Head-to-Head: Studying Abroad v Online Degrees

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Jan 09, 2015 / 0 comments

Deciding to go to university is an undeniably exhilarating moment.

For many prospective students, however, the promise of obtaining a degree in their own country simply isn’t enough – which is why growing numbers are heading overseas to study, whether for credit at their own university, or by direct enrollment in an overseas university.

The prospect of university can be frightening, but when coupled with the thought of setting up home and making friends in a new country, it becomes doubly scary. Combine that with worries over how to pay for your tuition fees and living expenses abroad, and it can very quickly become an idea that many horizon-broadening students put on the back burner.


Study abroad students of Qing Dynasty

Study abroad students of the Qing Dynasty.


However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

As an alternative to heading to a bricks and mortar institution in Reykjavik or Rome, hundreds of thousands of students around the globe are using their laptops to gain prestigious online degrees - and traveling when (and where) they want.

Allowing you to study from anywhere in the world, a distance learning course may be the answer to your unanswered questions about attending a foreign institution.

But what are the benefits of both and how do you go about applying? 


Studying Abroad

Choosing to leave your home country and study abroad obviously requires a lengthy amount of planning, with the application process particularly lengthy – so start your research well in advance.

Whether you’re heading to Milan or Milwaukee, it can typically take around 12 months for your references, funding, and school or college test results to be verified.

You may also have to conduct research into where you plan to stay during the academic year and how you’ll find the funds to pay for it.

To avoid stumbling into some second-rate university in a third world country, try drawing up a list of potential countries where you would like to lay down some academic roots. That way, you can work on separating the wheat from the chaff and compile a shortlist of universities where you can realistically see yourself fitting in.

Of course, it’s vital to learn more about what your course will involve, what the academic culture is like, how you’ll be taught, and how much it’ll cost.


Online Degree

Studying abroad can be both exciting and overwhelming, with the logistics of such a move enough to make an online degree a much more agreeable prospect.

With distance learning, you can still travel to a new country, but you’ll gain your degree over the web, allowing you to study where and when it suits you. Travel - and study at the same time. Do a RTW trip and earn your degree while you go!

Whilst you may not get quite the same experience as you would studying in the university, the upshot of a degree, regardless of where it’s obtained, will open many new doors in later life.


What do you think?

Would you prefer to study at a bricks and mortar institution abroad or have the freedom to take an online degree and travel around? Let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.