”Asia is probably the most dynamic continent in the world and economically it presents endless opportunities. The center of gravity is moving towards the East.”
– Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland
Although studying abroad is almost worthwhile, it matters more and more where you go. Here are just a few of the many benefits that studying abroad in Asia can bring:
1. Learn to be independent
Have you ever lived in another country? If not, this your chance to take the leap and challenge yourself. Living in a country that’s completely different from your own will teach you skills needed to live an independent life. You will find new sides of yourself that you wouldn’t have discovered if hadn’t stepped out of your comfort zone. If you can make it in Asia, you can make it anywhere.
2. Become a sought-after Asia expert
Due to the increasingly important political and economic role of Asia, many employers value Asia-related knowledge and expertise. According to the report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (02/2017), China will be the most powerful economy by 2030, and on the top 25 list are also Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. By gaining personal knowledge and experience of this emerging center of economic gravity you can future-proof your CV and stand out from other applicants. Studying in Asia is a solid investment into your career.
“The world changes fast. It’s estimated that up to 60 % of the world economy comes from developing countries. Even the leaders at the World Bank have encouraged students to educate themselves about Asia and the diverse cultures of the continent. Asia is the best choice for my future career and life.”
– Jukka Leino, Finnish entrepreneur, studied abroad in Phuket, Thailand
3. Language skills
Having the basic conversational skills in a more exotic language makes a statement: you’re willing and able to learn niche skills and develop your portfolio creatively and ambitiously. Even if you don’t learn a completely new language aboard, improving your existing English language skills will become extremely useful to you. Being able to communicate confidently in English and give presentations in a foreign language is something you’ll need regardless of your future career path. Comprehensive, polished and confident language skills never go out of style when interviewing for a job.
During your time abroad, you have the chance to make many new friends among both locals and other international students. Some of those relationships can blossom into lifelong friendships. These relationships can enrich both your personal and professional life. You will never know how the contacts you have made can help you in the future, from finding a place to stay when visiting a foreign country to even landing a job.
5. Cultivate 21st century skills
The American non-profit organization Partnership for 21st Century Learning has identified 4 skills that are most needed in 21st century education: critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. All those skills can be learnt by living and studying abroad, especially in a culture very different from your own. You will be presented with many obstacles during you day to day life, but with some creative thinking and cooperation with others you’re sure to tackle all of them. At the end of your study abroad, you have mastered all the skills need to thrive in this millennium.
The living costs in Asia are generally considerably lower than in Europe or the US. You can feel abundant even on a student budget. This can be proved, for example, by the Big Mac index which measures the purchasing power parity between two currencies by comparing the prices of a McDonald’s’ Big Mac burger in each country. In all of our destination countries, a Big Mac is cheaper than the US or European one. So don’t worry, you can enjoy your time abroad without breaking your piggy bank.
7. Experience the rich and diverse cultures
Asia has rich and diverse cultures and immersing yourself in them is a life-changing experience. Whether it is architecture, art of food, Asian cultures are always awe-inspiring. You won’t run out of sights to see or attraction to experience in Asia, because you never know what you might find behind the next street corner. If you embrace the foreign culture and its habits with open arms, you can find a completely new way of living.
“The highlights of my exchange program were getting to know various cultures that are entirely different from the one I am exposed to in Germany. During my stay in China and Thailand, I came across so many new people from all over the world. […] I pretty quickly began to view things differently because everything was starkly different from the way things work in Germany. It was a great experience to learn that there are many different ways of looking at things. It’s an awesome feeling to experience that kind of diversity.”