Pros and Cons to Pursuing a Degree at an International College?

There are thousands of universities around the world that offer courses and programs in English—colleges in English-speaking countries (U.K., Australia, Canada) may have their entire course catalog in English.  If interested, you can choose to study abroad for a summer, semester, year, or obtain a foreign degree. However, many US students are unaware that (1) they can attend almost any college or university in the world and (2) they can receive financial aid from Sallie Mae via Governmental Educational Loans in many of these foreign schools.[1]  

If you are interested in pursuing a whole degree at a foreign college, I’ve written up a list of benefits and detriments that can come with making that step.


  • No Loss of Respect for your Degree.  Some foreign Universities are as respected by employers as their American counterparts (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, École Normale Supérieure, Universität Freiburg). 
  • Lower Competition.  The battle for spots in America’s leading institutions is fierce and deadly.  Conversely, international students competing for positions abroad are far less numerous.  This is not to say that acceptance is assured, but you would likely be competing against fewer other students.
  • Networking Opportunities. If you are interested in a particular area of work or in working with a foreign company, studying abroad under a famous professional in your field or graduating from a university in the location you wish to work in can provide important networking opportunities. 
  • Lower Tuition Fees. Few universities charge their students as much as the U.S. colleges do. And many national governments offer significant subsidies and scholarships to students, regardless of national origin. According to the website for the Universität Freiburg (a reputable German institution), tuition one semester as an undergraduate only costs $200![3]

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