Research has proven that every year a greater surge of Nigerian students apply for international studies abroad. This is not for lack of patriotism rather from the disappointing reality of the steadily deteriorating educational system. Most Nigerian Universities are not adequately equipped to practically teach the course/programs of study. This available standard of education is worrisome to the Nigerian student community and well as the parents.
Hence, most Nigerian students would hastily jump to any offer to study abroad, probably because they stand a higher chance of securing their dream job, access to the global market, and a higher standard of living after graduating from a foreign university. This trend is prominent at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and the destinations are varied and diverse.
In this article, we share insights on the study destination choices of students, the expectations vs reality on arrival.
What Does Study Abroad Destination Mean?
Study abroad destination is the preferred country for study, a place relating to the particular discipline of choice you would like to study. This chosen destination could be to further your level of education – a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or Ph.D. degree. The study period could be as short as a single semester, as long as a year, or more.
Choosing a study destination is a big deal and is considered top on study abroad decisions. This is because aside from the primary educational pursuit, you develop through immersing yourself in the surrounding unfamiliar culture and environment of your study destination.
Expectation vs Reality of Study Abroad destinations
Expectation: Living in a different country is difficult to adapt to.
Reality: If the right processes for study travel are taken, living in a different country is smooth sailing, enriching. There’s a student community willing and ready to welcome you and the integration is effortless.
Expectation: Studying abroad is a fun ride.
Reality: There are different academic and extra-curricular expectations and deliverables during your study. The overall experience would be fun, however, there are practical, financial, and psychological challenges that you may need to maneuver.
Expectation: Learning a new language is difficult and time-consuming.
Reality: You can learn a new language alongside your studies. Also immersing yourself in the student community and interacting with the locals can help build your language fluency.
Expectation: The family factor offers more opportunities back home than abroad.
Reality: There are opportunities everywhere, in whatever country you choose to study abroad. You can harness the opportunities by being open to experience the country and having an open mind to embrace new options.
Expectation: Studying abroad is expensive and the cost of living is high.
Reality: There are different study destinations and they require various budgets. The goal is to choose the destination and institution that you find budget-friendly.
Factors To Consider in Choosing a Study destination
There are different factors to be considered when choosing a study destination. Most importantly, these decision factors are different for each student as we all hold different values preferences. However, there are certain misconceptions hinged on cost, residence, language, culture, and choosing the right program that does not hold relevance.
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a study destination:
1. Distance from Home
If you care much about your comfort space, have worries about safety, and would love to travel for family celebrations and thanksgiving parties then maybe you should choose a study destination close, to home. For example, as a Nigerian, you may choose United Kingdom (UK) as your study destination instead of Australia.
However, if you love traveling, exploring cities, learning about new cultures, and don’t care about distance, then you should explore further study destinations.
2. Tuition Budget
Although you can travel wherever you choose for your studies, you need to have the required finances. How large or small your budget is, is a big factor when choosing a study destination. Ensure you convert your money to the expected currency to ensure you have the required amount for tuition at your study destination.
3. Program of study
Finding and selecting the right course of study is a priority that should be carefully evaluated and scrutinized before considering your study destination. Some decision factors may include
- What school options are available for your preferred program of study?
- What work options are available for your chosen field of study?
- Does the country offer easy integration to explore practical roles in your industry during your studies?
4. Cost of living
The cost of living at your intended destination should be considered, especially when you have a lean budget. This includes costs of accommodation, the average cost of feeding, and transportation.
5. Language difference
This is one of the greatest concerns for students when choosing a study destination. Every country has a primarily accepted language of communication, and you should consider this when choosing a destination. If you are confident enough to be in a country where the language spoken is foreign to you, and you’re open to learning a new language, then this would be part of the fun experience for you. However, if otherwise, you may need to consider countries with language compatibility, for yourself.
Extra note: If the primary language at your chosen destination is not your mother language, you might need to provide a language certification.
There is the cultural shock factor. Traveling to a new country will expose you to certain behaviors which may be completely different from the ones you know. Would you be able to handle the big cultural shock? You would find this interesting if you are one to easily adapt to a new environment. If this is not the situation and you are a little more restricted in your cultural beliefs, then you may want to consider a destination with fewer cultural differences.
Tips on choosing the right Destination
Here are some insightful tips to guide your decision when choosing a destination.
- Be prepared to learn about the host country before your travel. Learn the language and culture of the intended host country.
- Direct interaction with current students. Most schools can assign a student to you on request, usually, when you make this request, a student from your country is asked to speak with you. This student will engage you in a conversation explaining his/her experience and journey to the new destination. You can explore this option, it serves as a guide through your travel processes, most importantly it offers comfort and security.
- Ask questions. Be inquisitive, talk to the school partners in your home country, representatives, and all the service providers you have access to. This prepares you for new experiences.
- It’s a big adventure, be ready for it.
The above information will guide your decision on selecting your preferred study destination. We understand that you may require further assistance in selecting the ideal study destination. Be sure to contact our team, we would take you through the entire process from decision making to travel.