Making a step into the unknown can be scary, but also exhilarating. Here we look at the best things to know before you study abroad.
Some people have it all well thought out – the timeline for their graduation, Master’s degree and their PhD. They go through life unbothered, constantly seeking opportunities to advance their studies, which is quite ambitious, but is this a way that works for everyone?
Some of us, on the other hand, are working, finishing internships, or simply still figuring out what we would like to focus on in terms of our studying. We constantly feel like we’re in a rush to finish our next degree, and find a permanent job, and buy a house, but then what?
Why feel so pressured to follow a template of other people’s lives anyway? If continuous studying works for some people, for others, continuous work and experimenting the labour market is what works best. But if you’re feeling in between, there are a few questions to ask yourself, before you decide to shift your journey.
Know Your Reason
This is probably one of the most important yet difficult things to understand, when it comes down to an opportunity that presents itself before us.
Quite often, we apply for opportunities, thinking that we won’t even get admitted, and then we do, and how can you say no to free studies somewhere nice right? All that new food, new people, and new sights.
And we fall for the trap of curiosity for a new place, without being decisive on what we want to study or why we want to study that specific area at this point in our lives. Ask yourself constantly: what stands behind my decision? Is it the pressure from my peers or family?
Am I afraid of running out of time? Am I simply in need to get out of my comfort zone, or is this REALLY a career related decision? If you’re thirsty for new experiences abroad, go visit a place, and come back with a clearer head, to see if that helps you make a better decision.
Know What You’re Going To Study Abroad
Knowing exactly what you’re going to study and why you have chosen that area is a major help, throughout the stage of life you’re in and your career in general.
People often go for broader degrees that provide them with plenty of opportunities in the labour market, however, my take here is that these people are not quite certain on what they want. Do you have a clear idea on why you like Public Administration? Do you know what sort of jobs you will get with a degree in this area, and are you satisfied with thinking about yourself in such jobs in the future?
If you don’t have an answer to these questions, maybe it’s time to start digging a little bit deeper and understand truly if you’re choosing the career that suits you best.
Note: It is totally OK to switch your career objectives as you research, and as you grow intellectually. We get to know ourselves better, and switching is actually a sign of freedom & personal autonomy.
Change Of Scene
I think society often puts a bad name on the comfort zone. There’s a toxic comfort zone, and a peaceful comfort zone. Of course, I agree we should not stay in either for TOO long, but if you’re in a good place, say, career wise and emotionally wise, and you’re in a stage of life where you’re quite emotionally fulfilled while having the chance to practically advance your skills, then why not benefit a little bit more of this situation?
Just because there are other realities out there, does not mean that you should be constantly seeking “something better”. Do not feel obliged to abandon something great and rewarding that you’re enjoying at the moment, for something you’re not sure of.
On the other hand, if you’re absolutely not learning anything new and you’re stuck in a status quo – by all means, studying abroad will lighten up your horizons.
Take Your Time
So you did all the research of the above, and you understood that you’re really not that sure of taking this next step abroad? That is absolutely normal, and there shouldn’t be a reason to feel disappointed at yourself.
On the contrary, understanding that you need time to realize what you want to study involves so much maturity and patience, that you should praise yourself for it.
Use the gap year(s) to invest time in activities and work experiences that you think can shape you for the best. Different experiences filter your capacity, needs and passion – and that is how you will come to realize what it is that you want to do, and what career you want to follow in the long term. And if throughout this time, you decide to not pursue any more studies and focus on work solely – that is also bold and amazing.
We are all diverse human beings, and there is ‘no one size that fits all’. Our needs, wishes, and ambitions are tailored to our personas. It’s ok to embrace your need for more clarity, time and experience in order to make a well-thought decision that is going to impact your entire life.
More advice? We have plenty of it, this time on money.
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