and not have the social network yet that can give you support andstrength. And if, god forbid, something bad might happen back home, you might not have thechance to be with your family and friends and have to stay in that country with your pain andalone.#3 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Reality can betreacherousFirst step in that new country and everything seems weird. Differences can be huge betweenEurope and Asia or small between France and Belgium. Standard of living can be different:more poor people in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe or you cannot expect the sameway of life in India than in United States. You will have to face other behaviors, and somecan make you feel uncomfortable if you are not used to them: in United State people aregoing to speak easily with you in the bus, whereas in Europe (read Paris) if you talk to astranger you will probably get an angry look or might even scare people away. Everyoneknows that Chinese people are different from Americans, Americans are different fromGermans, some differences are obvious others are more subtle. We can name that cultural
obstacle. Moreover the food is different, you will have lot of difficulties to find local Frenchcheese in US, or local Italian wine etc. if the culture is different, the food will be too,certainly. Getting used to these cultural differences can be a real disadvantage for your studyabroad experience.#4 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Nothing is freeAnother big disadvantage of studying abroad can be the costs. Studying abroad can be reallyexpensive. First, it will depend on your major and university or school you choose, and thenit will depend on the country, the city and the place where you want to live (big house orsmall room?). Moreover most countries do not allow foreign student to work, so you need tohave money before you arrive in the country or have someone from home supporting you.The question you have to ask yourself is: can I afford to study abroad?#5 Disadvantage of studying abroad: One year lost?For some countries or universities your study abroad credits might not count towards yourdegree, which of course means your study time will increase, costs will go up and you mightbe longer dependent on your parents. These are major disadvantages of studying abroad.Before you leave and join the next study abroad program, you have to considerate this: areyou ok with adding one more year to your studies? Is it useless? High school students whotake part in exchange programs abroad often say that they have already studied what they aretaught abroad or that the class is too difficult because nothing is done to support their specialneeds. Moreover some say they are excluded, a kind of racism or sometimes they are a star atschool. But in both case it can be really hard to live.# 6 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Hard to come back“home”When you are going to study abroad you only think about the time you are going to spendaway. But you forgot that one day you will have to (well, most of us) come back to yourbeloved home country. It can be as hard to live in another country as to come back to yourown. It is called reverse culture shock. But there might be even more disadvantages ofstudying abroad: What if you fall in Love and have to leave the love of your life because yourvisa expires or what if your boyfriend or girlfriend from back home broke up with you whileyou were gone? It will only really hit you once you are back and see all the places where youused to spend time with him or her.#7 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Last but not least:Your Mom will nag youDo not laugh! You know as well as me that moms can be really possessive. Oh my little babyis far away, how is s/he doing? She will nag you: you will receive e-mails with hundreds ofquestion and if you do not answer as fast as she wants, retaliation could be horrible. She willcreate her own Facebook account in the aim to know everything you don‟t want to share withher. Each time you will be on Skype, she will call you. As if your life was hers. You willneed to establish rules.
As far as I am concerned I think study abroad is a great opportunity and experience and I amstudying abroad since last September. Of course I have no thought about disadvantages whenI left, but I certainly had to face one or the other. But at the end, there are more advantagesthan disadvantages. That is why if you can study abroad, I will say you: “go! But beprepared”. Do not think that everything is black or white, that the country you are going in, isthe greatest of the world or that your home country is the best. Do not have prejudices orfalse ideas about things. Have only a children view to be curious and surprised and enjoy.Advantages of Studying AbroadIf you read through this article and got a bit overwhelmed with all the things that could gowrong, whether you should take the plunge and study abroad or not, check out this book: TheGlobal Student is the perfect book to show you that that living abroad is a great way to sparkyour career and see how many advantages living and studying abroad really has.