These are the best countries to study (and travel) abroad

South African students who choose to complete their studies abroad stand to benefit from global skills training and development, with the added advantage of being able to travel in and around some of the world’s largest international learning centres.

Divan Viljoen, Flight Centre Youth & Adventure Campaign Manager, says students who qualify abroad have better global employment prospects but are also using their time abroad to widen their horizons and experience new cultures and destinations.

 Emmeline de Chazal, Deputy Editor at EduConnect, says the US is a popular choice and that the destination is regarded as the “land of opportunity.” That sentiment is shared by Debbie McHardy, a mother of twin girls and a son, who has just emigrated to Florida in the US to afford her children the advantage of an education that is internationally recognised.

“I had the opportunity to study in the US and the experience and the friendships, not to mention great business contacts, proved invaluable when I returned to South Africa and again, now that we are back in the States,” she said.

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De Chazal said a significant benefit of studying abroad was having her qualification recognised overseas. “It provides an individual with more job opportunities and choice to work in different locations around the world.”

 Germany, France, Norway, Canada and Australia are other popular destinations, she says. “These countries offer free to low-cost tertiary education to all students, regardless of nationality,” de Chazal notes.

South African student, Bradley Coetzer, who matriculated from St Stithians College two years ago, has chosen to study in Germany. After his mother passed away, Coetzer moved to Germany with his girlfriend and her family and applied to study civil engineering as an undergraduate.

Coetzer has managed to travel extensively in Europe during his breaks. “If you study in a European city and earn some extra money in between your studies, the world is your oyster. It is easy to spend a weekend in Barcelona or travel to Italy for a week with your mates,” he reveals.

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 Liza Manoussis, owner and Managing Director of Global Education in Johannesburg, says opportunities exist beyond university qualifications. “I have placed students who want to learn anything from bricklaying and tiling to ethical hacking and artificial intelligence,” she explains.

Manoussis says many of the overseas universities have globally recognised experts in their respective field, some Nobel prize winners.

Furthermore, while some countries allow for work experience after the qualification, in Australia, for example, students can stay on for 18 additional months if they have a work placement. In the UK, students qualify for internships, providing invaluable practical experience. “My oldest placement was a 77-year-old who eventually became a lecturer overseas,” says Manoussis.

 Viljoen says student travel exposes learners to new ideas. “Each and every destination has different cultures and attractions that will shape a student’s worldview, help them mature and adapt to new situations.”

If you are planning to study abroad, consider a pre- or post-course holiday so you can take advantage of being overseas to see destinations you would ordinarily not visit. “For example, Flight Centre can advise on the type of air ticket you would require to make multiple date changes without being penalised, as it is quite possible your plans will change more than once during your stay, says Viljoen.

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“Mexico and Canada are easy to access for students studying in the US and Flight Centre has tailor-made youth and adventure trips that are ideal for those travellers studying in Europe, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The opportunities are limitless. You’ve invested in your future by studying abroad, now invest in your perspective on the world,” he concludes.