Myth #1 – I can’t afford to study abroad
Explore what’s possible. Ask your institution about exchange opportunities so that you aren’t paying international student fees to go abroad and explore what scholarships are available to fund your experience. Visit the Student Center Student Centre Featured Scholarships page to find funding that could help you reach your goal.
“There was a lot of information from teachers and funding available so I felt encouraged to apply.”
(Canadian education abroad alumnus to Germany)
Myth #2 – I can’t leave my job
Many employers value international experience and the skills that you are able to build while abroad. Weigh the pros and cons of this by considering your budget and priorities and talk to your employer about whether it’s possible to leave your job temporarily, or continue working from overseas. You may be surprised by their flexibility. Alternatively, you may be able to find work abroad as you study to gain international experience without breaking the bank.
“Employers love to hire students with international field experience and students can pick their careers more easily.”
Myth #3 – I will miss my friends and family too much
Try these strategies to prevent homesickness:
- Schedule a regular time to Skype with your friends and family;
- Become engaged in your new environment: join a club or team and get to know your new classmates and roommates;
- Consider a destination that isn’t too far away, for a short period of time. Our research finds that students who study abroad once often go again, for a longer period, and to less familiar places.
“I enjoyed my first experience so much, I wanted the opportunity to travel more.”
(Canadian education abroad alumnus to England and Ireland)
Myth #4 – I may not get credit for the courses I take in another country
In most international exchange arrangements, your institution will recognize the credits you obtain abroad. If this is not the case consider a study abroad experience which takes you outside of the classroom: Explore a field school, a volunteer or teach abroad experience or an internship between semesters or even during your March break. Your resume will look great, you will return with unique international skills and your course credits will be intact.
Myth #5 – I don’t require international experience to get a job in my field
Studying abroad is a natural fit for students in fields such as languages or international business. Study abroad opportunities are also on the rise in the STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market. Imagine if you could list on your resume how you participated in an international research team, or if you could talk about the world-class engineering projects you learned about first-hand in another country. Study abroad has been shown to greatly enhance soft skills which are important in any field. Here is an article on how study abroad contributes to career readiness.
“During my first formal study abroad experience I took a course that would not have been offered to me here in my home institution in Canada that changed my career trajectory (parasitology)… At present, much of my work is based internationally and I regularly communicate with collaborators at sites I visited during my training… those relationships are the foundation of my current work.”
(Canadian education abroad alumni to United Kingdom, Kenya, Malawi, Colombia & Uganda)
“My education abroad experience helped me get my first two jobs. It also gave me the opportunity to do internships abroad during my studies, which provided me with highly regarded experience when I started working. It helped me develop the necessary skills to move up rapidly in the organization.
(Canadian education abroad alumni to Mexico)