Gen Z Studying Abroad
Updated: Mar 26
When I decided to go studying abroad to finish high school in Canada. I wanted to meet new people, improve my English and become more independent. It became much more than that. I knew that after this experience I wouldn’t stop. I want to live in many other different countries before choosing which one I was going to spend the rest of my life.
Choosing to study abroad became more common to the Gen Z. We want to have a more authentic experiences with other cultures than we would in a trip. Today, I’m studying abroad in Switzerland at an international university where I’m surrounded by people from around the world. Not only in the classroom, but in my daily life. This connection with people who are so different from me is one of the things that make studying abroad so exciting.
However, the generation z teens have some concerns when choosing to study abroad. Their top worries are related to security, being homesick, cost, and not making friends. This things are present on the mind of most people when choosing the location of their studies. I was also of them these people. I frequently asked myself if it was the right decision.
To help me choose the next step of my academic life I signed up for university presentations held by my high school. There were institutions from all over the world. After the presentations that interested me the most, I searched for more information at the university’s website and social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook to see the school and its students. The Internet was the way I found to not only see what was in the brochures but to have a better view of the student’s lifestyle.
Nowadays, we have access to more information than the past generations and I’m just one more person part of this generation who researches about college and universities online. As we all know, Gen Z does most things online. Looking for extra informations about their future university is not different. According to Forbes, about 69% of Generation Z students find review sites to help them to make college choices and 67% of students look at colleges via social media. Review websites and social media allows us to not only see and hear what the institution wants us to see, but it allows us to see it through other students' point of view about their academics, experiences, and lifestyle. These key factors are very important to Gen Z when choosing their university. For this reason, it is important for the higher education institutions to have a well- structured website and to be active on social media
The future university students who are now part of Gen Z look for more than just a great academic curriculum when applying to their higher education institutions. Especially when studying abroad. Choosing a university far from home his different than going to a university near your house. International students often suffer from homesickness because they are far from their oldest friends, and family. For this reason, living and studying abroad isn’t always perfect. There will be always one subject that you don’t like so much, the food is not always your favourite, and somedays you need to study while is sunny outside.
Being in an international institution make all this things easier than just a normal university where international students are accepted. International institutions have more programs to support us. Here in Hotel Institute Montreux, I don’t feel the anxiety of being away from home. Since I arrived I felt welcome by my roommate and classmates. We survived service class together and went out for long walks by the lake. For me having a great group of friends and a course that I like it makes me happy to have chosen to be an international student and most of the time I don’t feel homesick at all.
Besides, the great impact of social factors when choosing to live abroad, the Gen Z has many other preferences when choosing their university abroad. For example, English courses are preferred and the countries who attract the most students are England, United States and Australia. These English speaking countries are followed by Western Europe where students prefer to study in schools with English-speaking courses. Moreover, the university reputation and program cost are also in the top of their list.
Where can we find all these things? I believe the correct answer is that there is no place which will have the best price while offering all we need to feel comfortable. However, International academic institutions do offer great accommodations, food, multicultural environment, activities, academics, and English courses anywhere in the world.
I have been to two different international schools. This institutions have allowed me to feel the most comfortable while being away from home. Since I left Brazil, five years ago I have improved my English while learning random words in many languages. I also have explored Europe, gone to restaurants of my friends’ countries where they gave me food to try that alone I would never experience. All this great experiences were possible because of the international environment with a very enthusiastic group of friends who also want to learn and adventure themselves.
Now, I’m almost in the last year of my journey to get my bachelor's degree and starting to be part of the workforce. I still need to conclude more six months of internship. But first, I have to choose my next destination. I want to go somewhere I have always loved traveling to, Spain. There I can experience a new culture that is also part of my family and to finally learn the language. This time when I move again it won’t be as an international student but as a hospitality professional.
Where will I go after that? I’m not sure. There are so many places I haven’t been to before. Far away from home with a culture that doesn’t match mine. I have so many places in mind. Asia or maybe Australia. There is no limit when choosing the destination. Especially when working in the hospitality industry. Maybe in a year from now, I will still be in Spain. I can be back in Switzerland or Canada. No matter what I will be I know that it will be one more great part of an amazing journey.
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Author: Ms Raquel Lombardi, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from Brazil.