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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Studying abroad vs. studying in Singapore

Nowadays, studying abroad is seen as a glamorous pursuit. Those who are accepted to institutions outside of Singapore especially in the US and UK are greeted with ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ by those who did not have the opportunity to go beyond this tiny island city. However, is studying abroad really a wise decision? Hotcourses Singapore investigates this by listing down the pros and cons of studying abroad vis-à-vis studying in Singapore.


Before choosing to study abroad or locally, keep these things in mind….

Study Abroad- Pros

v  If you are thinking of studying in the Netherlands or Sweden, you will be able to hone your foreign language skills. Studying in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, US and UK would also expose you to different English dialects and accents.

  • Builds character: You can be independent.
  • You will be exposed to a new culture and will learn to appreciate the eccentricities of people from all over the world.
  • You will be given a chance to learn to adapt yourself to new situations and environments; a skill valued in the workplace.
  • Expensive. You do not only have to think about tuition fees but also visa application, transport, food and accommodation.
  • Will make your resume stand out in job applications compared to your counterparts who studied locally.

Study Abroad-Cons

  • You need to apply for a visa.
  • You might need to take some tests in order for your application to be considered. For example, in the United States, you might be required to sit for the SAT exams.
  • You might be alone in an unknown place.

Study in Singapore- Pros

  • You do not need permission or a visa to study locally.
  • You will be in a predictable place.
  • You will always have your family and friends to turn to.
  • Cost efficient

Study in Singapore- Cons

  • You might not be able to get as much independence as you would study abroad.
  • You will be exposed to the same culture that you grew up in.


Before deciding to study abroad or at home, you should consider the following things…

  1. Are the overseas universities that you wish to apply to higher in the ranking system than the local universities? Just because the university is in the UK, it does not necessarily mean it is better than the local universities. Look through the different university rankings such as the Times Higher Education World Rankings and Shanghai University World Rankings to see the position of your dream university compared to other institutions.
  2. Do you have enough finances to support your education abroad for three to four years. 
  3. If you intend to do your postgraduate studies, then studying abroad might be the best option for you as many universities beyond Singapore are known for some producing students that are specialized in their field. For example, many students after graduating from their basic medicine degree in Singapore have chosen to go abroad to obtain their specialist degree.


If you can’t study abroad…..

Don’t fret, if for some reason such as tight finances you are unable to study abroad. Many local universities such as the National University of Singapore offers exchange programmes or study abroad summer programmes. 

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