Nowadays more and more students want to study abroad, mostly because it gives them the opportunity to become independent and more responsible in life. The most popular choice is Britain, because today the world’s most widely spoken language is English. Choosing education among native speakers gives you a distinct advantage in the study and in subsequent search for a job. However, for all the positive aspects of making such an important decision, people need to be realistic and take into account the difficulties that may arise. First of all, the biggest advantage is of course learning English perfectly.
Students who come first time to study in another country have a communication barrier and as the work of Hughes (2004) illustrates being in this environment helps them to overcome it. In addition, living in a new country broadens your mind. Experiencing new cultures, interacting with people of various backgrounds and seeing different way of life has a positive effect on people. They experience other ideas and values, see different social norms and lifestyles. People also might see something new in themselves or discover new interests.
Secondly and most importantly, British diplomas and certificates are the most prestigious in the world and are recognized by all employers without exception. It also looks really good on the CV that you studied abroad, as it means that you were living alone at an early age and became independent a lot earlier than most people. Another advantage of studying in England is that it is very interesting and fun giving that United Kingdom is a multinational country. For many thousands of families from all over the world it has become a second home, where they brought their culture, customs and traditions.
It can also be very useful to know the history of other countries and to have friends with different cultures. Lau and Stafford (1984) find that cultural background shapes student’s attitudes and values, knowledge base and skill set. Despite these attractions, however, some drawbacks do exist. The first and foremost disadvantage of studying in Britain is homesickness. For most students it is the first time away from their home, family and friends. Especially, as Kegel (2009) implies, at the time when they need the support of their loved ones the most. Another disadvantage is that education in England is not cheap.
The fees are much higher than in other countries. For example, Russian fees in the most expensive and prestigious universities are two times less than in Britain. Plus you have to pay for accommodation, transport and food as well. Moreover, culture shock can be quite a problem for a lot of students. “Culture shock” as Bochner (2003) advocates is an emotional state caused by the need to adapt to life in a new country and get used to a culture that is very different from your own. Climate, food, language, people and their behavior – all of this is foreign and unfamiliar, which makes it really hard to adapt to a new way of life. In conclusion, studying in England offers great opportunities for the future as well challenges. Nevertheless, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages greatly.
Bamford, J. K. (Feb 2008) “Improving International Students’ experience of studying in the UK” http://www. economicsnetwork. ac. uk/showcase/bamford_international [Accessed: 07. 10. 2012] UKCISA (December, 2008) “International students and culture shock” http://ukcisa. org. uk/student/info_sheets/culture_shock. php [Accessed: 07. 10. 2012] Hughes, H. (2004). “Researching the experience of international students” http://eprints. ut. edu. au/2220/1/2220. pdf [Accessed: 14. 10. 2012] Lawson Lau, “The World at your Doorstep” (1984); Tim Stafford, “ The Friendship Gap: Reaching out across cultures” (1984) http://www. intervarsity. org/ism/article/470 [Accessed: 15. 10. 2012] Bochner, S. (2003). Culture shock due to contact with unfamiliar cultures. In W. J. Lonner, D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler (Eds. ), Online Readings in Psychology and Culture (Unit 8, Chapter 7), (http://www. wwu. edu/~culture), Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington USA.