Study abroad is one of the quintessential college experiences. If you get the chance to travel abroad during your studies, you have to take it! It can be hard deciding where you want to go because there are so many great countries to study in. Here are 5 main considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best study abroad destination for you.
5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Choose A Study Abroad Destination
1. Why do you want to study abroad?
There doesn’t have to be ONE main reason. In fact, most college students have many reasons for traveling abroad. However, you’ll want to factor this down to at least 3 main reasons if you’re trying to narrow down the destinations available to you.
Some reasons you might want to think about:
- Travel opportunities
- Language immersion
- Cultural exploration
- Research projects
- City living/ rural living
- Future job opportunities
- Personal growth
2. What language concerns do you have?
Some students study abroad in order to improve their language skills in a particular country. It’s the best way to grow your Spanish, French, or Japanese skills (or skills for any other language you’re studying) because you’re literally thrown into a country with native speakers. Even if you’re not currently studying any secondary languages, you can still study abroad!
I chose to study abroad in London because I wouldn’t have to face any language barriers. Other countries you’ll do fine speaking English in include Singapore, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands (specifically Amsterdam), and Denmark. You’ll be fine in larger cities, too! Tokyo, for example, is very easy for English-only speakers to navigate.
3. How are the living expenses?
Living expenses are something that I wish I thought about when selecting a country (more specifically, city) to study abroad in. Many big cities are going to be expensive. I’m talking Tokyo, London, and Paris (of course, there are many more! These are just top-of-mind at the moment). Some countries are expensive–Switzerland, for example, has very high living expenses.
Look up how the US-Dollar (or your country’s currency) compares to other currencies. The USD is weaker than the British pound, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to go to the U.K.
This is very important, because you’ll be able to budget for your time abroad much more effectively. A decent meal in London is around $15-20, but you can easily pay for a delicious meal in Singapore for $4-5.
4. What travel opportunities does this country offer?
Depending on the location of your study abroad destination, you’ll have the chance to visit a variety of surrounding countries during your time abroad.
London is a popular study abroad destination for college students because of budget flights (I’m talking $30 roundtrip) to the rest of Europe. If you’re studying in a country within the EU, then you won’t even have to go through the entire passport process when traveling (SO time-saving!). Traveling between countries in Asia is more expensive, but it can be balanced out by the lower costs of living.
This is all dependent on each individual, so keep this in mind!
5. What are the crime rates in these cities?
This is a relatively overlooked concern when it comes to choosing a place to study abroad. However, it plays a huge role when you’re trying to pick a place you want to live in for a few months!
In Europe, violent crime rates are generally lower than in the U.S. However, petty crime is rampant. Multiple friends of mine have had their wallets and phones stolen both in London and around the rest of Europe. This is especially important if you “look” like a tourist. For example, I’m Asian-American. Anywhere I go in Europe, I’d come off as a tourist.
If you don’t want to deal with these at all, try Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, or Shanghai. These are all incredibly safe travel destinations (speaking from personal experience)! Crime rates are low for both violent crime and petty crime.
Of course, no city is perfectly safe. Don’t let this deter you from any country that you really want to travel to. You should be fine as long as you take the right precautions. I traveled to tons of countries during my time abroad, and never had anything stolen!
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Studying abroad is such a personal and life-changing experience for college students, with tons of learning opportunities outside of the classroom (and travel!). You’ll be able to create new memories no matter where you choose as your study abroad destination. Good luck!
Related: 5 Reasons You Have To Study Abroad