When hearing about international students, most people picture teenagers or people in their 20s, traveling the world with a few bucks in their pockets and going on journeys of self-discovery to find out what they want to do in life. They picture partying and careless days. In other words, lots of fun and not so many responsibilities.
However, the idea that all international students have to be 20 or 21 to spend one year abroad is actually a myth. In fact, more and more people between the ages of 25-40 are starting to discover the benefits of studying abroad, so if this option has crossed your mind, you shouldn’t feel weird about it. After all, you’re never too old to learn something new, so you’re never too old to be a student either!
Why would you want to be an international student as an adult?
Just because you’re no longer “student age”, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider enrolling in an international course. There are many reasons why you might want to choose this path later in life:
- You didn’t get a chance to study abroad while you were in college and now that you’re financially independent, you can do that without worrying about the toll it might take on your parents.
- You need extra qualifications for work or you want to change your career path. In this case, studying abroad is an investment for your professional life and it can unlock many opportunities in the future.
- You want to explore another culture or learn a foreign language.
- You’re deeply passionate about continuous learning.
- You want to combine learning with pleasure.
- You are more motivated as an adult and you’re less tempted by the distractions of college life.
Still not convinced? Here are some amazing benefits that you can enjoy as an adult studying abroad.
Study abroad programs for adults are more flexible
Regular international student programs tend to have the same structure, but, with adult programs, you usually get more flexibility. Universities know that people over the age of 24 who want to study abroad may have more complicated arrangements at home, and may not always want to spend an entire year abroad. For example, if you can’t afford to be away for one whole year, you can enroll in a summer course or short-term programs that last for a couple of weeks.
You can bring along the entire family
If you live with your partner or have children, you can bring them along on your journey. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing them and, while they’re with you, they can explore the benefits of working abroad too. In fact, there are many young couples who went to study abroad together and got engaged while away because they realized they loved living together. If this is your case, Baunat is an excellent supplier of engagement rings because they have great prices for expats.
You can make some extra money
Because attendance rules tend to be more flexible for adults, you may have enough time to work while studying abroad. If, for a young student, a college job is simply a way to make pocket money, getting a job abroad as an adult offers major professional benefits. Not only can you expand your network, but, because you have more experience, you have access to higher-paid jobs.
All those student discounts still apply
Don’t you miss the times where you could go see a movie at half the price and you got free stuff because you were a student? Well, now you can get those discounts again. Stores, museums, and other venues don’t have an age requirement for student discounts, you just have to be a student. Plus, some stores offer great prices for expats, so you can even purchase engagement rings.
Studying abroad can boost your career
As the job market becomes increasingly competitive and new technologies come out every day, the skills and qualifications you gained in college might not be enough to get you a promotion today. Continuous learning is essential for career development, but not all the courses you need are available in your home country. In this case, studying abroad and getting a diploma from a leading international institution can boost your career, giving you access to many professional opportunities. The simple fact that you didn’t study in your home country and that you could successfully communicate and adapt abroad shows that you’re ambitious, flexible, and open-minded. It helps you stand out from the crowd and, if a position requires frequent international travel, you have higher chances to get it.
Pro tip: If you’re currently employed and the company has offices in the city where you want to study, ask if they have an available position there. However, now that remote work has become more widely available, you should be able to study abroad without going on a sabbatical.
You get to experience a new culture
It’s never too late to discover new cultures, and spending more time in a country lets you do that so much better than going on a vacation or on a business trip. In fact, the way you interact with a new culture is much more complex in adulthood compared to your early 20s. If, as a young student, you mostly get to know the culture by going to classes and partying, as an adult, you get to interact with more diverse people and truly understand the social, economic, political, and cultural context.
You can travel on a budget
Do you love learning AND traveling? In this case, you definitely want to take advantage of the benefits of studying abroad as an adult. You get to explore a different country but, while this would normally be very expensive, as an adult you get free or discounted accommodation. Of course, this may not always be feasible for an entire year, but even a few weeks is enough. And, best of all, when you come back home, you’ll have fun memories and new skills that can help you in your career!