Applying for a Masters degree abroad will benefit not only your career but your life in general.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development the number of students abroad is continually increasing. Between 2005 and 2012, there was a 50% rise in the number of students studying outside their own countries. By 2015 there were, in fact, five million international students.
Erasmus or CASA (Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad) programmes make it possible to visit a country for six months or even a year, enabling visitors to experience life from the perspective of students from another culture. Yet its value in terms of skills acquired, and knowledge and experience gained, is rather limited. Indeed, most companies, when they appraise your academic record, do not necessarily see these programmes positively. They are rather viewed as an interval in your studies, a period of travel than a real scholarship.
However, companies are more inclined to hire candidates with international profiles who have successfully studied abroad for at least some time.
Studying for a Masters degree abroad presents four key benefits:
Getting to know a new culture
First, there is the joy of exploring a new environment. The student discovers new horizons: a new country, a new culture and often a new language. It is both an exciting and a challenging prospect. The student must adapt to the host country’s habits and customs while preparing his Masters degree. Indeed, the Masters year can be challenging, requiring hard work in order to reach the level of local students. And foreigners receive little or no preferential treatment. Rest assured, however, that other international students will arrive alongside you, and even students from your country. This will help you to integrate and make it easier for you to help each other with your studies. The experience may prove challenging but, hopefully, it will also be an enriching one that will strengthen your personal development.
Immerse yourself in a new study environment
Generally, aside from the cultural aspect, even the working environment changes. Teaching methods and reflection (specifications related to the pedagogy & local educational policy), and the organisation of universities will inevitably vary in different countries and continents. For example, some universities offer mainly theoretical courses taught in large amphitheaters. These are often complemented by courses in smaller groups of about 30 students, designed to deepen their understanding and mastery of particular subjects. On the other hand, other academic systems will focus more on discussion and reflection in small groups, and on the exchange between students (in context of team work & project management), which generally requires much more preparatory work. Whatever format is adopted, you will have the opportunity to work with students from diverse origins who have different career plans.
Spruce up your CV/resume
Graduating with a Masters degree obtained abroad will internationalise your resume. This sends a strong signal to companies about your international mobility. It also vouches for your growth and development, as well as your efficiency outside your comfort zone (at home). Furthermore, you will develop skills in a foreign language, giving you a competitive edge over other applicants. Indeed, undergoing training in a foreign language will prove an even more pertinent asset if you apply for internships and short-term jobs: this is because you demonstrated that you have been interviewed in a foreign country, and that you are able to handle a foreign language in an academic and professional framework. Nowadays, being a skilled English speaker is vital if you want pivotal positions in companies, and mastering a desired language such as Mandarin or Arabic is an exceptional asset.
Attractive internship/job opportunities
Finally, this year of Masters study is a great opportunity to strengthen your experience before starting your professional career. During your Masters study, consultants with a good knowledge of career opportunities in the labour market will connect you with professionals in the host country. Representatives of business firms will probably meet you at seminars or forums, in order to present their company, providing you with an opportunity to get in touch directly with them. All these opportunities will put you on the right path to completing an internship in the host country, or even getting your first job abroad.
This article was kindly provided to us by our partner Talent to Be. Tristan Quélin is Programme Director at Talent to Be.