May 23, 2024

To be or not to be… an international student

Anastasia Kulikova in Sydney, Australia

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November 3, 2022. 40th anniversary of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). AIYEP is a program supporting social, professional and cultural exchange of young people from Indonesia and Australia.

Picture by: DFAT | Flickr

When a young person opens the door to their classroom abroad, they also open paths to many adventures and opportunities that can get them ahead – in education, work and life.

Here are some reasons why I think being an international student is a great idea.

Studying in a different country gives you a broader perspective on the world. It helps students discover different cultures and the diversity of people’s lives.

They learn to create a better life for themselves and the environment while making the best out of any situation. They can obtain a deeper understanding of global issues with more tolerance and access solutions to problems that can be integrated from one part of the world to the other.

For those who would like to learn a new language, it is a great opportunity because you not only talk with native speakers and hear their accents, but you also study in their language. It’s difficult to begin with but as time passes, you will become more fluent and even start to think in that language.

As an international student who has gone to schools in three different countries – Russia (in my hometown of Saint-Petersburg), Sri Lanka and Australia – I can affirm that it gets easier when you begin to understand the language, which in my case was English.

Learning to adapt to new situations can improve confidence which is helpful for the future.

It is always hard to face difficulties in a place where everything seems new and confusing but people can ask each other for help – all it takes is to fight the shyness inside. For example, my grandmother doesn’t speak any English, but when she visits us overseas she finds her way by simply asking questions in her native tongue (Russian).

It can be a challenge at first to interact with classmates as they are complete strangers and you may not know what to talk with them about. And, when making friends, international students often leave because they move to another country.

Learn more:

New HEPI/Kaplan research shows benefits of studying alongside international students

From my experience, I can confirm that leaving friends is heartbreaking, but maintaining friendships is easier with social media and the internet.

When people study internationally they have the opportunity to make connectionswith other students from all over the world. Such networks can also be invaluable in the future because they could turn into business partnerships or professional connections.

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  • September 19, 2017. The University of Pavia welcomed new students from abroad. | Picture by: Università di Pavia | Flickr

  • Studying internationally is also useful for resumes. After facing the challenge to adapt to a foreign culture, students become more independent and grow in confidence, which will help them during work in the future.

    Employers usually value skills such as resilience, global awareness and flexibility. This enhances students’ chances of getting their dream job.

    If you finish school abroad, it will also help with your college application and getting into a more prestigious university no matter where: in your hometown or in a different country.

    Universities usually like it when students have studied abroad and acquired many skills as a result.

    Travelling is also a nice reason to study abroad (though it can be difficult to overcome challenges with visas and other requirements) as to travel is to experience something new and discover more about yourself.

    When students have free time they can participate in local festivals or traditional events and see how beautiful nature can be in different environments. Take for example my experience of sipping coconuts on the beach almost all year round in Sri Lanka or enjoying the gentle winter in Australia while in my hometown, Saint-Petersburg, the winter is always so harsh.

    Being an international student, attending different schools, seeing other countries and experiencing new environments gives you a lot of opportunities.

    You are able to find what you like and what you are good at, improve yourself and be prepared for the future. You will probably mature a lot quicker because you will develop a sense of responsibility and independence.

    Written by:


    Anastasia Kulikova


    Sydney, Australia

    Born in 2009 in Saint-Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, Anastasia spent a year as a student in Sri Lanka. Then, since December 2023, she has lived in Sydney, Australia.

    In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing musical instruments. She likes to participate in musicals and is fond of traveling.

    Anastasia can fluently speak English and Russian while trying to learn Spanish.

    Edited by:


    Maria Mitko

    Women’s Desk editor

    Warsaw, Poland


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