Is it better to study abroad or in your home country?

Each year hundreds of thousands of international students enroll for various courses in Universities in the United States and United Kingdom.  But before they decide to enroll, they are confronted with a dilemma whether to pursue their higher studies in their home country or abroad.  The consistency and high number of international enrollments suggests that most students prefer to study abroad.  The rest of this essay will look into the reasons why this is so, with specific reference to my own choices in this respect.

The education system in Saudi Arabia, which is my home country, is quite good.  There are a few institutions of higher learning in Saudi Arabia which are comparable in academic standards to those in the United States.  But my preference is to study abroad, so that I can have a different cultural experience that would make me a more rounded individual.  Also, if I study abroad, I will get the opportunity to meet fellow international students from all across the world.  This pool of students would come from various ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds.  Interacting with them and studying with them will broaden my perspective of the world.  Studying abroad will also make me more independent and self-reliant as I would have to adjust to living in a student hostel or dormitory.  Living in such an environment would also help me understand notions such as tolerance and empathy toward other people, whose beliefs and opinions are not the same as mine.  Studying abroad is also advantageous in that as soon as the studies are completed, one can choose from various job opportunities on offer.  Considering that lucrative job opportunities in Saudi Arabia are quite limited, there is a strong incentive to studying abroad and building a career in the global economy.  After I gather valuable experience abroad, I can always return to my home country and take up social projects there.

Pursuing my studies in Saudi Arabia would have offered its own set of advantages.  Least of which is my familiarity to my native culture, religion and language.  Given that Saudi culture is fairly conservative, the law and order situation is quite stable.  As a young adult susceptible to distractions such as night clubs, parties, etc, Saudi Arabia seems to be a better place to study in.  For example, teenage alcoholism is also recognized as a significant public health problem across the United States.  It is also a leading cause for youth violence, irresponsible social behavior, poor academic performance, suicidal tendencies and high-risk sexual behavior.  Adolescents who indulge in drinking are also prone to substance abuse and attitude problems.  If left unattended, they can grow to develop anti-social personalities and face psychological problems as adults.

Baring such risk factors as that mentioned above, studying abroad is a better option overall.  The United States government, to its credit, has created policies and provided funding for helping international students adapt to their new academic environment.  Fund allocations are proposed to ensure that international students receive high quality education and are not hindered by irregularities in curriculum, graduation requirements and student academic achievement standards across the states.  The United States Department of Education has also initiated programs that identify eligible foreign students and provide education and support services. These services include: academic instruction; remedial and compensatory instruction; bilingual and multicultural instruction; vocational instruction; career education services; special guidance; counseling and testing services; and health services.  Hence, in the final analysis, studying abroad in a place like the United States is a sound choice when compared to pursuing higher studies in one’s native country.