Why Going to College Abroad Might Be For You


Oxford University (UK)

Quick disclaimer: I’m a senior, so I have no experience with going to university abroad. However, I was admitted to a college abroad and have experienced the application process, which can tell you a lot about tuition and the ease of application.

There’s new food and people, and traveling to foreign countries is fun!”

— Hannah Smith

America is the land of opportunity – yes I believe that – but does that apply to education? As college tuition in the States rises to unreasonable numbers, American students may need to start looking elsewhere. To give statistics to this general claim, the average yearly tuition of private universities in America is around $38,000, while public four-year colleges average nearly $24,000. In-state residents normally pay around $10,000, a significantly lower cost than other options. However, this creates a dilemma: many high school students in certain states may not want to attend their (likely large) state school or prefer an out of state experience. To give a comparison to foreign options, the average cost is $21,365 in England, $16,746 in Canada, and only $247 in France. France ranks significantly lower due to a variance in education levels, as a four year college term is very abnormal for a French student. England and Canada show promising opportunities for Americans because one can receive an equally good education at a cheaper cost. Let’s take Oxford University vs Harvard University, two of the most notable colleges in the world. Oxford costs approximately $11,700 with room and board, a substantial difference from Harvard’s absurd price of $63,000.

I wanted to go because of the well established zoology program and opportunities through the Royal Zoological Society and the Edinburgh Zoo. Also, it’s only 25,000 pounds a year and in Europe, so it’s a pretty sweet deal.”

— Belle Valiulis (University of Edinburgh '22)

I believe that in the coming years, this appealing alternative will trend upward unless the American government makes changes to tuition numbers. I recognize that travel costs are expensive in going to school abroad for the individual and the family, yet they may be worth the added costs for a wholesome international experience. College experiences in countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Germany where tuition is often free (that’s right…FREE) may be difficult because of the language barrier, so interested applicants may be more comfortable if they are originally from the respective country. Countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, where English is the primarily spoken language, are suitable for those with limited experience abroad but enough to live substantially. The challenge of transitioning cultures would entail converting those dollars to pounds, picking up on certain lingo, and saying goodbye to the beloved Chick-fil-A. Though going to the University of Munich would be significantly different from hopping the northern border to McGill University in Montreal, both would bring a new lifestyle and offer new challenges to American students.

One challenge for all would be adjusting to language differences. Scottish accents may sound like an entirely different language to the average American, so this barrier would cause initial confusion to overcome. The next challenges would involve a variety of cultural norms, including gratuity and proper greetings. Many Charlestonians, for example, have never used public transportation to get from Point A to Point B. This, if living abroad in Europe, would rapidly change. Nonetheless, it only seems fitting that overcoming these challenges would lead to further maturity in a different setting, yet another reason to go abroad.