The number of international students continues to grow globally. Even though during COVID times the rapid growth slowed down a little, by 2023 students are looking to study abroad again. Students can choose to study abroad for many reasons- one of them being a better career in the future. Does it make sense to opt for international studies for a better job?
Of course, the answer is not that easy or straightforward. It depends on the field, the region, the university, the type of career and so on.
Questions to ask yourself
Don’t forget: everyone’s goals, dreams, possibilities and opinions are different, so the best solution will be different for every single student.
You must answer many questions before making your final decision:
- Is the chosen country/region known for high quality higher education?
- Do you know someone else who studies in that region? What is their opinion about the education there?
- Is your chosen field sought-after in that region? Does the region have a high number of vacancies in the field?
For example, if you choose to study engineering or IT in Europe, you surely make a good career choice, as the EU is notoriously short on trained engineers and developers. In Hungary, for example, the best starting salaries are paid for fresh grads of engineering and Computer Science programs.
- You also must ask yourself if you want to stay in your chosen country, move somewhere else or return home. Are degrees accredited and accepted where you want to work?
- Does your chosen university have a good reputation in the region?- If you come from a far away country, it might be hard to differentiate among all the university offers you see online. But naturally, universities are perceived differently by locals- there are respected and less respected unis and programs in every country. If you want a good career, make sure to check which universities have the best reputation in that country.
- Does your uni offer you the best possible future?- do they offer career services, do they have good industry relations and job offers, do they offer good Masters or PhD programs? You should make sure that university is strong in those aspects that are important to you.
- Does your destination country offer a post-study visa? – this is especially important if you want to stay in that country after graduation. For example, Hungary offer a 9-month post-study permit that you can use for looking for employment.
- Is it possible to start your own business in your destination country? Or does that country offer an optimal legal framework for freelancing?
- If you want to return to your home country: does having an international degree give you a competitive edge in the job market in your country? Are companies more likely to employ fresh grads with international degrees, international experiences and good language skills?
Some good practices to boost your employability with an international degree
- Make connections! This is extremely important in any field. Finding employment is generally much easier if you already know some players in your field. Even if you are not a huge extrovert, you can still join professional groups, hobby groups, attend presentations and conferences… Just make sure you surround yourself with like-minded people.
- Learn a language- especially if you are not studying in an English-speaking country. This can make all the difference. You can learn the local language (for example, companies in Hungary will love if you speak a little Hungarian), or even use your uni years to learn a large international language besides English, e.g. German, Spanish, Chinese etc. can all be extremely useful and give you the competitive edge you need in the job market after graduation.
- Gain extra skills or specialize to a niche. Think of what could make you different from your peers in the job market. Studying IT? Choose a unique specialization. Studying engineering or business? Learn some coding with it as well.
- Participate in your university’s events- make sure to use all the opportunities that your uni gives you, whether it’s a professional event or extracurricular. By participating in events, you can meet other students, catch the eyes of professors or even company representatives… or at least learn something useful or have a good time.
- Participate in a club- look around at your university or city what kind of professional clubs are out there, like engineering club, developer’s club or so on… it will look good in your resume and you are also more likely to bump into professional opportunitites there.
And remember: your exams and grades are important, but not the most important when building a career. Being enthusiastic, passionate, having good connections and building your professional portfolio are all more important to a successful career.