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Sara Abul

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104-017

11 November 2018

Is Studying Abroad Worth It

There are many life experiences that can change someone’s perspective of the world

surround them. Studying abroad comes as one of those life experiences. People grow up

living their whole life in one place, observing people from the same known culture, same

background, and same perspective of life. Due to that, it is difficult for them to interact with

the different cultures. That fact leads me to a nice quote for Saint Augustine, a famous

theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western

Christianity and western philosophy. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read

only one page.” The reader and I can learn a couple of things from the quote. People will not

be exposed openly unless they travel outside their home countries. Thus, if students are

eligible, they certainly should take the chance to study abroad.

The process of writing the synthesis of research -at the beginning- was not an easy

process or a familiar assignment to me. I was trying to understand how the process of writing

a synthesis of research works. However, I found the instructions and the student’s example

provided by Mrs. Thomas really helpful. I have also been going back and forth reading the

assigned chapters from TSIS, trying somehow to look up for related thoughts to my question.

Moreover, I went over some of my sources which most of them were from the library

databases, and did some research in order to come up with an organized clear idea that can be

used as a foundation for my synthesis of research.

Generally, all of the sources that I have found are supporting my question in different

aspects, and that is a connection that I can draw among the sources. In other words, this is
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how I can relate all of the varied voices that are found in the sources together, which happen

to become a great support for my own opinion. When writing this paper and reading the

sources, I thought of some agreements and disagreements in terms of the way people see

traveling overseas and specifically studying abroad. However, I think no one can throw a

direct agree or disagree statement, because such situations/choices depends on the individual.

There is no doubt that such situations have common phases and similarities regarding the

benefits, yet not every individual reacts the same way towards them. However, studying

abroad has great advantages, and there are many real life stories. Bottom line is that I agree

with the fact that there are numerous successful opportunities that can be gained in going.

The aim behind my research question is to know whether studying abroad worth it or

not. Thus, I have been looking for sources that illustrate the importance of studying abroad,

and the many advantages that can be sustained. Needless to say, each writer has their own

point of view. Some may see that the benefits are only educational experience such as

academic wise, others tend to think that the benefits can only be economical. However, they

all come to an agreement that studying abroad is one of the best choices people can make in

their lives.

While I was reading some of the sources, the first agreement I found is the importance

nowadays of learning English specifically for non-native English speakers when they decide

to study abroad. In addition to that, needless to say that English is the most spoken language

in the world. Due to this fact, most educated people don’t hesitate to make this decision and

leave to study abroad. According to Heather Weger, English language teacher at Georgetown

University, in her article, Examining English Language Learning Motivation of Adult

International Learners Studying Abroad in the US. Weger mentions that learning a new

language helps in merging into different cultures, and lead to a brighter future. “Five

motivation constructs, listed here in order of the lowest to highest average factor score:
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Learning Self-Confidence, Attitudes toward English Language Learning/Community,

International Posture, Personal English Use, and Value of English Learning. These five

factors reveal several interesting insights into how motivation for English language learning

is related to these learners’ sense of self.” I agree with Weger because studies indicate that

bilingualism postpones the natural decline of intellectual functions promoting a cognitive

reserve that sustains and improves brain ageing as a person grows older. Moreover, one of the

things that a student abroad should have is the international posture. According to

Jangho Lee, member of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell

University. In his article, The effects of short-term study abroad on L2 anxiety, international

posture, and L2 willingness to communicate. He states that, “The possible expla-nation

behind this relationship would be that, when a learner visualizes himself or herself as a part

of the international community in the future, this learner would be more likely to be

motivated, and to engage in talking to other speakers in the L2. That said, international

posture is an important con-struct in the field of Second-Language Acquisition.” In other

words, there is no doubt that the intention of learning/speaking in another language should

come as an intention within the person. That is the only way learners can face the obstacles

and overcome them in order to become fluent speakers.

