( Pros ) and Cons of getting a Master’s Abroad (from an American's perspective) part 1

 I thought I would take a bit of time to make a list of some of the biggest pros and cons I took from my experience of getting a master's degree abroad. Hopefully it will inspire more people to either make the plunge or help them not jump into it blindly. I'm splitting the list into two parts solely because I realised that with my explanations it was getting a bit long. Let me know if there are any more you'd add to the list, or any questions!


+ // The price of the course is lower. This could vary among subjects and qualifications, but for me the cost of one year, non-EU tuition (which is a little more than double the EU student price) in the UK ended up costing the same as one year in the US. The main difference is that the same programme at a similar US school was two years, where mine was only one so technically speaking, it was half-price for the same degree!

+ // It's only a year long. As a follow up on the last point, not only does a one year course help financially, but it truly is less commitment. Even if you realise part of the way into it that living abroad is not for you, you'll come out of it at the end with an extra line on your resume, a wealth of new personal experiences under your belt without having taken too much time away.

+ // You don't have to take the GRE or GMAT I will admit, this was a MAJOR selling point for me. As someone who gets multiple-choice anxiety (yeah, it's a thing. I'm terrible at going with my gut instinct under pressure) and who didn't perform stellar on the ACT or SAT (I did well, but nothing to write home about honestly) even the thought of taking another major standardised test gave me nightmares. Luckily, it doesn't exist in Europe. Instead, your undergrad and high school/college records and achievements are evaluated to see if you make the cut.

+ // They're more lenient with grades to get in. The grading system for universities are different all over the world, but for the UK instead of a GPA they rely on a tiered classification system. Depending on their weighted average, at the completion of their degree they get one of five classifications: First class honours (1st), Upper second class (2:1), Lower second class (2:2), Third class (3), and Ordinary degree (pass). For most master's courses, a 2:1 (around the equivalent of a 3.2 GPA in the US) is required but if you can show dedication to the subject or relevant work experience, they are open to consideration. For example, I feel just short of the requirement but since I could show that my background was slightly unique and I had a dedication to the arts along with an accounting degree, they felt that I would still do well in Arts Management (and they were right!)

+ // Student visas are relatively easy to get. You've got to show that you can support yourself and pay for school (or have a loan or scholarship that will do it for you), and proof that you've been offered a spot. No crazy hoops to jump through, no hidden requirements. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. FedEx it to London (probably the hardest part is filling out the customs sheet!) and you'll receive an answer pretty much as soon as they've got it. They'll send you to do biometrics (fingerprints and a photo for your visa that they don't allow you to smile in so you look like a convict) and you're on your way. I was stressed at the time, but after the most recent experiences I realise what a cake walk it was.

+ // In the arts, there are more opportunities. This was probably the biggest benefit for me, and I didn't realise it until I got here. People are very willing to help out with internships here, and a good word from a professor along with a positive attitude is really all I needed to be able to work closely with the CEO of a prominent producing theatre (hint: there's only one producing theatre in Northern Ireland...). It was truly one of the best experiences I could have asked for. I was given leniency to choose my own projects based on what I wanted to learn (many I chose to do because I had similar assignments in class) and was able to not only see most performances for free, but attend press events and even experience first read-throughs with the cast on any in-house productions (thats how I got to mingle over tea and scones with a couple minor actors from Game of Thrones). Seriously, I can guarantee that I would not have had that experience if I was at a large school in the US by any means, and it was basically handed to me on a silver platter.

+ // It looks good on a resume/CV. Not only is it impressive to be able to say you got your education abroad, but future employers will be impressed that you spent time out of your comfort zone and are able to bring your new worldly view

Stay tuned for part 2, the cons next week.


  1. Great post! I sometimes have to do this too when trying to feel better about my decision to move to Indonesia lol
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

    1. Exactly! I'm done with the master's but I've got to keep reminding myself it was a good decision until someone wants to give me a job :)

  2. Ahhh, I typed up a whole comment but it deleted on me!

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear the Masters degree overseas is fairly priced (I would've thought otherwise since the cost of living seems to be higher) although the thought of getting a Masters is super incredibly intimidating and overwhelming (I'm having enough trouble just finishing off my undergrad degree haha).

    Looking forward to reading about some of the cons though I can't really imagine what they would be besides the cost of living being higher, especially the places to live...

    P.S. I hope you don't mind, I plan on emailing you soon-ish to bug you with some questions about living abroad- I'll keep it short, I promise! :)

    1. Blogger is a jerk, and I apologise on their behalf!

      Cost of living is a difficult one, since it completely depends on how you look at it. If you convert everything in your head to USD its insane, but if you just get in the mindset of whatever currency you'll be living in (and hopefully working in a little too) its actually not bad at all. I'll cover that a bit in the cons, but it wasn't as big of a deal to me as it probably should have been!

      I'm super excited about your email, and I'll try to help as much as I can!