Studying abroad has become increasingly popular among the youths of Bangladesh. The prospects of an international degree combined with world-class education seem lucrative to many. However, it's not a smooth sail. Higher education abroad has its perks as well as its downsides. Let's have a look at what you stand to gain and potentially lose if you opt to study abroad.
Advantages of Studying Abroad
Interacting with new cultures
In addition to the prospect of better education, studying abroad opens the opportunity to interact with new cultures. The scope of cultural interactions or exposure to a foreign culture is limited in Bangladesh. For many, the only form of interaction is through foreign shows and the internet. From that perspective, studying abroad offers a great opportunity to better understand a foreign culture and broaden the horizon of knowledge and cultural understanding.
Access to better education
A 2017 report by UNESCO shows that about 60,000 Bangladeshi students are studying abroad. The top choice among them was Malaysia as it houses the highest number of outbound students from Bangladesh. USA, UK, Australia, and Canada are also on the list. The common factor of all these countries is that they offer world-class education. Their universities rank better in the metrics. Access to a better degree allows a career jumpstart for the students. Not only they are highly valued in Bangladesh, but they are also sought after in different developed countries of the world.
Getting out of comfort zone
The social structure of Bangladesh doesn’t provide a child or young adult to venture their responsibilities. There is virtually no scope to get out of your comfort zone. Studying abroad provides this unique opportunity to be responsible for yourself. For many, this is the first real-world experience with personal management and understanding responsibilities. You might think what is so special about that? Going out of your comfort zone not only broadens your experience but also makes you better at adapting to situations. The real-world experience adds to your skills and expertise.
Learning a new language
The importance of learning a new language often gets overlooked. Many people think that learning a new language might not benefit them much. However, if you plan on working for international organizations, command over multiple languages will give you an edge. And there is no better way of learning a new language than studying abroad. Exposure to local culture will automatically fast-track you into learning the language if you are eager enough. A first-hand experience is something that you cannot replace with bookish learnings.
Studying abroad opens up new horizons for networking. You get to interact with people from all over the globe just like yourself. As a result, you can already have robust networking before graduation. Bangladesh is not the first choice for foreign students for mainstream subjects. As a result, you do not get access to international networking. Studying abroad removes this constraint. You can read more about the importance and how to increase your professional networking here.
Better job opportunities
Usually, for most students, the key goal of higher studies is to build a good career. Studying abroad will present you with better job opportunities. A good number of outbound students from Bangladesh chooses developed countries with better job prospects as their study abroad destination. A degree from their local university easily sets you up for a position that would have been otherwise hard to get into.
Disadvantages of Studying Abroad
Though cultural interaction is an advantage of studying abroad, it can also be a disadvantage. A new culture may create a cultural shock for some students. The difference in culture and language makes every country unique. However, not everyone can adapt to the difference. The prospect of studying abroad may seem very lucrative. However, you should do thorough research on the culture, food, and lifestyle of your destination country.
Studying abroad isn’t cheap. From the economic perspective of Bangladesh, there are not many people who can afford to study abroad in the first place. In addition to the tuition fees, the high living cost of the developed countries is to be considered as well. Thankfully, several scholarship opportunities are provided to international students in many countries. However, you need to show your extracurricular and academic merit to be qualified for them.
It is not surprising that no matter how well you adapt to the culture, you will still be an outsider. Many Bangladeshi students face social exclusion while studying abroad if there is no 'Bangladeshi student community'. However, there might be few exceptions to this. You can always seek help from the local community. But integrating yourself into the culture and ways of the natives might be a tough nut to crack.
It might take longer to graduate
Studying abroad comes with two options. Either you choose to pursue the English taught course or courses that are taught in the native language. While many Bangladeshi outbounds choose countries with English-taught courses, there are exceptions. If you want to pursue higher studies in countries like Germany or Finland, you will have to learn the local language first. Before even starting your major, you might have to spend a year or two to earn a professional degree in the native language. The late graduation will hamper your prospect of early career development.
The advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad equally stack up against each other. The pros of higher studies in overseas institutions stick out as a very lucrative opportunity for both personal and professional development. On the other hand, the cons of study abroad aren’t something that can be entirely ignored. However, there are work-around to the issues, if you are willing to put in the effort. As a Bangladeshi student, you should definitely opt for studying abroad if your means support.