It is no lie that at one point or the other in their life, an African student must have imagined studying outside of his native home and country. It is extremely normal, I imagined schooling in the US for the best part of my teenage years. Never happened though but I was still able to achieve my dream of studying overseas. For one, the educational standard in African universities and institutions cannot be compared with that of a lot of foreign universities in developed countries. Also some of these countries are well developed and it is always a delight to live or school there.
Studying abroad has a big impact in the life of an African student and here are some of the benefits and opportunities in schooling abroad;
Opportunity to travel out
Studying abroad is one of the surest ways through which you can travel out. For some African students, studying abroad might be their only opportunity to travel out in a long time. For example, a student from downtown Lagos Nigeria, or from the heart of Berbera, Somalia has very little chances of getting into the US one day. But with a students’ visa the US embassy welcomes you with open arms. The best part is that you also get the opportunity to visit other countries.
For example, if you are studying in the Philippines, you have the opportunity to visit other countries like Malaysia or China. During the holidays or weekends you can use your students discount card to get cheaper travel costs, and you can zoom off to a neighboring country.
Opportunity to experience a different life
You may not know yet but what awaits an international student is more than the opportunity to live in a different country. In fact, it is much more than that. Going abroad exposes an African student to a whole lot of other experiences like;
* You get to experience different cultures. If you are the type that believes in culture superiority, I assure you that studying abroad will change the way you see other people’s cultures and way of life.
* You become independent. This is a sure path to self-discovery, self-reliance and self-development. You no longer enjoy the benefits that you enjoy in your native land, you are all by yourself and as such, you have to look out for yourself, by yourself.
* You gain life experience. Away from your comfort zone you have no choice than to pay attention to details. Your mind becomes more sharpened and you also get to learn a whole lot about your host country and beyond.
Opportunity to make foreign connections (ah yes, I love this one!)
For many international schools that admit foreign students, there is a very high chance that if admitted, you get to mix with other international students from different parts of the world. It is always a special feeling. You make international friends, learn about their culture, thought process, beliefs, ideas, tradition, challenges, and so much more. That’s not all, when you guys are done with school, you can use these connections to visit other parts of the world where your friends are from.
If you are smart enough, you can also make professional connections such that when you graduate and probably return home, you can apply for a work visa to go back and work in this country. In fact, I had intentionally planned this all along when I went abroad to study. It is always important to know that these opportunities exist so you can exploit them to the fullest when you go on your own adventure.
Opportunity to learn other languages
This is not always the case but most of the time, the city or country where you decide to school will have other languages that are different from your native or country language. A Kenyan student from the Kikuyu tribe (who speaks Kikuyu very well) can get to learn the Tagalog or Cebuano language when you study in the Philippines. It is always an interesting experience, full of fun!
Opportunity to enjoy better education
The truth is, this is mostly part of the reasons why African students choose to school outside of Africa; there is a difference in the quality of education. It is not just in the teaching methods, or the classrooms, it is in the overall learning experience. The environment, the resources, the equipment and facilities; these schools give you opportunity to ‘world-class education’ as a ‘super-cultured’ international student. It is a completely different learning experience.
Do not misunderstand me, there are actually some schools in Africa that can boast of this kind of quality education, but trust me the other things that come along with studying abroad makes it a much better experience. Studying abroad also make it possible to go to school in locations known as a leading global hub in you field of interest. For example, a computer engineering student would love to school in MIT, Cambridge, US. In the same way, a student of Aeronautics would love to go to the University of Perpetual Help, College of Aviation, Philippines.
Also, as an international student, your chances of studying further in even bigger institutions are higher. Graduate school admissions boards look very highly on study abroad experiences. Students that study abroad display diversity and show that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations. Graduate schools like Harvard University graduate school or University of California graduate school will most likely admit students with international experiences.
This is coming last, but is certainly not the least. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most important benefits of studying abroad. With international certificates, there are always greater career opportunities out there, both home and abroad. Your CV looks so much better when you have international experience. Employers know they can assign you to places and they will be confident that you would be able to adapt to any environment. Your experience will always inform the way you tackle things. As an international student, you are also
more appealing to international employers. You can apply for work visas in highly developed countries and you will be granted one. In the University of Perpetual Help, Philippines, it is possible to be a professional pilot within two months of study and a commercial pilot within one year of study.
Also as a medicine student, you can sit for USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand board exams in the Philippines and become a practicing medical professional in these countries.
Such are the career opportunities that await when you study abroad, especially in a country like the Philippines.
Money spent on studying abroad is never wasted. Although it is true that studying abroad comes at a certain cost, the truth is you will always see its importance. Also there are a lot of scholarship opportunities for international students that makes tuition and other fees cheaper. Some are issued by the government, some are privately owned while some are issued by the institutions themselves. You can search online to see what works for you.
One thing is certain, studying abroad is always a huge step in achieving greater success in life.