Your home country may have excellent computer science programs with high placement records. Many of your friends will settle for these programs. There’s no reason not to – we naturally reach for low-hanging fruit. And if the fruit is from a good tree, there’s no reason to climb to the higher branches.
But fruit in higher branches is often of better quality. The process of applying for college abroad may seem expensive and full of hassles at first. However, your efforts will pay off in the end. This applies to many areas of study, but in particular to computer science, a subject that is tied to a very global industry.
Going to college abroad will give you plenty of other advantages in life. You will broaden your horizons and make new friends from another culture. But more importantly, you will gain some valuable skills to prepare you for the unique industry that computer science graduates work in.
Here’s a look at some reasons to study computer science abroad.
To Prepare for a Global Industry
Computer Science students and graduates are constantly using software and hardware that are designed and built by people collaborating across the world. When you study abroad, you develop the skills that will help you work in such a globalized environment.
Note that this is true no matter what career path you choose for yourself – research, a job with a multinational company, or entrepreneurship. After you finish your studies, you may end up working on game development in Japan or in a big-time finance firm in Germany. Wherever you go, you will meet and work with people from all over the world. You may even return to your own country after studies, and end up working with colleagues from across the globe.
You may ask – why is a global industry any different from the one back home? The answer to that is simple. You need to be more culturally aware in a global workplace. You will need to appreciate other perspectives and viewpoints. Rubbing shoulders with students from other cultures abroad will sensitize you to cultural differences, and you’ll fare better in the global tech industry.
For More Choices
When all the world is open before you, you can choose where you want to study computer science based on your needs. A city in a cosmopolitan European metro will offer a different experience from a rural college in the US without big-city distractions.
You can choose an option that fits your budget best as well. A small college like the Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut will offer world-class resources for its undergraduate and graduate degree programs on a more affordable budget than Yale University nearby.
The UK, US and Germany are top choices for computer science education. But you can also look beyond at other off-beat destinations to study computer science, such as NTU in Singapore, KAIST in Korea, or Tsinghua University in China. The greater the cultural gap, the more enriching your study abroad experience could be!
To Be Where the Action Is
If you can study in a country or institution that is pouring a big chunk of its budget into computer science and technology, you will enjoy a thriving and stimulating environment. The University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for instance, spends nearly 80 million dollars a year on engineering research and it’s home to award-winning faculty members who teach everything from natural language processing to databases and algorithms.
Some countries are also more welcoming of tech students. In China, for instance, you gain access to a highly tech-friendly system that is throwing its weight behind blockchain and AI. You get to interact with the droves of freelance tech professionals that flock to Shenzhen for its excellent local Makerspace movement. You can breathe the air of a country that is fast changing in nature from tech-imitation to tech-innovation. Whether you decide to return home after your program is over, or continue to study and work there, you will have learned some valuable lessons.
Universities in the US, UK and Germany are also in the thick of technological advancements and innovation. Besides Oxford, Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League colleges, colleges like ETH Zurich, University of California, Georgia Institute of Tech, Ann Arbor – the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal are all top places to study in the thick of tech developments.
Flexible Study Options
Colleges abroad will often offer flexible options for study, to suit your needs. You may apply for a full-time computer science program abroad or a short-term exchange program. Many programs will allow you to spend a semester or two at a foreign university.
You can also choose a university that is well-known for a specialization that you’re interested in. If you want to gain a deeper knowledge of bioinformatics in the US, for example, you may want to study at one of the institutes that the National Library of Medicine is funding in the area. These include the State University at Buffalo, New York, Rice University and Vanderbilt University.
For Enriching Language Challenges
If you study in a foreign country where other languages are spoken, you will be up against some unique challenges. In a Mexican university, for instance, you can enjoy both English and Spanish-language lessons in computer science. Once your Spanish skills improve, usually by the second semester, you may be confident enough to take regular classes in Spanish and present your assignments in the foreign language. This will open up new cultural and professional worlds for you.
For Out-of-the-Box Learning
On your fieldwork and projects at college abroad, you will find yourself up against issues and perspectives that are very different from what you are used to at home. For instance, if you pick a computer science course in a developing nation, you may find yourself working on social entrepreneurship projects using technology.
The Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, for instance, is home to the country’s first AI hub. Students of Computer Science at the university work on tech-enabled projects for social good in a Mexican context. Grad exchange students and researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology and French institute Inria will help to offer a learning environment focusing on solving peculiarly Mexican problems.
At programs such as these, you will find yourself working in an entirely different context and thinking about issues that are alien to your own native country.
Computer Science is a trending subject that will prepare you for the future. If you have made up your mind to pursue a career in this area, remember that the world is getting smaller. Scholarships and grants are making more programs abroad accessible to students. Why miss an opportunity to learn in a global classroom, when it’s easier than ever before?