I am going to take you back to somewhere in 2009 – an ex army soldier came to my office with son and said, please send my child to study abroad in the USA because that’s the route for career success for him. He said, I was hit by a bullet in my leg while I was in the army and the government gave me a lumpsum amount – which is by far the only large saving that I have now. I will spend that money on his education in the USA so that he has a bright career. I was speechless and I spent the next few minutes trying to tell him – going abroad to study is a great idea but it is not a quick fix for career, especially when the student has the potential for growth in the home country and when you have limited resources and multiple financial needs to take care of.
Yes, I am a study abroad and scholarship coach and I love the idea of studying abroad and the lessons, the cultural experience and the exposure that we get. Having studied myself on full scholarship abroad, I was blessed to not think of financials when I started my study abroad journey. But, if I have to tell you about three people (out of many hundreds), I remember from my study abroad journey – they are 1) Robin Thomas – The Language and Skills Unit’ faculty who used to correct my grammar in my submissions. I used to take appointments with her 2 weeks prior to ensure she corrects my English before submission. 2) KV – My supervisor while I worked for the university’s printing department – who taught me that if I am supposed to wind up by 5pm – she will be happier if its’ 4.55, and really upset if its 5.05pm. 3) Suzane Young – My Organization Behaviour professor who once said, she took a break for a few years to raise her kids and I thought, wow – I will also do that. Now I do have a different thought process when my own kid is 23 months old. That’s why we say, change is the only thing which is constant.
So, when someone asks me what do you get to learn when you study abroad? I usually say, you learn from the people you meet while you study abroad – it could be friends, faculty, supervisor, neighbour or a bartender. These people might have different beliefs as compared to your beliefs and that exposure helps you expand your own horizons. So, I urge to all students thinking of studying abroad to start broadening their horizons while they are in their home country and yes, Indeed it’s a great experience to study abroad and I will be really excited to hear your study abroad journeys, but don’t discount the opportunities of learning from people in your own country. And when you go abroad to study, make meaningful connections and be a part of communities which have a common purpose as you. As Farouk Dey from John Hopkins University in the USA, rightly said – in the next 20 years career success will be defined by connections and communities that you build.
So, tell me if you think studying abroad is necessary and if you have studied abroad, also tell me who are the 3 people you remember from whom u learnt the most from during your study abroad journey?