As Singaporeans, we all want the best for our career. The importance of a good education for great career prospects is undeniable and is the reason why higher education is now the norm for many of us. It is a pivotal milestone that often determines our career path and life direction.
There are many options these days when it comes to receiving a tertiary education. One of the more common decisions to consider is whether to pursue your university education locally or overseas. Statistics show that more and more Singaporean students are choosing to study overseas, with students heading to the United States at an all-time high.
However, the grass might not always be greener on the other continent. Let us help you make sense of the decision-making process by listing out the pros and cons of pursuing a foreign education!
Pro of studying overseas 1: Gaining a competitive edge
One of the biggest reasons Singaporeans choose to study overseas is to gain a competitive edge over their peers. In fact, according to the biggest-ever survey on the subject, the QS Global Employer Survey Report, 6 out of 10 employers around the world give extra credit for an international student experience, and more than 80% said they actively sought graduates who had studied abroad.
Studying overseas helps you gain a first-hand, real-world perspective of issues learnt in the classroom, deepening your learning and knowledge application. This real-world perspective sets you apart from your local peers and is able to give you a more 360 view of your industry, making you better at your job!
This competitive edge is so recognized that even top local universities such as SMU now makes it a requirement for their students to participate in at least one overseas programme to graduate. NTU and NUS both also have overseas learning programmes as a key component to their curriculum.
Pro of studying overseas 2: More degree options
Another reason to consider pursuing a foreign degree is if the degree you want is not available to you in Singapore.
Some local courses are available only in public universities (such as Medicine in NUS or Criminology in SIT). Some are not even available in Singapore (nuclear engineering anyone?). Even amongst public universities, many specialised courses are exclusive to just one university (like Dentistry in NUS).
If your passion lies in one of these specialised degrees, studying overseas will be a natural decision for you. In fact, by pursuing such degrees overseas, you make yourself extremely attractive to employers who are looking for individuals with these specialised skills and expertise.
Pro of studying overseas 3: Invaluable experience and soft-skills
Studying overseas often means adapting to a new culture, living alone and managing your own budget. These are invaluable skills that will benefit you in every aspect of your life. It also nurtures empathy, open-mindedness and independence, all of which make you a better person in every way. Some might even say it is this that makes an overseas degree the most rewarding.
Studying overseas also introduces you to students from many other cultures and nationalities. This helps you develop skills such as communication and teamwork, which translate well to your career in the future. Plus, you get stories and memories to last a lifetime!
Con of studying overseas 1: Culture shock and homesickness
However, all this independence and new culture could also result in a big con — homesickness. Without the support network of your friends and family, life can get tough, so you should be mentally prepared.
Depending on the country you choose to study in, the culture shock could also be a learning curve to overcome. One such example is addressing your lecturers by their first name, common in Australia or UK! But with an open mind and willingness to learn and experience new things, dealing with culture shock can be easier.
If all else fails, find a healthy distraction and try something adventurous. You have to live a little, you are overseas after all!
Con of studying overseas 2: Expenses
Naturally, one of the biggest factors when it comes to considering an overseas education is the expenses involved. Depending on the country you choose to study in, expenses and course fees can vary greatly. The most popular countries to study abroad in — Australia, UK and the United States — can have much higher living expenses than if you were to study in Singapore.
Ever wondered how much does it cost to study overseas? The UK for example, can have a combined course fee and living expense cost of S$60,000 per year. Most of these expenses are living expenses, which may not be covered if you are pursuing your degree with a scholarship
These high expenses also mean that any unexpected expenditures or emergencies can put a lot of stress on both your finances and your studies. It helps to budget extra for emergencies, or to purchase an insurance policy that covers these unexpected situations.
So, should I study overseas?
There are many benefits to studying overseas that cannot be had in Singapore. However, you should also be aware of the many risks involved in choosing to do so. Thankfully, you can mitigate these risks by purchasing an insurance plan specific to the needs of studying abroad.
Consider pursuing your overseas studies with our Global Study insurance. Designed for students going on to higher institutions, the policy covers accidents, illness, study interruptions, and even your holiday travels. You can choose from 1-month to 12-month cover options, giving you the flexibility to manage your budget and your coverage. This comprehensive protection is designed to be simple so that you can focus on making your dream education the enriching experience it should be!
Global Study even covers you when you are taking a vacation break from your studies. The plan covers you for accidents from adventurous activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving.
What do you think? It is time to broaden your horizons and career prospects with peace of mind!
Find out more about Global Study Insurance here.