Advantages and disadvantages of doing your Master’s abroad
I have been a very enthusiastic student since I can remember. I love learning, taking classes, making notes, you know the deal. And I grew up in a quite touristic town, so I was always in touch with people from around the globe. Because of these amazing privileges, I realized early on that there was a world out there that I wanted to see.
Naturally, when I found out I could combine studying with traveling I was over the moon! When the opportunity presented itself, I applied for a Master’s degree in Wageningen (which had been on my mind since I was 15 years old). However, no one prepared me for what would come next. Fulfilling one’s dreams is often romanticized and when we encounter the obstacles that come along, we can become stressed and even disappointed. I am here to give you a very honest perspective about the advantages and disadvantages of doing your Master’s abroad, both from my experience and my friends’ experiences.
Being away from your home, friends and family can be very challenging. When studying abroad it is not as easy to go back or visit them as often. Doing a Master’s requires a lot of time, which will also leave you with the feeling of not communicating with them as often as you would like to. Sooner or later, you will start missing the food from your country, the sounds, the music, and, in some cases, the warmth of the people. All cultures are different, and it is completely normal to miss your own.
Adapting to a new environment
Talking about missing your own culture, adapting to a new one can make you feel a little bit out of place. The customs and traditions are different and at the beginning everything will seem strange. From the way people dress to the way they talk, especially if it’s a language you don’t understand. I remember I had to get used to how straightforward the Dutch language is… honestly, it took some time.
In a sense, you are leaving a life behind and starting a new one. You arrive by yourself to a whole new place, with no connections, no knowledge of how things work and no one to explain that to you (we are here to help if you want it, though!). At times, it can feel very lonely. You will eventually make friends, but in the meantime, it can feel a bit haunting.
Studying abroad can cost a lot more than it would in your home country. You will have to save up, lend money from your family, take on a loan or get a scholarship in order to do it. Sadly, some of these options come tied to conditions that could build up stress for you. Because of the high costs, not only for tuition, but also for living, you will find yourself living less comfortably than you were used to.
advantages and disadvantages of doing your Master’s abroad
Studying at a top university
In case you don’t know yet, Wageningen University is a highly ranked university worldwide according to multiple rankings. On top of that, Wageningen is the best university in The Netherlands. Studying in a high-ranking university means you can have one of the best learning experiences in the world, access to international internships and a wide network.
Learn a new language/immerse in a different culture
As a person who loves to learn, this is a top one for me. Learning a new language and immersing yourself in a different culture allows you to see life from multiple perspectives. Broadening your view of the world is an enriching experience that might help you in the future to resolve problems in creative ways.
Living away from your family and friends can get lonely at times, however being independent can build up your self-confidence. As you study abroad, you move out of you comfort zone and do things on your own. It gives you skills that otherwise you would have to acquire later in life. From cooking and cleaning, to paying bills and making your own doctor’s appointments. On top of that, you will get to be responsible for your well-being and your space… meaning you can decorate your room as you wish and go out as late as you want.
Meeting new international people
Meeting new people is great. Meeting new INTERNATIONAL people is awesome! Wageningen is recognized in The Netherlands for its international community. The experience of meeting people from other lands and cultures lets you discover that there are ton of similarities despite our different backgrounds. It inspires you to help others and creates a sense of unity. You will have the ability to make lifelong connections with people all over the world. A piece of your heart will be in each continent.
From my personal experience the advantages of doing my Master’s abroad outweigh the disadvantages. I am very happy studying abroad. Although I do miss my family and friends, I would not change my decision!
However, studying abroad is not for everyone. Before deciding, it is best to analyze your goals and be honest to yourself. If you would like to hear from others’ experiences you can contact one of Wageningen students via the Unibuddy program.