The pros and cons of studying abroad in the UAE

Studying abroad has become a rite of passage for most language students, but increasingly, undergraduates from other disciplines are discovering the advantages of pursuing scholarship in foreign climes. There has been some considerable debate in the US recently as to whether it should be a mandatory component of a college degree; after all, travel – as once pronounced an intelligent soul – broadens the mind. It’s critical to immerse yourself in a different culture, and to strive to understand the world from a new perspective, because in 2014, more than ever, we are all global citizens.

With its high standards of education, vastly multinational student body and cultural plurality, the United Arab Emirates may be the perfect destination for those pursuing a university degree abroad, with valuable transferable as well as academic skills for everything from International Studies, to Business Management. But what are the real factors involved when studying abroad in this area of the Middle East?

You’ll be in good company
US statistics show that participation in study abroad has tripled in the past two decades, which means it’s highly likely you’ll have one or two people from your home country in your host country.

Of course, if you are young, and haven’t spent much time abroad on your own before, you may still get homesick: spending most of your time with people whose first language is not English can be a challenge and it’s good to be prepared for this. The great thing is, studying abroad does help you to combat such fears, and will make you a more independent person in the future.

Your CV will impress
With the world shrinking ever smaller, employers are increasingly on the lookout for graduates who have seen a bit of the world, and with its thriving business climate in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE is one place which stands out. Not only does this show intuition and an adventurous outlook, it means you’re less likely to take a sabbatical to pursue that never realized gap year!

One thing to remember here is the cost. Once you add up flight costs, accommodation and course fees, the sums involved can look worrying, especially if there are more outgoings than on your home campus. But if you’re passionate, you can make it work; apply for funding assistance, or a part time job in the host country. Not only will it be good for your cultural immersion and language skills, it can pad out your CV with proof that you have the determination to make things happen.

You’ll make new friends
When you travel you meet people from all walks of life, and learn to appreciate different cultures. Meaningful friendships born out of travelling the world are not only a great way to expand your horizons (and your Facebook friend list!), they can also provide you with valuable networking opportunities, and a place to crash if you ever decide to return!

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