For higher education, let’s look beyond our nation’s borders

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SOME OF the world’s top universities lie within the United States of America. The Ivy League schools of this country are admired by scholars worldwide for the rigorous educations that they provide. Oftentimes, many U.S. high school students fnd themselves applying to these and other American schools. However, many fail to realize that there is a myriad of excellent colleges and universities outside our borders and don’t take advantage of the experiences available in international schools.

The Association of International Educators states that less than two percent of U.S. students in higher education study abroad. A strange fact considering that schools abroad like Cambridge University, Oxford University, and McGill University all operate at a similar academic level to those found here. According to the QS World University Rankings, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks frst in the world, followed by Cambridge and Imperial College London. Likewise, U.S. News and World Report places Harvard University first, with Cambridge and Oxford following as fifth and sixth, respectively. If it’s a question of rankings, schools abroad do just as well.

But rankings aside, there are two factors distinguishing American universities from others: culture and cost. Of the two, the most crucial when applying to college is cost. Tuition fees in the U.S. sometimes reach over $60,000. But this isn’t the case abroad. At Cambridge, for instance, tuition fees are as low as £15,000 ($23,000). At McGill, undergraduate tuition for engineering is around $26,000. At Oxford, undergraduate tuition fees only amount to £22,000 ($34,000). Getting a quality education for almost half the price is an incredible opportunity on which many do not capitalize.

When students enroll in foreign colleges or universities, they benefit culturally too. By studying abroad, students must engage with others who not only speak a different language, but also follow completely different customs, thus exposing them to new and unique experiences while also forcing them to adapt. These sorts of experiences help to expand one’s cultural perspective, which can be an invaluable asset in the future. The advantages of studying abroad are so plentiful when compared to those of studying at universities found in the U.S. Embarking on such an adventure will not only help one become a more independent person, both literally and figuratively, but will also help students avoid the financial trap of expensive U.S. universities and student loans. These invaluable benefits should warrant more students to keep that option open when considering their future.