Why I chose to go abroad for grad school

Going through the process of supporting my mental health and rebuilding my self-confidence I want to revisit why I decided to go to Finland for a masters degree. Experiencing academic burnout, an increase in anxiety, writing anxiety, and depression has made me question my reasons for coming. Was coming worth it? Am I good enough for the program? Here are my reasons for getting my degree abroad and why others (especially Americans should consider it too.

The Program

The program is the number one reason I went abroad. I found the EdGlo Program during my first year in Japan and fell in love. For four years, the program was in the back of my mind. I compared it with other master programs and found nothing like it, particularly in the US. The quote below is from the website it what drew me in:

MA in Education and Globalisation is a full-time two-year international Master’s programme. It focuses on ethics, policy, planning, curriculum, evaluation and comparative research in education. The central aim of the programme is to develop quality in education and to equip students to exercise socially responsible leadership in complex and diverse societies. The programme emphasises North-South-East-West dialogue and includes studies in international education, interculturalism, globalisation and their effects on various sectors of education.

EdGlo Programme Website

I was also enamored with Finland’s reputation in academic excellence. I wanted to get a deep nuanced understanding that came with study and first hand experience. I also wanted a program full of peers from diverse and international backgrounds.

My advice: your dream program might be waiting for you in a different country. Don’t be afraid to look abroad. I suggest starting here.

Finances

Getting a higher education degree in the United States is expensive. There are many countries where studying as an international student (not an exchange, I mean completing your full degree in a foreign country) is significantly cheaper. Sometimes even free! EdGlo kept my attention for a long time because the tuition was waived if you were accepted into the program. You were only responsible for living expenses (which is nothing to sneeze at in Nordic countries). Even though the tuition policy changed for non-EU students in 2018, I only have to pay 25% of the tuition fee which is still extremely affordable compared to the US.

The US isn’t the only country with great universities and graduate programs. If you have enough to cover living expenses (or, you know, work study – though this is hard to do in Finland), the visa process, and the language proficiency tests for non-native speakers (national language or English depending on the program) why not consider a country that is more financially reasonable tuition fees?

The Experience

I love to travel. I love learning about different places, people, and languages. Living in another country presents a catalyst to change the way you see and experience the world. Studying abroad allows you to have a long term experience some place new, make new life long friends, and appreciate a new mundane. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won’t, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

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