We’ve all heard about the purported advantages of study-abroad programs, the most essential of which is the chance for personal growth. Proponents are often dubious about specifically what they mean in this regard, but growth is generally said to be symbolized by a broadening of standpoint, considerable adaptability and confidence, and enhanced compassion. Along with having the opportunity to formulate international networks and enhance language skills, study-abroad students are set on the road to evolving into “global citizens.”
In many, if not most cases, students do have encouraging experiences. Having said that, studying abroad also has some unfavourable aspects, which if not taken care of might become the deadliest sins of your educational journey. Here are the seven deadly sins that you should avoid at any cost.
Without too much action, students can discover courses with the least requirements and jagged schedules, often taught by stringers and moonlighters. From a purely academic standpoint, the quality of some courses in study abroad may be less than that at home. Sure, there are outstanding universities in other parts of the world that offer rich study-abroad opportunities. But proprietary programs, set up and staffed by universities, and programs arranged by third-party providers, which bandage students from various universities in a foreign destination, are a mixed bag. It doesn’t help that many students have quite a few other things on their minds than academics.
The lowest drinking age in foreign countries is commonly lower (in most of Europe 18, or 16 for beer and wine) or nonexistent (in parts of Africa and Asia), and many drinking organizations have yet to relinquish happy hours (often lasting until 10 or 11 p.m.), ladies nights or “open pores” for a set price. So some students spend a decent amount of time throwing away what should be one of the highlights of their undergraduate careers.
For some students, no study-abroad program would be complete without an “experiential education” element involving sexual activities. Students in such alliances spend much of their nonscheduled hours otherwise engaged, with erratic treks to the door to pick up pizzas than studying.
When not drinking or looking for coupling, some students waste inordinate proportions of time engaged in this “sin”— and the cheaper and tackier the junk bought, the better.
This commonly happens in stand-alone proprietary programs open to students from one institution and led by a professor from that school. If designed well — asking students in the
host country to enrol in classes, scheduling homestays — such programs minimize self-segregation. But too often programs consist of 15 to 20 students, subdivided into three or four subgroups of friends, living and learning in splendid isolation behind a kind of de facto cordon sanitaire. When such students do venture beyond the line, they often do so with other study-abroad students in similar programs from similar schools, further insulating themselves from interaction with residents.
Smartphones are bliss that can easily be turned into a nightmare. When students have smartphones with robust calling plans, they might as well stay at Indian universities. Some spectators have referred to this as the FOMO Syndrome: Fear of missing out on activities back home tethers them to texting with people thousands of miles away rather than engaging with those on the scene. How true this is, you decide.
Fingers in noses, tongues out, pants down, you name it — improper selfies are taken at outlets varying from ancient ruins to modern-day holy places.
No doubt, these are sins that can be easily avoided with a better approach. At the Kursk State Medical University, fun is allowed but not at the cost of education. We understand the value of an educated and smart society and we make our students in such a way that they can tackle all these sins with pure dedication.