To study locally or abroad
Published on: Monday, April 26, 2021
By: K Krishnan
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“THE GRASS is always greener on the other side “ is a well known saying. Teenagers today are very well exposed to western life style. 

They see foreign movies, they read stories from the social media and they hear tales from people who have studied or  travelled abroad. They tell you how green the grass is over there. Listen to them, but don’t be influenced by their stories. 

You have studied in Malaysia for the last 12 years. Now that you need to make a choice, you are wondering whether to study locally or abroad. Not many people have the opportunity to choose.  

One way of finding out is by talking to your parents. Do they have the money to send you abroad? Will they be able to send all your siblings’ abroad? Do your parents have other reasons for sending you abroad? Are you intending to return and work in Malaysia? There are many things that you should find out from your parents. 

Do not pressure them to sell their business, their house or withdraw their entire savings to send you abroad. 

It is their hard earned money, not yours. After giving you all the money, are they going to live like beggars in Malaysia?  Will this make you happy? 

If your family cannot afford to send you abroad, forget the whole idea. Do not compare with your peers. If they want to go let them go. 

If they have the means, be happy for them. Do not compare yourself with your peers. If you can’t afford to go abroad, accept the truth. Study locally.

What about scholarships 

to study abroad?

If given an opportunity, everyone wants a scholarship to study abroad. However, it is not that easy to get a scholarship to study abroad. 

Looking at the current situation, many multinational companies are cutting down their budget. Those who are giving scholarships opt to give for local studies.  

So, what about for study abroad?  During this Covid -19 epidemic, do not depend too much on obtaining a scholarship. 

What about Study loans? 

With acceptable guarantors, it is possible to get a loan from the bank.  The banks may not give the full amount that you need. They may offer 70 per cent of what you need. 

However, you need to repay the loan. You do not know how the situation will be in five years time. If the economy keeps weakening and jobs start diminishing, how are you going to repay the loan. 

Before even you start your own life, you are already in debts.  If you fail to repay your loan, you can get “black listed”. 

You may not be able to travel abroad or get another loan in the future.  Think wisely, before you take a loan. You not only get into trouble but also will get your guarantors into trouble.  PTPTN loans given by the government are for study locally. 

What options do I have ?

At a time like this, think wisely. Study locally for the moment.  Malaysia is not short of universities or colleges. According to the MQA, there are:-

Public (government institutions)

Universities  - 66

Polytechnics – 36

Colleges – 250

Private (private institutions)

Universities – 83

University Colleges – 43

Institutions – 397

Learn about these universities / colleges / institutions and find out what they offer. They offer a wide range of degrees and diplomas. They also offer Foreign Off-campus programmes in Malaysia. Some offer external degree programs.  Explore all these routes before deciding. 

When is the best time 

to study abroad?

Looking at the condition locally and abroad, be safe and healthy. Stay near to your family and loved ones. Study locally for the moment. You can even work and study at the same time. Save some money for your future. Complete your first degree locally.

If you are really keen to experience studying in a foreign country, do your second degree in a foreign country. You can even do your Ph. Overseas. 

With a little saving of your own and with some “crowd” funding, you can experience the joy of studying in a foreign country. Many foreign universities offer full / partial tuition waivers. Make use of these offers when the time comes. 

Career Tips

You are not being discouraged from studying abroad. The majority of students cannot afford to study abroad. They must face reality. They must know the opportunities they have in their hands.  

However, those who have the means can go as they please. Good Luck. 

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