Often something unimaginably tiny can have a huge effect on the world, as evidenced by advancements in the field of biotechnology, where a protein can turn into a life-saving drug or a nanomaterial can absorb sunlight to power the world more effectively. In the same way, a small action – the choice to study abroad – can have enormous effects on your life and career. As a relatively new field, there are still many biotechnology discoveries to be made, and the great minds working toward these discoveries are located all around the world. Studying biotechnology abroad can open your mind to all kinds of new things, from new foods and celebrations to new biotechnology breakthroughs.
Why Study Biotechnology Abroad
Discover new approaches to science, mingle with renowned scientists doing cutting edge research on the latest technologies, and explore new places and see the sights, all while working toward your degree in biotechnology.
The field of biotechnology is still small, though growing rapidly. As a result, biotechnology professionals must be excellent communicators, working in teams or with international firms for the common good of the world. Studying biotechnology abroad can improve a student’s communication skills by allowing them to step outside of their comfort zone and learn the subject from a new viewpoint.
Furthermore, biotechnology study abroad programs in some parts of the world will provide access to technology and coursework that is more advanced than what you may have access to at your home institution. Foreign universities with established biotechnology programs will have advanced laboratory settings, and typically significant research funding accessible to students and faculty.
Educationally, studying biotechnology abroad is a smart move, but it’s also a good decision for you personally. Biotechnology students are drawn to the subject because of its ability to help people, whether by improving crop yield in countries that might not have enough food for their population or creating pharmaceuticals that can treat dangerous diseases. That same desire to help people can lead you to study abroad, where you will meet people from all walks of life, dive into the traditions of another land, and help broaden your global perspective.
For biotechnology majors, the choice of study abroad location is often decided by what sub-field of biotechnology most appeals to them. For example, some areas of the world are focused on the agricultural side while others are pushing forward in biomedical applications.
For the most part, Asian countries dominate the world’s research in biotechnological fields. Japan is a global leader in nanotechnology advancements and biotechnology, especially pharmaceutical subsets, has a large and growing industrial presence. Japan and China have a healthy rivalry when it comes to biotechnology, with each one working toward making advancements for their own populations. This rivalry has fortunate benefits; universities in both nations have increased research grants in emerging biotechnology applications. India has a thriving biotechnology industry, as well-developed agricultural engineering has become a big part of the political movement to move more food into poorer regions of the nation.
England has made recent biotechnology headlines with attempts to eradicate mitochondrial genetic diseases, and has therefore become a first choice for many biotechnology students. Additionally, England is also home to the world’s foremost biorobotics laboratory. Germany is the growing European biotechnology magnate, however, as recent government grants toward both medical applications and climate change research have boosted the nation’s ongoing research projects.
Brazil has recently come onto the map of biotechnology due to a partnership between the government and biotechnology industry encouraging projects in healthcare and agriculture. Brazil has seen the fastest boom in interest in biotechnology, and many institutions are adding relevant courses and increasing research efforts.
Studying Biotechnology Abroad
Depending on when you decide to study biotechnology abroad, in terms of your academic career and your personal plan to stay on track for graduation, studying abroad can look very different. For many, studying abroad is done within the first two years of their degree program, so they can enroll in a foreign university and take introductory courses that nearly any program would offer, and fill in their schedule with desired electives or general education courses. The staple introductory courses of any biotechnology degree are usually in biology, microbiology, chemistry, and physics.
If you decide to study abroad after your general education courses are complete, you must be a little more particular about the study abroad program you decide on, as they must offer upper-level courses in biotechnology or related sciences. This can be more difficult, but is easily within reach with some planning and coordination, and will ultimately be rewarding.
Course selection for biotechnology study abroad can be daunting, but keep in mind that studying abroad can also grant you access to some classes you may not be able to take at home. Universities abroad offer classes in tissue engineering, nanotechnology labs, bioinformatics technical courses, or recombinant genetic procedures, just to name a few, which may not be possible at your home university. Students can also opt to get involved in specific research projects related to the field, offering the chance to truly expand hands on experience and an incomparable understanding of the field. Biotechnology study abroad programs are your chance to step out of the box and see what the educational world has to offer you.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Gain Valuable Skills. Many biotechnology firms have international offices or work with other institutions on specifically contracted projects, studying biotechnology abroad can help you navigate these waters of the professional world in the future. Due to language barriers, teaching style differences, and non-verbal communication shifts, studying biotechnology abroad can improve your communication skills by breaking down the methods in which you currently communicate, and challenging you to learn other ways.
Laboratory Exposure. Many biotechnology students utilize their study abroad program to get their feet wet in laboratory settings; biotechnology study abroad programs can be amazing opportunities to work with state-of-the-art equipment. Students can come back home with the ability to splice plant genes or multiply thousands of genetic sequences; lab experience abroad will no doubt benefit you in the long run.
Intro to the Field. Biotechnology is a broad subject that encompasses many subsets, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, as well as emerging fields such as biorobotics or pharmacogenomics. Studying biotechnology abroad can lead you to new branches of the subject you’re interested in and help you discover applications of biotechnology you’ve never dreamed of.
For some, biotechnology is an area of passion, a subject where life itself can be altered or utilized toward scientific advancements; for many others, biotechnology is what allows people to have enough food on the table, families and friends to be vaccinated against dangerous diseases, and medicines available to improve their well-being. Becoming a biotechnology scientist means you’re already internationally minded, because your actions can affect those in even the most far reaching corners of the globe. Studying biotechnology abroad can show you, first-hand, how access to biotechnology can improve lives, including your own.