Furthermore, -back to the original point- thousands of people are now studying abroad

because of its advantages. The writers of The benefits of overseas study for international

postgraduate students in Malaysia, “According to the OECD (2014), 4.5 million students

pursued higher education outside their home countries in 2012, a number predicted to rise to

7.2 million by 2025 (Bohm et al. 2002).” Doubtlessly, there are many benefits and outcomes

which can improve one’s personality in different aspects. In other words, studying abroad

gives the students the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and foreign

countries, which makes them learn about new cultures openly and practically. In addition to
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that, students who graduate with degrees from abroad attracts employers which means higher

wages. Deciding to studying abroad means stepping outside the comfort zone. In the

following line is a quotation by Petra Moog, a member of Department of Business and

Economics at University of Siegen from her article, What shapes the intention to study

abroad? An experimental approach. In terms of the personal benefits which students are

guaranteed to have while studying abroad, “Studying abroad indirectly signals high-risk

taking, assertiveness, and investment assets, and it can provide a general high willingness to

become mobile.” I personally agree with Moog, because studying abroad has significantly

changed my personality, especially during the first year. Living in the U.S. is different than

living in Kuwait where is my home country, in many aspects for instance, the parents are

responsible for their children as long as they are not married and settle with their spouses.

That basically means that teenagers could grow up without truly taking care of themselves or

their responsibilities. Which means they just rely on their parents when it comes to hard

situations instead of letting experiencing themselves dealing with adulthood life. Many

people may think that there is nothing wrong with that, or even think I am exaggerating.

However, I have never liked it or saw it the way they did at the first place.

I read a governmental online article called, The value of study. - Study abroad to build

skills and knowledge, prepare to solve the world’s toughest challenges, and compare in the

21st century workforce. In the article, the writer spot a light on the benefits gained from such

experience, “By studying abroad, you will experience new perspectives, learn how to

navigate different cultures, work with diverse peers, and communicate in other languages.”

As a result, studying abroad was not just a dream to me in order to get a better education,

learning a new language, or living a new life experience. I had that dream because I always

wanted to help in changing the way some people think in my country. However, my family

are open minded and they always courage and support me, especially when it comes to
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education. Although I live here alone but I made a lot of American and international friends. I

learned and still learning new things every day. I started to take my own responsibilities

instead of waiting for my parents. I learned how to usefully use my spare time, and to invest

it in reading and learning about new cultures, and developing one of my favorite hobbies

which is playing a piano.

Moreover, by studying abroad, students have the opportunity to study in a foreign

nation and so take the culture of the new land. They can also gain good and new habits. Such

as reading books, making friends, getting involved in cultural events or holidays, discovering

new places and last but not least, accepting and living with different religions peacefully and

respecting the rules, which to me is the most important outcome of the studying abroad

experience. In constant, if a person decides to study in their home country, they will miss out

a lot of opportunities out there. They won’t truly see how far their limits are and won’t have

the chance to meet people from all around the world who are working towards achieving the

same goal. My point here that the benefits of studying abroad should interest those who are

thinking about it but not quite sure or hesitated. Beyond this limited audience, however, my

point should speak to anyone who cares about the larger issue of seeking a better education

level.
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Works Cited

Weger, Heather D. “Examining English Language Learning Motivation of Adult


International Learners Studying Abroad in the US.” RELC Journal, vol. 44, no. 1,
Apr. 2013, pp. 87-101. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0033688212473272.

Lee, Jang Ho. “The Effects of Short-Term Study Abroad on L2 Anxiety, International
Posture, and L2 Willingness to Communicate.” Journal of Multilingual &
Multicultural Development, vol. 39, no. 8, Oct. 2018, pp. 703-714. EBSCOhost,
doi:10.1080/01434632.2018. 1435666.

Singh, Jasvir Kaur Nachatar, and Gavin Jack. “The Benefits of Overseas Study for
International Postgraduate Students in Malaysia.” Higher Education (00181560), vol.
75, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 607-624. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10734-017-0159-4.

Petzold, Knut, and Petra Moog. “What Shapes the Intention to Study Abroad? An
Experimental Approach.” Higher Education (00181560), vol. 75, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp.
35-54. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10734-017-0119-z.

https://studyabroad.state.gov/value-study-abroad/why-study-abroad