Study Abroad

17 Questions You Need to Ask Before Deciding to Study Abroad

study abroad decision questions

Here’s examples of some decisions that you would have to make in your life such decisions :

  1. Should I become an Engineer or Doctor?
  2. Should I study in India or U.S.A or Ireland?
  3. Should I go to university in California or Kansas?
  4. Should I eat at home or in a restaurant today?

Do you see a varying degree of impact on your life based on the decisions you make in the above list of questions?

In some instances, a decision would involve your family (wife and kids) and real money.

Life changing decision are tough to make, but you will have to make several decisions that shift your way of life, and it can give a boost or turn it upside down.

This article was inspired a reader called Ganesh.  He sent me the following email with list of questions before he can make a decision to study abroad. He is looking for answers before he can decide if studying in the USA or any foreign country is a good option.

Here’s the edited email with the list of questions.

Should l Study in a Foreign Country?

I am finally slowly deciding what do next with my life. I’m planning on doing MS or MBA, as of now I have no clue but I hope I find it out by end of this month. Better Late than never right?

But I have numerous unanswered questions:

  1. How to prepare my self for the challenge ahead?
  2. How can a common, middle-class, average Indian student become an International Student?
  3. What are steps and stages involved to become an International Student?
  4. Are there any center which helps us deciding the universities?
  5. I know the scholarship in the USA is a chance of Millions but what about Ireland, Canada or Europe?
  6. Does a degree outside the USA have the same value as getting a Graduate Degree from the USA?
  7. Are there any chances that they accept a student with a low score for their program?
  8. Do the universities treat the international student unbiased and unprejudiced?
  9. Do we need to prepare for additional courses or have any ideas on the culture there?
  10. Is speaking the same language necessary for the remainder of my stay in the country?
  11. What are the chances that a guy like me with no idea, don’t have the slightest clue where to start to be ready can make it to the top level?
  12. Does my going to this further education will be a burden on my parents, even if I get a full scholarship?
  13. What is it like to be an International student among people from other countries?
  14. What is like to be different from everybody?
  15. Is it true that we have a good Body Mass Index to get into this college?
  16. I read somewhere in an online article or somewhere and I quote-“Being an International Student is like being a new guy in the prison, you gotta have to join a group for detail and stuff”, Is that true?
  17. Well, I finally have a big stake question: What should I choose to study: M.S.  or  M.B.A?

I’m really in the crossroad and any suggestion or help or guideline would be received happily and seriously.

P.S. Thanks for reading this lengthy mail, I hope I didn’t waste your time. Post this on the blog or anywhere but please help me out. I have to decide to act and this is a good time.

So, that’s the set of questions that came from Ganesh.

I’m really happy to see a student from India asking these set of questions about his career, life and higher education in a foreign country. If you are not asking these questions, then you should and you should know the answer to get ahead in your life.

These are tough questions to find answers. And the answers you are going to get will be of varying degree of optimisim.


There is a difference between asking the questions and concerns you have via a written letter form than having those nagging questions within yourself without seeking answers.

The level of thinking and maturity about the future is perfectly reflected in the email.

How many of you have such list of a clearly defined set of questions and crisp answers when you are making a life-changing decision like, studying in the USA if any foreign country?.

Most often, the decisions are made in a group setting with parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle in a room talking about these options based on their worldview or lens through which they view the world.

But, even then major focus will be :

  • Will you be able to live in a foreign country?
  • Do we have enough money to send you abroad?
  • What about safety and security?
  • What is the job guarantee after studying abroad?
  • How long would it take to pay the loan?
  • What happens if you don’t get a job and have to return back?

But, I’m glad someone is asking questions, that goes way beyond what a regular student would ask.

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  1. Hi Ganesh,
    well, being an International student can be really exciting. You are in a new place, living among people with different mindset. You get to learn a new culture, new ways of thinking and even make friends at a global level. Well, regarding finance, if it is a major criteria or factor to be considered by your family, then you can venture out for countries other than USA, like Germany, Japan, or even South Korea. These countries have many universities that top in research and are much similar or equal to the USA universities. Also the expenses for your study duration is highly reduced. For ex, Germany has the lowest tuition fees or no tuition fees at all. So you can expect to complete your Masters in around 17 to 18 lakhs (including living expenses)…which is very less compared to the cost in USA. As an international student you will be offered courses in English. However, for day to day living, I suggest you to learn the native language of that country at least at the basic level. This also helps you to make friends with native students and make your life at that place much easier. There are many institutes in India that conduct language classes, like the Goethe Institute to learn German etc. But if you are not interested in learning a new language (though, learning a new language is really exciting and fun!) then I suggest you to look for an English speaking country like Canada where your Masters might come around to a maxm of 30 lakhs or UK..(I wouldn’t suggest UK because of its post study work visa).

  2. Hi Ganesh,

    While doing engineering back in India, you need to realize your area of interests first of all. You may get several situations during 4 years span where you will come to know about your skills and interests. Be it managerial or core subjects interest, you need to sort that out firstly. All other things are secondary. If you can realize what kind of stuff makes you happy, then only you will get some direction and can plan accordingly. For the rest of the things, you should go through hundreds of HSB archives. All the best!

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