Should students study abroad?
Editor's note: Studying abroad is increasingly popular in China, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese students going overseas for their education each year. But the question is, will it actually help them stand out in the fierce job competition? And is it worth the money? What are the pros and cons? Forum readers share their opinion. You're welcome to add yours.
There has been a lot of discussion about sea turtles - Chinese returning from US to China. In effect two-thirds of Chinese graduates with overseas degrees do not get starting salaries significantly above those of Chinese graduates from domestic universities. That is they do not get above 6,000 yuan and the group average of these two-thirds is around 5,000 yuan. That probably reflects excess supply. So is it worth financially?
Studying overseas has other benefits rather than just finding a job. If you can afford it, it is an experience not to be missed. It teaches people how to be independent, opens the world up to them and they learn a set of life skills like surviving in another foreign country. I wouldn't recommend selling your house for it though, it is a gamble and it doesn't always pay off. I would encourage anyone who can afford it to do it though. Definitely a fantastic experience.
I noticed a lot of Chinese students in Australia just sticking to themselves and not trying to immerse in local culture. It is as if they have not left China. All they got back was a degree without the additional benefit of a foreign experience.
Chinese students in different part of the world should learn from the local experience and bring it back to China. That's how China can get ideas from various parts of the world just like what the Japanese did decades ago.
Studying abroad positively and unequivocally influences the career path, world-view, and self-confidence of students. For me besides being fun and exciting, it was a unique life changing experience that helped me grow academically, personally and prepared me for enhanced career.
This is a nice to have, not a need to have. It is not essential. Your life may be enriched by you spending some time abroad, but your education will not be enriched by it. In fact sometimes it could actually suffer. Unless your daddy is rich, if you need to borrow up to your eyeballs to go college, you should forego this and seek to graduate early instead. Once you start working, you may well get the opportunity to travel. Besides, with so many foreign students now studying in the US, every college is practically a world classroom. We don't have to go to the world; the world is coming to us.
This is basically about money. Not the greater social good. As a result, universities just want as many high fee paying students as possible and don't mind if standards are lax. From my experience at University in Australia, I'd say nearly three quarters of Chinese international students lacked the English skills to study a degree in English. If you raise the standards, then less enrolments and less money.
Many of them also really only wanted to be overseas so they could stand out back home. Naturally they then group together. My point is that this basically boils down to a few things. First, it's too easy to study abroad without sufficient English skills because universities will seek to maximize profits. Second, humans tend to hang around in groups they feel comfortable with and imagine their own culture is best without experiencing something different.
I am a student at San Diego State University currently studying abroad in Brazil. I definitely think that everyone should study abroad. Studying abroad is such an amazing experience that you can't get from just vacationing. By living in another country your life completely changes. You become more independent, motivated, cultured, etc and in a lot of cases fluent in at least one other language.
Studying abroad can be a waste of time and money or a key ingredient to success after college. It all depends on what the student is prepared to bring to the table. To optimize the experience, a student should already have a reasonable knowledge of the language of the host country. Also the seriously committed student should resist the easy tendency to hang out mostly with other foreigners and integrate into culture.