Planning to study abroad is an exciting prospect and there are so many countries and cities to choose from. Sometimes, however, choosing the city you want to study abroad in can be difficult. You find yourself trying to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cities that you don’t even know. How do you decide?
Some Pointers on Choosing the Best Study Abroad Destination for You
1. Know Yourself
Are you really social? A bonafide extrovert? Do you want or need to be part of a community? Are you adventurous and just want to study abroad and get “lost” in the culture? Are you afraid of culture shock? Afraid that you will miss your friends and family? Are you a very independent person?
2. What Do You Like To Do?
What do you like to do? Of the things that you like to do, such as sports, hobbies, etc., which of them do you want to continue during your time studying abroad? Do you play sports? Go to the theater? Love going to concerts? How important is it for you to be in a city that offers those activities?
Who you are and what you like to do are important factors in how you will fit in to your new environment abroad and how much you get out of your study abroad destination.
3. Consider your personal characteristics and things you want to do abroad – consider wherer you as a person will feel more comfortable? Consider also which size city will offer you what you want.
Study Abroad in a Small City
Advantages of studying abroad in a small city include:
– Small cities are easy to get around in. There is little, if any hassle, with long, crowded (sometimes expensive) journeys on public transportation.
– You can quickly feel at home in a small city.
– Often, it is easier to meet people in small cities.
– Meeting up with your friends is easier in a small city. Travel time is less, and you are more likely to bump into your friends.
– Small cities tend to have less crime than larger cities.
– Small cities are less stressful, and people in small cities tend to feel more comfortable with being friendly.
Study Abroad in a Large City
– Large cities offer more cultural venues, such as museums, art galleries, and concerts
– If you are planning to do an internship, large cities offer more internship possibilities
– Large cities offer “big city” living – but you might feel isolated or alone at times.
– Large cities offer anonymity. If you want to disappear into the crowd, a large city is the place to do it.
– Large cities offer a greater variety of almost all recreation activities, whether it be dance classes, yoga, sports, etc.
Study Abroad in a Medium City
– Medium cities offer a combination of small and big city living
– A mid-sized city is less stressful than a large city, but still has plenty of things to do.
– You can still be independent in a mid-sized city and explore on your own when you want to.
– Getting around on public transportation or by bike or on foot is not difficult, and the distances between points of interest are not too great.
– In a mid-sized city you can still expect to bump into your friends – it’s always nice to know that you know people!
– Making friends is easier than in larger cities and seeing familiar faces is more frequent than in large cities.
Tips on Where to Study Abroad
Choose to study abroad in a small city if you are wary of culture shock and missing your friends. In a small city you won’t feel lost – you’ll always have a sense of community. You’ll get to know your host city quickly and adjust quickly. You are much more likely to see familiar faces – in your favorite café, you favorite restaurant, in the local shops, etc. Seeing familiar faces and knowing that the people in your favorite places “know” you too can be both comforting and supportive when you abroad studying. Getting to know locals also tends to be easier in smaller cities – a great advantage if your study abroad goals include learning a foreign language and its culture.
Study abroad in a large city if it offers more of what you want – internships, business studies, art, theater, music, a front-row seat to the political events of your host country, etc. If you’re really independent and want to get lost in the crowd and explore, a big city might be for you.
Medium cities offer the best of both worlds. Adjusting to your new environment, feeling comfortable in it, and meeting new friends is easier than in large cities – and so is getting around. You won’t feel lost, will still have plenty to do, and can explore on your own when you wish.