Deciding to attend graduate school is a big decision -- but congrats on taking the leap to advance your education! Considering where to apply is one of many additional decisions you'll need to make in your application process, and there's a whole world of graduate study opportunities out there.
To help you figure out if you should apply for grad school abroad, here are some important questions to consider. We've also made a fun quiz that might give you some additional insights. Take this 6-question quiz first, and read why we think these questions are the most important ones to help you determine whether grad school abroad is the right fit for you and your career.
Have You Studied Abroad Before?
You don't need to have studied abroad before to do grad school abroad. Maybe you turned down opportunities for study abroad as an undergrad, or it just wasn't on your radar.
Studying abroad in the past can help since you've already experienced the transition to living long-term in a foreign country, but it's by no means a requirement to doing graduate school abroad.
Are There Accredited Schools in the Countries/Cities You're Considering?
It's easy to be swayed into applying for schools in a beautiful or interesting country, but if the schools aren't "good," as in accredited, financially secure, and reputable, they can actually hurt your professional future. Graduate school is all about making the above-and-beyond investment in your career; make sure you don't cancel that out by studying abroad at a disreputable school in a beautiful country.
Do You Understand the Trajectory of Post-Grads in Your Field?
Before you apply to graduate school -- abroad or at home -- try to talk with grads in your desired field of work. Ask them how they got there after grad school. How long did it take to find a job? How easy was it to find a job? Did they have to obtain additional certifications or licenses?
Then, consider how these answers might be different for a graduate in the countries. If you're planning to stay in your host country to work after getting your graduate degree, consider: Are visas going to be a hurdle you need to jump over? Are licensing or certification requirements different? Will there be a language barrier? If you're coming home after graduation, will there be unforeseen delays or other issues?
These questions might be hard to answer, but if you haven't done the research, you may be unpleasantly surprised after graduation, which is a really unpleasant way to end your grad school experience!
Is Networking an Important Part of Your Future Career?
One great benefit of grad school abroad is that it may open up your personal and professional network in new and unexpected ways. You'll likely meet students from your host country as well as from around the world. These connections can manifest post-grad opportunities in unforeseen ways!
If networking is an important part of your post-grad career, graduate school abroad can potentially help a lot with that. If it's not as important, you may consider other variables more important in your decision.
Do You Need to Know People to Get a Job in Your Industry?
Just as doing your graduate program abroad can help you meet fellow students from around the world, it can also help you meet professionals who may someday want to hire you.
Simultaneously, if you intend to come back to your home country after grad school, you may face a disadvantage in not knowing anyone since you didn't attend school, do projects, or intern there.
In making your decision, try to consider both possibilities: if you stay in your host country, will grad school help you meet people who can hire you? If you don't stay in your host country, will this hurt your prospects?
Will Doing Grad School Abroad Cost More than Doing it in Your Home Country?
Unfortunately, a major consideration for graduate school will always be cost. For starters, grad school often costs a lot more "per year" than undergrad. Be sure to shop around as you compare programs, so you're aware of the total cost you're going to pay.
For students in the US, federal loans are structured quite differently for grad students than for undergrads, which can create significant hurdles. Simultaneously, choosing to do grad school abroad may make you ineligible for certain loans. This is another important reason to check the accreditation and business structure of any grad school you're considering, so you can adequately judge how much you'll be paying and how many loans you might need, if any.