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Studying abroad: professional advantages for the aspiring academic

If research and academia appeal to you, studying abroad could very well be one of the best investments you can make. In today’s academic world, where tenure and other research positions are dwindling, completing a graduate program abroad may very well give you the advantage needed to succeed. So, why can studying abroad be so beneficial?   

  • Studying with the greats: one aspect of studying hasn’t changed in over a millennium: one can become a better professional by training at the feat of the greats. These are often found in leading academic institutions. A major reason to attend a school abroad is to benefit from the knowledge and experience of leading figures in your field. So, identify the masters and the schools they’re teaching at, even if they are not located in major metropolitan centers.
  • Publish or perish: importantly, this axiom of academia hides another important fact - that there are considerably more articles and manuscripts written than there are publishing venues available. Hence, having great ideas, in-depth research and a magical pen to convey them all fluidly and succinctly, are not always sufficient. Being physically in a leading academic institution can significantly increase your chances of having your manuscript published. Especially if you come from a country where the academic institutions are less known, this can make the difference between publishing in a good journal and getting an academic job, and not publishing at all.
  • Being part of the scene:  as in many other walks of life, who you know is often as important as what you know. If a large percentage of conferences in your chosen profession is held in a certain country, you better plan to be there in order to get ahead in the game. So, analyze, perhaps with the help of GradTrain coaches, who the leading professors are in your field, where conferences are held and who finances them. It is one of the best ways to create opportunities, and be in a position to benefit from them.
  • The multi-disciplinary world: the advantages of attending graduate schools abroad are greater when you consider that academia has been shifting toward multi-disciplinary research and approaches. Later on, this experience can be crucial, when academic institutions evaluate your potential contribution to their departments. For instance, many research grants today favor multi-national and multi-disciplinary research groups.  Hence, the contacts created, lasting long in to the future, can prove most beneficial. The more academic contacts and collaborations you have, the greater your chances are to win these grants, and the greater your appeal is to potential academic employers.

If you still need an incentive and are not completely convinced about the merits of studying abroad, in this list you can check out famous and successful individuals who did just that, such as the South Korean rapper PSY and former US president Bill Clinton.

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