The prospects of studying abroad can be thrilling and terrifying for most students. Some people may love the idea of moving to a completely new place where nobody knows anything embarrassing about them whilst some could never think of a life away from home. If you’re feeling both of these things, it’s perfectly normal and you have nothing to worry about.
You’re probably in your junior or senior year and considering your options for post-grad life or you’re a freshman or sophomore trying to plan early. You’ve decided upon a master’s degree abroad. That’s great. Or you’re still undecided which is okay. All you have to remember is being adequately prepared for something new can make a possibly terrifying process into something enjoyable or at the least, less terrifying.
As an Architecture student, you have the option of pursuing a master’s degree locally or internationally. You also have the option of not pursuing one if you don’t want to. So you can stop panicking now. If you have a huge case of wanderlust or trying to catch it, studying abroad can be a good option for you. To help you decide on the course of action that would be better, here are a few things every architecture student must know before applying for masters abroad:
1. Know what exactly you want to do
You’re probably thinking ‘ well….. I want to do a masters abroad’. Great! But that’s only the start. There are so many countries that offer Master’s degree programs for international students so you have to do a lot of research. Find out which countries have the best Master programs for Architecture students and find out which courses they offer. There are over 15 courses of Architecture to master in and you have to know which course would be right for you. Most importantly though, you have to know if you need a master’s degree for your career plans; in the next 5, 10, or 15 years will that degree matter or not?
2. Not all degree programs are the same
Thinking that all degree programs are the same can be a genuine mistake a student can make but it’s one you shouldn’t make. Not every university or degree program will be recognized everywhere. This point falls back to knowing what you want to do long term and finding a suitable degree program. In the USA for instance, a master’s degree program is typically two years long whereas the UK and Australia offer master degree programs for much less. If you hope to work in the US, your employer may not find your one-year degree adequate.
3. Cultural differences and language barriers
It should be no surprise that things will be done differently because you know, it’s a whole different country. Starting from time differences and climate to differences in building and design rules and regulations, a lot of things will be different. School calendars vary too and it’s important to stay up to date with application and admission dates for different countries. Summertime in Turkey is winter in Australia so you keep in mind these differences and don’t miss your application dates.
Adapting to a new place may be overwhelming but a chance to learn a new culture is a great experience.
Different universities have different education systems and so you may be exposed to something different from what you’re used to. Some universities value a lot of class time and group work while others may value less class time so you can have more time to work on your project or thesis individually.
You will learn that as countries have varying cultures and climate and these affect Architecture. This can be challenging as you have to adapt to something new and different but you gain more exposure and experience which helps you improve as an Architect. Many universities offer degree programs in English (If you’re an English speaker then you’re probably hoping for this) but on some occasions, professors may tend to use their native languages. Even on an occasion that they don’t do this during classes sometimes getting your point across may be hard to express sometimes. This can be the worst during your Jury presentation but we’re lucky Architecture is visual so some amazing sketches and models can save you.
4. Expenses of studying abroad
It would be disappointing to go ahead planning to study abroad and later realizing the expenses are much more than you had expected. The rule is to overestimate than to underestimate how much you’d have to spend. Depending on where you reside and the value of your currency against where you’re hoping to go to, studying abroad can be expensive. In certain cases, the degree itself doesn’t cost much but housing and general upkeep expenses are what could break your bank. Luckily, there are so many universities around the world that offer different kinds of scholarships for master’s degree programs in Architecture.
5. Networking and your future career
In as much as school is a great place to provide you with the necessary information to do your job one day, it’s also a good place to network. Your classmates and professors could be your future colleagues or employers. The various clubs you’re involved in or the local cafe you choose to study at are all part of the community and networks you’re creating for yourself.
Don’t just be a bookworm. Network! You’re going to get more exposure and meet possible clients and employers by putting yourself out there
This is essentially valuable when you get started in your career. Architecture isn’t just about creating brilliant designs but about having a good and strong network too. If you have hopes of working in Canada for instance, how helpful will the connections you’d have made in Japan while studying there be?
At the end of it all, like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to studying Masters in Architecture abroad. All you have to do is weigh your options and decide along the path that would take you where you’d love to see yourself in your career down the road.
Information Sources: Quora GoAbroad.com