Having just completed a masters degree overseas I think it’s important for other potential students to have some tips that I wish I’d had when I decided to get my degree abroad.
1. For U.S. federal financial aid purposes studying at an approved college or university is treated the same as if you were studying at a US College or University. You can find a list of approved overseas schools at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov then click on Find my school codes and then choose Foreign Country from the drop down menu, this will give you a list of all the overseas schools with US federal financial aid codes.
2. Don’t limit yourself to English speaking countries. While England and Australia are great places to study there are schools in other countries, particularly European ones that conduct classes in English. A good way to discover which schools these are is to look for study abroad programs that go the country you are interested in and see if a particular university in that country offering study abroad classes in English, chances are if they do semester abroad programs in English there, they will have a degree program available in English as well. Some countries with universities that offer instruction in English are: Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Japan. Also this can be a great way to learn another language, even if you take your course instruction in english, living in a country where English is not the native language gives you the extra advantage of not just leaving with a degree but a second language.
3. Obtaining your degree overseas does NOT limit your employment opportunities once you return to the US. It’s important to remember that studying overseas will allow you to make contacts with students from all over the world and broaden the employment prospects you have over those of your peers who studied in the U.S. If you want to have an international career this is a great first step, also employers are impressed that you were versatile in studying overseas and are aware that you have specialized knowledge you would not have gained by staying home.
4. Do your homework. While it is exciting to study overseas and there are many advantages, it’s still important to do your research. Make sure that the program you are taking is comparable to one in the U.S., it’s easy to check university websites to see the number and type of courses you are expected to take and compare that with what an overseas school is requiring. Also make sure you check to see what living expenses are like, if there are dorms available, and the percentage of international students that are attending the school you choose. These things can make a big difference in your day to day experience.
5. Don’t be afraid to take the leap! It’s a big decision to study overseas for a few years to get a degree but it can also be an extremely rewarding experience. Living overseas for two years taught me to be more self-confident, gave me a unique view of living in another part of the world, allowed me to make friends with other students studying at my university from all over the globe, and really broadened my employment opportunities when I was finished.