What you need to know about studying in a foreign culture

So, you want to study abroad? There are lots of great opportunities out there and it can be a wonderful way to expand your horizons, as well as putting you in a good position to embark on a career. It’s hard work, however, and comes with its share of challenges. What do you need to know to make a success of it?

Independent living

Leaving your parents’ home to study is always a big step – much more so when you’re moving thousands of miles away. Getting by day to day in a different language can be quite exhausting even if you feel you know it well, as can coping with differences in little things from body language to manners. You may find yourself getting intensely homesick. Try Skyping with friends back home or joining a foreign students’ society to provide yourself with some relief.

Independent learning

What’s expected of you at most international universities is likely to be very different from what you’ve been used to. Courses tend to move at a faster pace and be considerably more intense. Tutors are generally interested in pushing students rather than in helping them to get through tests, and you’ll be expected to do most of your own research, not just remember what you’ve been told in class. You may find that classes are available to help new students learn how to use local research facilities.


One of the most popular choices for young Americans studying abroad is Israel. It has some of the world’s best universities and is particularly strong on subjects related to business and economics. Even when you can’t get 50% off the HighQ course, it’s not too difficult to find affordable courses, and you’ll also find many taught in English. There’s good public transport and a culture that really embraces intellectual achievement.


Germany not only has some of the best universities in Europe – especially for engineering and science subjects – but the state-run ones are free or very cheap to study at, even for international students. They tend to come with complementary travel passes to encourage exploration of the cities where they’re based. It’s fairly easy to find courses taught in English, especially at postgraduate level, and it’s also common for students to get away with taking more time than planned to complete work.

Hong Kong

If you want to pursue opportunities in the Far East, Hong Kong is one of the best places in which to study. It’s especially strong on medical and technological subjects. Usually, when you’re studying your major, you’ll be expected to take on a vocational subject at the same time, but this could simply mean taking classes to improve your Chinese. There is a strong focus on producing graduates with a rounded understanding and good general knowledge.

With many other countries out there also offering great opportunities for foreign students, it’s well worth investigating to find out where would suit you best. Whatever choice you make, you’re in for an adventure, and you’ll learn a lot more than just what’s included in your course.

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