Education and Its Horizon

This essay is the winner of our Essay Writing Contest 2014

Living in a little slum where there is always shortage of food and water, where there is only poverty and discrimination, one will always find a young but innocent optimist who has only dreamt of making it big and knew that the only escape is education and knowledge gained through it. As Benjamin Franklin once said ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. In the current rapid development of society, we have entered the era where education is viewed as an individual’s key to success. Education is a crucial requirement if one wants to advance forward in life because let’s face it not every individual out there is as lucky as Steve Jobs. Nowadays, heated competition among students to obtain seats in the best universities or better stated as Ivy League universities has put an emphasis on the importance of gaining education abroad. This scenario is vastly witnessed in developing countries such as India, Malaysia and China. It is fair enough to believe that studying abroad has brought about several beneficial experiences that offer a new world of opportunities.

Firstly, studying abroad would promote character building among students. Once in a new country many students would usually face a culture shock as they are now in a different environment where the manner of living and culture of that particular country differs from theirs. Here many of them try their level best to adapt with the foreign environment as the saying goes when in Rome do as the Romans do. By doing so, most students tend to become more independent, responsible and cautious about the manner of portraying themselves in the public’s eye, with their classmates and also teachers. It is known to all that most young undergraduate students have always been granted everything by their parents especially if they are from an Asian country. But living and studying abroad will instill better time management skills and make them more independent and confident individuals. This will later not only benefit them in their studies but also help them in achieving their aspirations.

Besides, making the wise decision to study abroad will provide these young learners with the freedom to learn and understand the diversity of cultures around the world. Although most people may argue that one can always learn about a particular culture by reading a book, a journal, a magazine such as the Time Magazine or even by watching a documentary on the National Geography channel but the experience gained upon being thrown into a different culture is just and adventure and journey by itself. Someone once said that in order to learn about someone one should walk miles in their shoe, so in order to learn different cultures one should be ready to break away from their cultural norms and participate in the beliefs of diverse cultures around the world. The accomplishment that students will gain by learning and understanding the cultures of various religions will surely instill consciousness in these young learners to appreciate the essence of life in a better way.

Moreover, studying abroad also provides the opportunity for students to broaden their language skills. Upon stepping their foot in a different country these students would firstly be greeted with the native language of that particular country. For instance, upon arriving in France, at the airport one would be greeted with the word “bonjour” or any other phrase to welcome their presence there. Due to that most students are motivated to learn the foreign language as that is the only method to communicate with the natives. This would further remove the language barrier and further promote international communication. Having overcome this language gap, will surely boost the confidence level of these students to live independently and freely in a foreign country. This proves that studying abroad helps broaden the language skill of young adventurous learners.

On the contrary, you can never have a picnic without ants. Similarly, studying abroad also has its drawbacks. Firstly, most students would end up feeling lonely. This is supported by the fact that when in a foreign country these students are basically restarting a new life all over again. They need to find new friends, accustom into a totally new environment, build a new daily routine and become independent in a very short period of time. Usually most students find it difficult to avoid the feeling of homesickness which then leads to severe depression. This may result in psychological issues and also negligence of studies. Some may even resort to drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a manner to render their loneliness away. Due to that, the establishment of more student support centers is important to provide these young learners with the right guidance upon arriving in a foreign country for educational purposes.

In addition, the cost of living and studying in a foreign country is also a disadvantage of studying abroad. This implies to those students who come from an average family. The financial burden to pay for tuition fees, transportation, miscellaneous and accommodation rental is just too much to bear at times. Although there are study loans and scholarships available out there, how much can one thrive upon them. These loans do not usually cover the daily expenses and most students would not want to burden their parents by demanding for extra cash. Due to that, most of them resort to part-time jobs in order to lead a comfortable lifestyle while pursuing education in a foreign country. This proves that, the expensive cost of living is one of the flaws of studying abroad.

Jawaharlal Nehru once said that “we live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty charm and adventure, there is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we can seek them with our eyes open”. This indicates, that studying abroad helps one understand the cycle of life, the diversity of cultures and the beauty of various languages. Pursuing education abroad is the only manner where one can accomplish these goals. Although there are quite a few setbacks, but nothing comes easy and free in life. One must always keep in mind that life is all about pushing your limit sand living beyond your comfort zone. Thus, it is a stated stand that studying abroad has surely brought about several beneficial experiences that offers a new world of opportunities.

By Ashadeep Kaur

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