THE importance of education must never be underestimated. It is integral to shaping one's future.
Many students dream of studying abroad as they work towards obtaining the best education especially at the tertiary level.
Fortunately for me, I won a scholarship three years ago which enabled me to receive my education in Singapore, beginning in Secondary Three.
Having experienced what it's like to study abroad and met many others who have the opportunity of doing so, I am all for encouraging students to pursue the same route if they were given the chance.
The benefits are manifold but I am fully aware of the challenges involved.
For instance, the total living cost and tuition fees at private universities per year in Malaysia range from RM30,000 to RM55,000 while in the United Kingdom, these could cost up to RM95,000.
These high expenses mean that any emergencies can put a lot of stress on one's finances and studies.
The ideal situation, however, would be to earn a scholarship that covers most of the fees involved.
Another factor to consider when deciding on studying abroad is cultural differences.
Discrimination and prejudice could arise from cultural differences.
With an open mind and positive mindset, however, this cultural challenge can be turned into a tool for gaining invaluable insights and experiences.
Students who are exposed to societies outside of their comfort zones will learn to appreciate the uniqueness of different cultures.
Students will also be introduced to peers from many other backgrounds and nationalities.
Living among other scholars from various countries has allowed me to better understand the cultures and heritage from around the world.
I have definitely enhanced my communication skills and am now able to interact with others easily. This in part comes from the experience of living in a different society.
Lastly, one cannot undermine the homesickness which accompanies studying abroad.
Students have to navigate a foreign land all by themselves, which can be daunting.
In an increasingly globalised world, students studying overseas gain a more global perspective and a competitive edge in the working sector.
Studying abroad teaches one soft skills and nurtures one to be more empathetic and concerned about global events. It also produces graduates with greater vision and drive.
To sum up, studying abroad has its pros and cons. The ultimate deciding factor boils down to what a student prioritises.
My decision to study overseas is one of the most life-altering and significant contributors in shaping my attitude, aptitude and abilities today. It is certainly worth the challenges I have faced. Jeslyn is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star's Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. Throughout the year-long programme, participants aged between 14 and 22 from all across the country experience life as journalists, contributing ideas, conducting interviews, and completing writing assignments. They get to earn bylines, attend workshops, and extend their social networks. To join Star-NiE's online youth community, go to facebook.com/niebrats . Since 1997, The Star's Newspaper-in-Education (StarNiE) programme has supported English language teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools nationwide. Through Star-NiE's teacher and student workshops, annual contests and monthly English language resources for classroom use, participants of the programme reportedly showed marked interest in the language and progress in their proficiency. Now in its 25th year, Star-NiE is continuing its role of promoting the use of English language through a weekly activity page in StarEdu. These activities are suitable for use individually and in groups, at home and in the classroom, across varied proficiency levels. Parents and teachers are encouraged to work on the activities with their children and students. In addition, Star-NiE's BRATs Young Journalist Programme will continue to be a platform for participants to hone and showcase their English language skills, as well as develop their journalistic interests and instincts. Follow our updates at facebook.com/ niebrats . For Star-NiE enquiries, email [email protected]
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