Written by Alyssa Walker

If you are contemplating grad school, why not study abroad?

In addition to all of the study abroad perks you'll experience, you'll have the added benefit of a degree already behind you. 

Ready to travel and study some more? Here are six reasons to consider studying abroad for your graduate work.

You'll experience study abroad perks

We've said it before and we'll say it again: the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the drawbacks. You will explore a new culture, possibly expand your language abilities, meet new people, feel more independent, and get a chance to immerse yourself somewhere completely different from home.

It might be cheaper

Face it: grad school in the US -- and some other countries -- is expensive. If you don't want graduate school debt, consider an overseas option for your post-undergraduate studies.

Some highly ranked universities abroad even offer incentives for well-qualified candidates. In Iceland, Norway, and Germany, you may qualify for free graduate school tuition, while in Finland, Sweden, Spain, and Poland, your tuition and fees may be minimal.

Study your options and do your research. Need some help? Contact your study abroad office and tell them what you want to do. If there is no study abroad office, see what student services say.

You may have the experience of a lifetime for a fraction of the cost of studying in the US.

It could also take less time

Master's programs in the US typically take a minimum of two years, and sometimes even three or four. That's a lot of time and money.

Abroad, master's degrees typically take less time. That does not mean they are less rigorous. It just means that you will do more work in a shorter period of time. For example, a year-long master's may have an equivalent amount of work to around two years in the US!

Time management skills pay off, especially if you want a master's abroad. Think about it: less time, less money, similar result. Is that worth it to you?

You'll improve your language skills

You can either brush up on what you know or prepare yourself for an entirely new language adventure. A few phrases will get you going and you can take it from there.

Be sure to check out international graduate programs in English, too. While you don't technically need another language, learning your host country's language -- or at least enough to get around -- will likely endear yourself with the locals. 

You'll stand out

Speaking of edge, an international graduate program will also help you top up your resume. 

Many undergraduates study abroad, but few graduate students take the opportunity for a study abroad experience or international internship. Make yourself stand out! 

You'll be much more attractive to companies and organizations looking for a culturally aware, linguistically adept, diversified workforce, regardless of your field of study.

Convinced? Here's what you should do

First, you need to do a bunch of research. Research programs schools, costs, language requirements, host country culture, and consider your budget.

If you need an advisor or a guide for the process, find one. The student services or study abroad office should be ready and willing to help you make the best choices you possibly can. If you have been out of school for a few years, contact your alumni services office and ask for help. 

Second, check the visa requirements and get your visa ship-shape. Give yourself at least six months -- ideally a year -- to pull it all together so that there are no loose ends when you make the jump to your new graduate program. Get everything done early. Need to contact an embassy? Do it

Finally, consider your career. What do you want this degree to do for you? What do you want to do with the degree? Make sure your career goals align with your choice. Then? Go for it!

 

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Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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