Studying Abroad: The Pros and Cons of International Student Exchange

What many students fail to realize is that foreign exchange is far more than just an opportunity for traveling. Studying abroad is quite an adventure that offers many benefits. However, it also comes with a fair share of disadvantages that students often overlook only to realize later on that this adventure isn’t what they expected. Thus, it’s important that you consider both pros and cons of foreign exchange in order to see whether it’s the right option for you.

Pro: Making new friends

One of the main and most exciting advantages of foreign exchange is meeting new friends. Not only will you have an opportunity to meet different people from all over the world, but you’ll also have a special bond because a lot of them will be foreign exchange students, too. Additionally, you may have a host family who will welcome you into their home and treat you like a family member.

Pro: Learning a new language

Once you’ve arrived in a new country, you’ll be surrounded by a new language that you’ll have to learn. Although it may be difficult at first, you’ll be completely immersed in the community, which is a major advantage when it comes to learning a foreign language. It goes without saying that such an opportunity doesn’t come that often.

Pro: Educational diversity

Studying abroad will open up new educational opportunities for you. Apart from getting to know a completely different educational system, you’ll have a range of study options. You can expand your existing knowledge, acquire new skills and broaden your interests. In addition, you’ll have more options when it comes programs, so make sure to research colleges before making the final decision.

Pro: Innovation

The field of education is always open to change, implementing new techniques and approaches and providing students with new possibilities. Pushing the boundaries of innovation, this field aims at making students’ lives easier and more fulfilled. For example, innovative student accommodation in Melbourne is scheduled to open in 2018 after its success in Sydney and Brisbane. By studying abroad, you have an opportunity to be a part of those changes and reap the benefits that they offer.

Con: Culture shock

While traveling and exploring a new country is always fun, living in it might be quite challenging, especially if the country is completely different from yours. Apart from not knowing the language, you’ll be faced with unfamiliar and strange customs, different beliefs and mentality, which can be overwhelming.

Con: Loneliness and homesickness

Although foreign exchange provides you with an opportunity to meet new people, you may feel lonely and homesick because you’ll leave all of your loved ones behind. Despite being surrounded with people, you may be overwhelmed by loneliness because you miss your family and friends. You may also miss the familiarity of your hometown and your everyday routine.

Con: Expenses

Living abroad may require a sizable amount of money depending on the standard of living in your host country. Apart from admission fees and scholarship, you’ll have plenty of travel, accommodation and other living costs. In addition, if you don’t have health insurance, all the exams and medication can cost you a fortune. Thus, it’s advisable that you have certain health exams before traveling abroad.

Con: Falling behind your studies

While studying abroad will enable you to acquire new knowledge, you risk falling behind with your studies back home. Some universities don’t acknowledge exams taken at foreign universities, which means that you may have to re-sit certain exams. In addition, you may have difficulties catching up with the foreign program you’ve chosen.

While studying abroad is a valuable and enriching experience, it also comes with certain disadvantages. Nonetheless, if you feel ready to live and study abroad, no obstacle is insurmountable.


Chloe Taylor is a blogger and a huge fan of social media. She enjoys learning and writing about design, business, productivity and career related topics. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. You can find Chloe on FB and Twitter.



8 Comments on “Studying Abroad: The Pros and Cons of International Student Exchange

  1. I have been thinking about going and studying abroad, but I have been a little nervous about it. I’m glad you mentioned that I would be immersed in the community, and learning the language would be a lot easier! I’m really glad you listed the pros and cons of going! It has really made me think! Thank you for all the great information!

    • Another thing I like to remind students is to ask themselves, “When else in my life will I have the opportunity to travel like this?” And at some colleges, your financial aid will follow you as you study abroad and the cost won’t be much more than what you are already paying to attend college.

  2. As for me, I consider that studying in Spain was the best decision in my life. There I not only improved my Spanish, get a good life experience, but found new friends and girlfriend 🙂 So, do not be frightened by changes!
    If it helps someone to find an opportunity for studying, you can use this site –

    • Reading this article i was still unsure of it but your comment has really helped and made me think. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: What are the pros and cons of studying abroad for Students

  4. I enjoyed reading this article and it did make me think about all sides of the coin. So thank you!
    I really want to go on an exchange with a club through my school and my dad is on board but my mom is really skeptical. I have talked to her about all the pros of going as well as told her that I am aware of all the cons of leaving. However, she is very focused on all the things that could go wrong (naturally). How do I help my mom understand that it would be a great experience for me?

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