The number of American students who move to another country to complete their degree is growing. There’s nearly a 2% increase in 2016 over 2015, but the number is still a very small percentage.
In 2015 the number was less than 350,000 in total. More than 98% of undergraduates chose to remain in domestic universities and 96% of postgraduates. There’s an immediate cachet to be had from studying abroad.
Destination Europe or elsewhere
Nearly 55% of those who go abroad choose Europe, which means the chances of you finding other Americans in a European university is quite high. There’s a good chance in South America and Asia, but nearly no chance in African universities or the Middle East.
This could be a research topic on its own, but there is evidence to show you may pay less for the education part of your degree, but still get all of the other advantages.
Some universities have scholarship funds for international students, but there’s also plenty of assistance here in the USA. The government has recognized that in order to maintain competitiveness in a global economy the USA workforce needs to have experience outside the U.S. You may find more of your costs are covered by leaving than they would be staying.
You don’t have to go all out
If the idea of taking classes in another language is intimidating, you might consider going to an American university abroad. There are 12 universities or adjuncts which offer degrees taught in English but are located abroad. It is not quite the all-in experience of learning physics while the lecturer speaks German, but it is an opportunity to experience the culture and brush up your language skills while not having to be proficient enough to submit papers in your second or third language.
Undergraduate degrees are faster
Graduate degrees abroad, especially in Europe, are usually a three-year program, not a four-year program as in the U.S. You start the degree course in a specific topic and skip the year of general education which most undergraduates in the US attend.
This does save a lot on tuition fees but it needs to be balanced against travel costs and there is usually a visa cost too. You will not get to go home every break there is, but once you have settled it is unlikely you will want to anyway. Students often want to come home for the first Christmas, but afterwards want to explore. This was one of the reasons for studying abroad this in the first place.
If you have lived abroad, cut off from a support network for any length of time, you have demonstrated a level of resilience which employers look for.
Taking this step is going to make you stand out in a crowd and put your job candidacy in a good light. Ultimately, that is what your time at university is for; it’s a stepping stone to the next phase of life.