Long gone are the days when an undergraduate degree had the power to set a job candidate apart from the crowd. You might find yourself among many graduates saying, “I got my bachelor’s degree, now what?” With higher education growing into a global standard and millions of young people graduating university every year to enter the workforce, employers have started to look for even greater degrees of specialization among their potential recruits– it’s called degree inflation.
In this context, the master’s degree has truly become the “new bachelor’s.” Many employers recommend that in our modern economy, recent graduates get a few years of real-world work experience after graduation, then hightail it back into the classroom to earn a graduate degree which can help further leverage them in their professional field.
Of course every student has a unique path and every career requires a unique course of action, but it’s become undeniable that a master’s degree can open up whole new windows of opportunity for young (or even mid-career) professionals. Once you are positive of the direction you want to take your career, have said out loud, “I want to go to graduate school abroad” (a necessary prerequisite), and you have figured out the type of degree that can help get you there, it’s time to start thinking seriously about making the investment in getting a graduate degree abroad.
Here’s the spin: If you know employers highly value a master’s degree, and you also know that in our global economy, speaking another language and having working experience abroad can bolster your job prospects, why not kill two birds with one stone and look into international degree programs? With plenty of options for one year masters programs abroad, time constraints are less of a factor. But we won’t just stop there: here are just a few of the many reasons why going to grad school internationally can be the best choice you make in beginning or shifting your career:
Learning a Language
While plenty of graduate programs abroad have English instructors, spending one or two years studying at a foreign university is the perfect way to go from adequate to fluent in a second language. Most programs abroad will require that you have a sound grasp of the local language before beginning your studies, but if you make the sincere effort early on to prepare yourself for bilingual studies, then you’ll be well on your way to mastering not only an academic subject, but a second tongue as well.
It may help influence where you decide to study knowing that the six official U.N. languages are English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin. These languages are spoken by billions of people, and are especially valued in the working community. Globally-minded young professionals would do well to make an effort to become fluent in at least two of these languages, and getting a graduate degree abroad is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Location, Location, Location
This one may come as a no-brainer, but certain countries are flat-out better places to study certain subjects than others. Interested in getting a graduate degree degree abroad in international relations? Belgium and Switzerland are both highly influential in the fields of global politics. More interested in Finance or economics? Global cities such as London, New York, and Paris are among the most influential financial capitals in the world. Are you all about development studies? China and India are becoming hugely important global players and boast highly competitive university systems.
The overarching point is that when deciding where you should be going to grad school internationally, you shouldn’t feel constrained in any way by location. A Master’s degree is about specialization, and part of that specialization now includes where you choose to study, in addition to the subject itself. Think about what language will be most useful to learn, where the best academic programs are, and where you’d most want to establish a professional network abroad, among other considerations.
To get started from a broad angle, check out these underrated countries you may not have thought about for getting a graduate degree abroad.
The price of higher education is far from equal across the global landscape, and so affordability can be a big reason to go abroad for your degree as well. Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia may boast some of the most prestigious university systems in the world, but they by no coincidence also happen to be the most expensive. There are plenty of other places in the world where you can get a quality education, and a much better bang for your buck.
It’s true that countries will sometimes charge extra tuition fees for international students pursuing their degree abroad, but even so in many cases it is cheaper to go abroad for your postgraduate than it is to stay at home, especially if you are coming from any of the aforementioned countries. In fact, you might save time and money going to grad school internationally. Depending on the country and the university, you could enroll in one year masters programs abroad and be spared a small fortune in tuition and living costs if you are thrifty about it.
Moving on now to a more qualitative consideration, getting a graduate degree abroad is the opportunity to deeply enhance your knowledge of global cultures and affairs. The reason why employers love candidates studying abroad is because, in the globalized state of the modern economy, jobs often require interaction with people from all different countries and backgrounds on a regular basis.
A master’s degree displays on paper that you have international experience in this respect, but more importantly it legitimately prepares you for professional life in the global marketplace. This is your opportunity to break free from the cultural norms that you grew up within, get a glimpse of the wide world around you, and come to a more sound appreciation for the tremendous diversity you’ll work within during your adult life.
Ready to change that “I want to go to graduate school abroad” to “I’m going to graduate school abroad”?! Stop hesitating and get going! The upsides of international degree programs are enormous and if you’re serious about a globally-oriented career, it is the perfect opportunity to start your path on the right foot. You can even start by snooping around graduate school abroad listings to scout out potential destinations, read reviews, and compare programs in different countries side by side with MyGoAbroad. When you get a good sense of what’s what, the next steps are discussing with your loved ones, applying to schools, and then you’re on your way!