We can all use a friendly reminder to leave the house and get some fresh air, but what about leaving the country to expand our horizons?
No matter how much you LOVE your hometown, there comes a point where you need to get out and learn about the world around you.
If you are planning to pursue studies anyway, then you should definitely consider studying abroad. We need to take control of our lives and nobody but YOU is going to make that happen! Here are some reasons why studying abroad was the BEST decision for me.
It doesn’t have to be so expensive.
Unless you live in a country where education is government-funded, then there will almost always be a cost.
Luckily, that cost doesn’t have to be huge. If you’ve done any research about schools overseas, this will likely come as a surprise. In the terrifying world of international student fees, school’s can pretty much charge whatever they want. They know someone will take it.
I saw tuition fees that ranged from $10,000 – $60,000 per year when I was deciding on a school. Honestly, that’s WHACK. How do you study, pay for rent, and feed yourself when you are a fulltime student racking up a nearly $500,000 debt? Just that thought alone stressed me out.
There are options. I chose to study in Zagreb, Croatia, partially because the tuition was similar to my local Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in Canada. The major difference here is the affordable cost of living.
Although the veterinary program in Croatia takes 6 years to complete (students enter straight out of high school), I am able to make up these costs by paying significantly less for food, accommodations, and phone plans compared to Canada.
Particularly, if you’re a US citizen looking for options for university, studying abroad should absolutely be considered. Tuition for in-state American schools was ~$28,000 CAD ($21,043 USD) in 2020.
Look, I’m sure Michigan is beautiful… but if I’m going to spend that much money I better be next to some oceans and mountains. Factor in cost of living and you quickly realize that going abroad would 100% save you money and give you an amazing experience to boot.
I’m planning to make a post highlighting how much my entire education is estimated to cost me (including phone plans, food, health insurance, etc.) so be sure to check that out in the coming weeks. Croatia isn’t the answer for everyone, but it serves as an example for you to work with.
There are accredited schools.
There are many different accreditations out there and not every veterinary school will be AVMA accredited, but that’s okay. What this means is that you need to complete additional licensing exams if you wanted to return and practice in the US or Canada. An extra step, but not a deal breaker if returning home is your goal.
I love Canada but I also love to travel. Studying Vet Med here gives me a chance to explore different countries and pursue my dream. For example, the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the EAEVE. This means graduates are able to practise as fully licensed veterinarians anywhere in the EU after graduating. There is SO MUCH to learn in this world so if you can study towards a dream career AND travel at the same time, then you’d be crazy not to.
You learn a lot about yourself and the world.
Sometimes you need to just leave your comfort zone and throw yourself into an unfamiliar place to truly learn who you are and are not.
There’s definitely a transition period before you become more adjusted with your new way of life, and for some people that may take longer than others. No problem.
You may feel lonely at first and question your decision altogether. Still, not a problem.
Life isn’t always going to be predictable. The sooner you learn to go with the flow, the sooner you will learn how to adapt. Different countries will have different ways of doing things, so being able to adapt to the challenges that your new surroundings present is a great way to learn about yourself.
Also, chances are that you are not the only international student at your school. There will be other students who have done the EXACT SAME THING as you and packed their bags to start this exciting next chapter. This makes for a great opportunity for you to meet different people from all across the world!
For simplicity sake, I’m going to stick with Croatia as my example. Our international students at the University of Zagreb have come here from every continent to study vet med, and so we are all in the same position. We are all new to the city and unfamiliar with everything – which makes for a great opportunity to get to know each person and eventually a bit about their culture.
The people you will meet while studying abroad each have their own story and valuable lessons to learn from. There may be a language barrier, but that will help you become a more patient person in the end 🙂 .
If you want to pursue studies and you have the option of going abroad, this will literally be one of the most life changing decisions that you will ever make. It doesn’t have to be as daunting as the university websites make it seem. I’ll help guide you through hacks on affordable housing, groceries, and your education options.
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Bain B, Dicks MR. Are veterinary students accumulating unreasonable amounts of debt? J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Aug 1;249(3):285-8. doi: 10.2460/javma.249.3.285. PMID: 27439345.