Studying Abroad – A Ticket to Global Opportunities
Students looking to pursue higher education opportunities abroad experience a dynamic that oscillates between excitement and nervousness. Studying in a completely new environment and experiencing a unique culture is exciting, but the preparation process and the adjustment to life abroad can appear overwhelming. Fortunately, the opportunities abound upon pursuing a degree abroad far outweigh the uneasiness that may be present at the outset.
Attending university to pursue a specific discipline is a rewarding experience that opens wide-ranging career prospects that may not have been available otherwise. Through studying abroad, students can attend some of the world's most prestigious higher-education institutions, partake in highly niche and specialized courses, and learn alongside a diverse set of peers and instructors.
In times of rapid technological and economic change, organizations seek highly skilled personnel who can look at problem solving from a global perspective. Employers recognize the value of students who can speak multiple languages and have a blended perspective on how people think and do business from different parts of the world. Having this first-person perspective offers strategic insight that is unmatched and is one reason why international experience is highly valued by multinational companies and firms.
Understanding the importance of study-abroad opportunities and the applicability to future careers is the first step. Once the decision is made to study abroad, what's next? First, students should research the colleges and universities that interest them and narrow these down based on factors that are most important to them, such as geographical location, size of the university and access to internships, to name a few. Talking to admissions counselors or former students can help make the selection process easier to navigate.
Next comes the application process, including gathering references, school transcripts and personal essays. A crucial component of the application process for international students is proving their ability to speak English in a university setting. Students should take the TOEFL iBT® test to satisfy this requirement. The TOEFL® test measures test takers' academic English proficiency and is being used by tens of thousands of Indian students each year to study abroad, not only in English-speaking countries like the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but also countries all across Europe and Asia. The TOEFL test's acceptance spans more than 10,000 institutions in over 150 countries around the globe. As students prepare for the TOEFL test, they can feel confident knowing that the language skills being measured — reading, writing, speaking and listening — will directly map to their experiences in classrooms on university campuses.
As students gear up for another school year and begin putting together their portfolio for university applications, they may use excitement, nervousness and the range of emotions in between to describe the process and the adventure of what's to come. One characteristic that students can add to this list? Confidence. Confidence in themselves, in their potential, in their English-language skills to communicate in the classroom, and in the decision to study abroad that will help create and shape the opportunities that await them upon graduation.
Srikant Gopal, Executive Director - TOEFL Program