The idea of studying abroad is perhaps exciting in the beginning, but in reality, a lot goes into relocating and acclimatising oneself to a foreign country. But that does not mean it’s all work and no fun. Being a student abroad puts you on a global platform — you meet students and individuals from all over the world, you are exposed to different cultures and the learning never stops.
Krithika S, a postgraduate student studying in Brisbane, has had a very different studying experience in Australia. “For a Master’ s programme, students are expected to be very independent. We are not spoonfed and are expected to collect information on certain topics that are discussed in brief by professors.”
Most universities allow students to pick their own unique combination of subjects they wish to study. This means that every semester, students can decide what they wish to study and exclude. “For example, being a Master of Food Studies, I am allowed to pick either Food Science-based subjects or nutrition-based subjects.
Each of the fields offers a variety of subjects. But I chose to stick to Food Science and Technology subjects as that is where my interest lies. This type of flexibility helps make learning and studying more enjoyable and we don’ t have to deal with subjects we do not really want to study,” adds Krithika S.
Assessment techniques are different too. “We have a choice over whether we wish to give an exam or write assignments. Not all subjects offered have exams which means that grading is only through assignments and reports. Assessment details are provided online even before the start of the semester, which makes it easy to plan the year and pick subjects,” says Krithika.
Universities abroad also encourage student groups to organise cultural events for its students. This is a great meeting place for students to mingle and interact. The events are typically casual and fun.
“Studying abroad allows you to become independent, both financially and emotionally. We learn to tackle situations on our own. Most students work part-time, earn and become financially independent. While being with family has its advantages, being independent teaches you a lot more,” say students.
Kanchi R, a student from Carnegie Mellon University in America, says that the purpose of studying abroad has sadly been “misinterpreted” by students these days. The application process and the entrance exams are heavily obsessed over, but the truly difficult part begins after that, she says. “Despite my prior experience as a student abroad, only after enrolling as a full-time graduate student did I learn that “engineering” is in fact “problem solving”.
“Living alone, cooking and fending for yourself only multiplies the vigour to achieve and studying abroad has definitely made me realise this. I do go through momentary pangs of home-sickness but nothing that the fruits of hardwork cannot overshadow,” adds Kanchi.
Yashas, a student from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, says his course in Continuum Mechanics has been nothing but interesting. Students no longer enjoy theory-based learning and German universities combine theory with practical application, he says.
Studying abroad also helps people become responsible, he adds. “Since there is nobody to fall back on, most students take on the responsibility of daily life and handle it extremely well. It brings out your strong traits,” he says.
Bimba B R, a student studying in Bangalore, says the quality of education in a foreign university is a class apart from Indian universities. “Respect for service is low in India when compared to other nations. The application process for undergraduate or graduate programmes is very comprehensive abroad unlike in India where the selection criteria is uni-dimensional. I find that equal weight is given to extra-curricular activities, communication and participation,” she adds.