Zenia was keen to go for her higher education to a foreign university. The idea of living and managing independently and studying at a renowned global university really caught her fancy since childhood. Her parents too were in agreement with her decision, but were in two minds when to send her- after class 12th or upon completing graduation.
There are so many students like Zenia who’d love to study abroad to get a unique educational experience but are wary of the choice of the right program level- undergraduate or master’s.
Choosing an overseas education program is surely an experience of a lifetime, but it can be considerably more rewarding if done at the right stage of your career. There are pros and cons to both, and your choice should be made only after a careful analysis.
So, let me help you look at the benefits and disadvantages of studying abroad for both undergraduation and post-graduation. Evaluate these before you take the plunge!
Advantages of Studying Abroad After Class 12th
Here are the top reasons in favour of going overseas for an undergrad degree program:
1. Overseas admissions are more holistic
Most foreign universities offer a more flexible admission process than Indian universities. The Indian university admission scenario is highly competitive and marks-oriented. It is pretty difficult to gain admission to renowned universities, if you have not been a bookworm all along.
Universities abroad are quite diverse in their requirements and deliver great quality education empowering you with a more skill-oriented education. If you have been an exceptional all-rounder, admissions abroad would be easier.
2. Overseas education is more application-based
If you are aiming at just a graduation degree in a professional course and do not wish to go in for a PG at all, then going abroad after 12th is advisable. The Indian curriculum is in the bad books for being more skewed in favour of theory while the US universities are more balanced in theory and practical applications.
3. You learn and develop personal and managerial skills
Studying abroad for an undergrad program equips you with intercultural communication skills, leadership, and independent management along with a high level of maturity to survive in a culturally distinct environment than yours. All of these skills are greatly appreciated in the job market and can prove to be invaluable to any organization in today’s globally competitive world.
Starting early at an undergraduate level gives you a fair edge with more opportunities to build on these valuable skills.
4. You get access to advanced technology and facilities
For those of you who wish to take up IT, science, engineering or technology, an option to study abroad can surely give you the advantage of accessing state-of-the-art research centres and technology, which Indian Universities may be lacking on.
5. You can explore career options
If you have 2-3 career options in mind, but have not been able to zero down on one, an overseas education can be the solution to your problems. Unlike the system of specialised education in India (you choose a field for bachelor’s and study that for 3-4 years), overseas universities offer you a lot of flexibility in terms of exploration and experimentation.
You can take up courses in the fields that interest you, and decide your major and minor later on. Such flexibility can help you gain career clarity through practical exposure.
6. Your ideal job has an international element
You can move one step ahead by taking up a UG overseas program if your ideal job has a higher international engagement. If the fashion world beckons you then doing a fashion course in Paris would take you some steps up the ladder. If Business Management, Technology and Social Sciences are what you are looking at in the future, then an international degree from leading global universities shall definitely benefit you.
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Disadvantages of Studying Abroad After Class 12th
Here are some reasons why going overseas right after your class 12th may not be such a good idea.
1. Overseas education is quite expensive
Unless you have planned well in advance, it is difficult for many students to meet the expenses without scholarships. Thus, many of them choose to find a job after graduation to fund their own education and expenses for postgraduation.
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2. It’s not a good option if you completely lack clarity on your career goals
Invest in an overseas education only after you are absolutely clear about which career path to take. It would be sad to see so much money invested in a UG degree go down the drain if you decide to pursue another stream altogether. For a PG degree, you become more focused and geared up.
3. The overseas admission process is not straightforward
In class 12th, not many students plan ahead in time to engage in extra-curriculars and other activities needed to help you grab a seat in a coveted college overseas. College can be a good time to gather these certificates, build your profile and prepare for standardised exams to get into your dream overseas university after graduation.
4. You may not be mature enough to manage the cultural change right after 12th
It may be difficult to study and work in a new setup entirely on your own. Some students miss their home a tad too much. Indian setup gives little freedom and exposure to students till class 12th. The transition from school to college becomes a bit too drastic in the case of overseas education.
Advantages of Studying Abroad After Graduation
Here are the top reasons in favour of going overseas for an undergrad degree program:
1. A post-graduation degree is often cheaper
When you look at it in mathematical terms, a PG degree abroad turns out to be cheaper than a UG degree in the same country, simply because a postgraduate course is shorter. Simply because an undergraduate degree is 4 years long, the living expenses double.
And unless you are talking about an MBA degree (which is much costlier than many PG courses), the tuition fee for PG also ends up being lesser simply because you get more opportunities for scholarships and grants, as well as access to teaching assistant positions and on-campus jobs. As a result, it becomes easier for students to pay off their education loans and expenses on their own.
2. You are more mature and clearer about your goals at the PG stage
As you grow up and climb through the first rungs of your professional journey, you learn many things about yourself and your career. You often find out that the things you wanted in the 1st year of college are not what you want now.
By the time you get ready to go for a PG, you are much surer about what you want from your career and the direction you are headed in. Such clarity about your career goals helps you avoid mistakes in choosing your course, and potentially wasting time, efforts and money on a course that was not a right fit.
3. It makes you eligible for higher posts in the corporate world
Quite often, promotions in the corporate world are based on post-grad degrees and work performance. An overseas post-grad program (especially it is from a renowned global university), does give you an upper edge over your competition. This is especially true of MBA programs and Law schools from the US, which have a high demand in the job market.
4. It helps you expand your network
While in an undergrad program, your exposure to the industry is limited due to course specifications. But a post-grad program expands your networking circle by connecting you with professionals across the globe which can help you a lot in your professional career.
5. Short-term programs can also give you an edge after graduation
If you do not wish to stay away from home for that long, yet still want international exposure, you can opt for many short-term courses (a few weeks, months or 1-year), volunteer programs or international internships to enrich your professional curve. These can be an alternative to your PG degree, or an addition, depending upon your goals and requirements.
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Disadvantages of Studying Abroad After Graduation
Here are some potential pitfalls of going for overseas education after graduation.
1. Working abroad after a Master’s degree is not always easy
This has emerged as an important factor since some countries are not very willing to offer jobs to foreigners. Before you take the plunge, do check the job market and immigration rules in your chosen country of study.
This disadvantage at the Master’s level can be better handled with a UG program, which can help you to further stay on for a PG program and work there as well, helping you stay overseas for a longer duration and make the most of your time.
2. Some postgraduation degrees may not be acceptable/transferable in India
If you plan to come back and work in India, make sure that your international degree is applicable to any degree or licensure necessary to practice in your field (i.e. law, medicine, social work, counselling, etc.). Also, some countries in Europe (such as UK) have the norm of 1-year master’s degrees, which are not widely accepted in India.
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Studying abroad can surely expand your professional horizons and help you add new perspectives to your education. However, its umpteen benefits may be undercut by a few disadvantages. It is important, thus, to carefully evaluate your options and choose one that is in sync with your career goals and preferences.
There is surely no one size that can fit all, so don’t be hesitant to get help from overseas experts to make the right choice.
Did you find this article helpful in making your choice? Please share with us in the comments below!