International education: do the benefits outweigh the costs?

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Increasingly, high school students are looking internationally for their university education with the US, Australia and the UK among the most popular destinations. Reasons cited for studying abroad range from achieving qualifications from top class universities to gaining access to and work experience with the world’s largest employers.

We have been discussing the pros and cons of gaining an international degree with Dr Andy Nazurechuk, Vice-President International Relations at Taylors University, Malaysia.

In your opinion what are the benefits of studying abroad?

Travel has always been promoted as a great way to learn about the world.  Tourists travel to create enjoyable memories about their adventures.  Student travelers are typically more observant and spend more time interacting with their specific community.  Students who travel have the opportunity to compare their own environment with those in other countries.  This is the type of experiential learning that cannot be taught in the classroom.   Students who study abroad learn through integrated living and academic experiences.   Homestays, internships, volunteering, and earning credit through service learning are all popular study aboard programs.

What is the reality regarding costs?

There has never been a better time to travel.  In the past, the cost of airfare was prohibitive,  but that has changed with the advent of budget airlines.  Planning ahead is the key to obtaining the best deals.  Of course, destination selection is the main factor in the overall costs of a student studying abroad.  Setting a budget, selecting an affordable destination, and most importantly, learning to manage your money in a foreign country when there are so many things to do are all part of making overseas experiences possible.

Is it possible to quantify the benefit received of an international education?

Quantifying international educational benefits is difficult, but from my experience with students who have traveled on my own programs, the most obvious change is how quickly these students mature.   Students all think they know everything, but when they travel, have to book a train, find a hotel, order off a menu with different cuisine, or operate in a different language with cultural differences, it is an eye-opening experience.  Students come to the understanding that the world is a big place and there is so much that they don’t know that they need to work harder in their own studies to compete in a global marketplace.

Would you recommend all students to go and study abroad or is there a certain “type”?

Every student can benefit from international travel.  Students who are independent and can take care of themselves are able to select more challenging destinations.  Students who may not have a high level of confidence are better traveling with groups of friends from their own universities.   I have never heard a student say “I wish I didn’t go”.   Even when trips get messed up due to the weather, delays, miscommunication, or issues with the dynamics of the group they travel with,  the student learns from the experience.   Travel experiences are something that stay with students for a lifetime.

We are delighted that Dr Andy Nazurechuk will be speaking on the value of international education at EduTECH Philippines 2017, he has been involved in tertiary education for over 25 years and created study aboard programs, opened an overseas campus, and taught or had leadership positions in China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and his second home, the Philippines. As Dr Nazurechuk said during our conversation:

“The Philippines has the opportunity grow substantially in the near future and it is vital for the current generation of students to gain educational experiences abroad that they can bring home as future leaders.  I am looking forward to starting this discussion with Philippine educators!”

Book your early bird tickets to EduTECH Philippines now!

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