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What factors should I consider before applying for an MSc degree as an international student?

I’m interested in study abroad master degree programs. I have had the dream to study overseas since high school, but I didn’t have the courage or knowledge to chase it. Therefore, I half-heartedly settled for a BSc degree in my home country.

Five years later, I’m searching for a masters degree UK so that I can fulfill my dream. I’m interested in knowing the criteria for accepting international students to degree programs. Additionally, what are some pros and cons of pursuing an MSc degree abroad?

Dana Keller

in Higher Education

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Kathy Robinson on June 8, 2018

The most important factors that may determine if you'll study your master's degree in the UK are your grades and money. If you have excellent grades in your undergraduate and a strong recommendation to boot, you can study in almost any university in the UK as well as secure funding.

However, if you don’t have such grades but your scores are good enough for admittance to an average ranked college, you may need to pay your own fees. Fees plus living costs for an international student is a hefty amount.

An international student's general requirements for admission to graduate degrees’ programs include:

  •    Undergraduate degree (second class-upper division)
  •    Proof of English language proficiency
  •    Funding source
  •    Visa and passport
  •    Reference letter
  •    A personal statement

I believe the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the drawbacks. Advantages of doing your Master’s degree program abroad:

  •    You get to experience a foreign culture. While you live and study in a foreign country, you get to learn about their culture and way of life rather than reading all this from a book.
  •    You will master their language. Even if you know English but you are not a native speaker, you still get shocked once you immersed in a native English speaking world. However, once you get used to it, you begin to become more fluent.
  •    Meeting new people. You will interact with new people and even form lasting friendships. Communicating with strangers who have a very different way of life also builds your interpersonal skills.
  •    You learn to be independent. Unlike back home where you have your family and friends to depend on, in a foreign country you’re on your own. It will be hard at first. However, once you learn to cope with it, you will do very well.
  •    It gives you the opportunity to travel. Moving from your home and probably cross continents to study in the UK is a good travel experience. Moreover, you can visit neighboring cities and even nations during your study period.
  •     Builds your resume. Future employers will take note of your international experience pursuing your Master of Science degree. Plus, when you study abroad, you acquire exposure, resilience, maturity and interpersonal skills which are all invaluable qualities in a workplace.

Money is the major challenge for international students. Make sure you have enough funds before you travel. Additionally, if your program allows, look for part-time work to make ends meet. 

Ronald Miller2 years ago

I think there are more disadvantages associated with studying degree programs abroad than just money. The benefits are more. However, wouldn’t you want to know the bad and the ugly as well? I’ll mention a few:

Academic challenges: if you’re not strong-willed, I would advise against studying abroad. You may face learning difficulties because of the new environment, language, or unfamiliar methods of teaching.

Losing connections with loved ones: students are lucky these days as technology has made it easy for people to communicate thousands of miles apart. However, it doesn’t feel the same as having your family physically reachable. The distance may bring about strains in relationships.

Discrimination and culture shock: submerging yourself in a completely different way of life may be overwhelming. So is going back to your old way of life. Also, there are a few cases of discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. 


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