You are looking for a challenging but rewarding postgraduate experience? How about doing your degree in a foreign language? You have two options: studying in a foreign language in your home country (e.g. in English-taught programmes) or doing your Masters abroad.
Completing your Masters in a foreign language will definitely help improve your language and cultural skills. Because of the Bologna Process, the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees awarded by European universities are internationally accepted. Due to globalization and the high degree of mobility among European students, universities have been developing numerous international courses, especially in the postgraduate sector. Enrolling in such a programme in your home country will let you meet people from all over the world and experience an international classroom. Hence studying in a foreign language in your home country will enhance your international awareness.
Another possibility is studying abroad. It might be a ‘cultural shock’ in the beginning, especially if you have never been in the country before and have no knowledge of the language. But during your stay you will see that it is a big opportunity to broaden your horizon and to grow as a person. As a result, studying abroad will make you more independent and self-confident.
Furthermore, during your stay you will improve your soft skills by meeting strangers and finding new friends. You will get to know other cultures and traditions as part of a unique, unforgettable experience. On top of this, talking to native speakers will boost your language proficiency. Do not hesitate to approach native speakers! Imagine a foreigner visiting your home country, trying to talk to you in your mother tongue. Would you laugh at that person? No, you would rather be impressed that someone is trying to learn your language, wouldn’t you?
If you are interested in employment abroad or an international career, a Masters in a foreign language and/or country can be a big plus. Advanced foreign language skills and international experience are beneficial features in any curriculum vitae. They can open many doors for you.
Of course, learning a new language will not be a stroll in the park. But the more your vocabulary develops, the easier it will be to interact with others and to engage in a vibrant conversation. Maybe it will take some time before you will be able to talk fluently, but it will surely be worth the effort. Generally, your fellow students and teachers will be very patient and thoughtful when helping you learn the language. Do not be afraid of talking to them even if you have the feeling that your language skills are inadequate. Remember: practice makes perfect.
All in all, studying in a foreign language is a major challenge and certainly not a good decision for everyone. Keep in mind, no matter which language you choose, it will never be as easy as studying in your native tongue. But there is no reason why you should not give it a try.
However, if you want to improve your language skills and intercultural competences, studying abroad could be just the right thing for you. You should keep in mind the difficulties you will face but not let them discourage you. It will all pay off when you notice that you can speak the language fluently and possibly realize that you have found a new home away from home.
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Masters portal for Germany: www.master-and-more.de
Masters portal for Austria: www.master-and-more.at