Lest you think that I’m the only one that has made college abroad work and it isn’t something that you can take advantage of, today I’m posting a short interview with another American I met while in Germany who also got enrolled directly in a university overseas, which saved her thousands of dollars. Her story is a lot like mine, except now she is teaching English in South Korea. Going abroad for school has a tendency to instill a desire for some sort of international career, as I myself have discovered. I want to feature others’ stories here on the blog because there was not enough space in the book to do so. Thanks to Michelle Cosier for answering my questions and agreeing to let me publish it here.
When and where did you do college abroad?
I studied at Jacobs University in Germany from 2007-2009, where I studied International Communication, and now I’m teaching English in South Korea at a public middle school. I plan to go back to Germany this summer.
What kind of program did you complete abroad?
The program was designed to attract graduate students from all different walks of the world. The instruction was in English. Usually we had daily seminars ranging from 3-5 seminars per week related to our particular program. It wasn’t altogether that much different from an American graduate program.
Why did you decide to complete your degree abroad?
I decided to complete my degree abroad because the financial opportunity presented itself as a means for me to actually afford a Masters Degree. Compare to the thousands of dollars I would have paid in the U.S.A. Jacobs University offered me a full tuition scholarship.* I also speak German and wanted to use the opportunity to become more fluent, needless to say I left speaking fluent German as well.
*The program didn’t technically charge tuition at all. All students were given this “scholarship.”
Did you also apply to American degree programs? What, in the end, made you decide to choose the foreign degree program as supposed to the American degree program?
I did not apply to any American degree programs. In the end, the financial benefit and having an international degree was the reason I decided to go abroad.
What were your worries/concerns about getting a degree from a foreign university or living abroad before you left, if any?
The only concern I had, was…. Am I going to be able to complete the program? I was putting myself in an unfamiliar education system, but what I learned was that it was on a similar scale as my U.S. university education so I became more confident.
How supportive were your close friends and family of your decision to do your degree abroad? Did they have any particularly concerns about your decision?
My close friends and family were very supportive of my decision. I had a few stragglers that were whining and nervous about me going, etc… but I just ignored them as I knew they had never really travelled before anyway.
Did doing your degree abroad save you money?
Yes, absolutely. I had a fully covered tuition scholarship.**
**By not paying tuition, Michelle also saved money and avoided taking out more student loans.
What are the advantages of doing your degree abroad?
Broadening my worldview more than what it already was & meeting amazing friends who live all over the world.
What are the disadvantages?
Not seeing friends and family as often.
How did you pay for college abroad?
I had a scholarship*, and a college fund that I used to help me with my living expenses. Also living in Germany with a residency permit and student visa I was able to work a little too.
*Michelle’s program didn’t charge any tuition.
How did you find your program?
Do you have any special tips for what to do or how to prepare to live and study abroad?
Keep your mind open… “you’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Read a book about the culture in the country, go to the place you want to study first on a vacation, learn the language to make the most of your experience, make friends in your host c country. Don’t stick around your own nationality all the time, and diversify yourself..
Did you travel often outside of your host country while you were living abroad?
What, if any, lasting impressions or life changes have resulted from getting your degree abroad that you think you would not have otherwise encountered?
I am able to impact and counsel others on making a similar decision. I could have not made a better life-long impacting decision to go myself so why not share that with others.