If you’re an international student interested in studying at a US college, but hesitant about the cost and idea of living so far from home, you should consider earning an online degree. This option can take out the stress of traveling abroad while still enabling you to obtain a degree from an accredited US school.
Of course, as with anything, there are some disadvantages to getting an online degree so you’ll want to take a look at both the pros and the cons before making your final decision.
A US Education Without Travel Expenses
Attending a US college is the dream of many international students, especially those who wish to eventually live and work in this country. But it’s not always possible to get here.
The travel expenses alone can be tough on many college hopefuls, and then there is the expense of actually living in the US for a few years. International students who come to this country also have to deal with the process of getting a student visa and then possibly becoming homesick shortly after arriving.
If traveling to the US for school intimidates you, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on the US education you desire. You can simply earn an online degree from a US school. And if you were looking forward to studying abroad, you can always study online for now and then transfer to the actual campus in a year or two, once you’re ready.
Many American college students decide to take classes online because of the flexibility. This arrangement allows them to work, since taking on-campus classes can make it difficult to juggle a full-time or even part-time job.
International students can benefit from this, too, probably even more so than American students. After all, when you don’t have access to many financial aid options, and you aren’t eligible for in-state tuition, college can be pretty expensive.
So if you’re worrying about how you are going to pay for the US school you want to attend, consider getting an online degree that allows you the flexibility to work. This is likely much easier than trying to find a job in the US as an international student on a student visa.
Possible Language Barrier
The course material will be in English, and this could be an issue for some international students. After all, when you take a class online, you are expected to read a lot of material on your own and watch videos in which American professors speak. If you’re not fluent in English, this could prove a struggle for you.
Even if you are semi-fluent in this language, some of the English idioms and slang you hear might surprise you, making instructions difficult to understand. You would have the same problem if you were to attend a US school in-person, but when you’re working on an online degree, you don’t have as much access to international student centers, tutors and fellow American students who can help you with your English.
If your English is still very limited, you might consider taking classes that teach you the language before attempting to earn an online degree from a US school. This way, you won’t have a language barrier to contend with as you try to learn literature, science, and other subjects.
Not the Full College Experience
If you just want to get a college degree as soon as possible, studying online is probably the best way to go. But if you are looking forward to the whole college experience, getting a degree online may be disappointing.
When you travel to the US to study, you get to experience a whole new culture while improving your English skills. In addition, you have the chance to make friends with both American students and other international students. You might even take up a sport or join a fraternity or sorority.
You don’t have those options when you get an online degree. That’s why you should think about your goals before you decide which path to take.
If you just want a college degree from a US school without having to travel, and you cannot afford to quit your job, studying online may be right for you. But if you want new experiences along with your degree, attending a campus in the US may be the better option.