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Postgraduate Study Abroad: Can I Study Abroad After Graduation?

Six people sit around a wooden table on the deck of a ship, playing a card game. A wide blue ocean stretches behind them.

Studying abroad during junior year of college — or even earlier — has become the norm among students who wish to take their studies overseas. But it’s certainly not the only time to have a meaningful educational experience in another country.  

Studying abroad after graduation is also an option, one that provides incredible benefits at that. Of course, there are pros and cons to embarking on a study abroad adventure outside of the traditional time frame, but by acknowledging some of the key considerations, you’ll be well informed as you explore post-graduate opportunities. 

Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad After Graduation

Two people sit side-by-side on yellow chairs on the sunny deck of a ship; both are laughing. Smooth blue water, flying seagulls, and distant green hills are visible beyond the ship’s railing.

Typically, college students who study abroad do so while earning credits toward their degree. In other words, studying abroad isn’t a vacation for matriculating students — there is still work to be done! Because recent college graduates don’t have the pressure of a GPA, studying abroad can take on a whole new meaning, albeit with a unique set of pros and cons:

Since you’ve already completed your degree, you have the freedom to choose between an overseas internship, work study, volunteer, research, or service learning opportunities abroad.

Without assignments or school work to think about, you’ll have more time to focus on cultural experiences in your destination.

Education-based study abroad programs often require all participants to contribute to group projects and take part in lessons, but there are fewer academic expectations of non-matriculating travelers.

Studying abroad post-graduation can give you a competitive edge in the job market. Many employers like to see study abroad experiences on resumes, as it indicates curiosity, initiative, and adaptability.

Meeting new people and making connections across the globe can expand your personal and professional network, potentially leading to new career opportunities.

Living temporarily in another country can broaden your perspective in ways that are difficult to replicate with short-term travel.
If you choose to study abroad after graduation, you risk delaying the start of your career, especially if there are job offers already on the table.

Putting home life and prior commitments on hold can cause disruptions to routines, especially if you have children or a partner.

Once you graduate, student loan bills begin to arrive, adding to any existing financial pressure you may feel about taking time off from work.

If you plan to seek work overseas in your field, bear in mind that the degree you just earned might not be recognized abroad.

Depending on your circumstances, making travel preparations while navigating post-grad life can be stressful. 

The cons on this list are not meant to deter you! Rather, they should serve as a reminder of the preparations you’ll need to make to fully enjoy your time abroad and return ready to enter the next phase of your post-graduate life.

How to Study Abroad After Graduation

A crowd of people are gathered in rows on the deck of a ship, learning a dance. Each has one leg raised, bent at the knee; a young man at the front of the crowd raises his arms and smiles at the camera. They are all lit from behind by a setting sun.

Once you decide to study abroad after graduation, it’s time to explore the available options. As a non-matriculating traveler, you have more variety when it comes to the types of study abroad programs to choose from.

  • Internship: This is a short-term, supervised work experience, typically related to your field of study or career goals. You’ll gain practical, hands-on training in a professional setting and potentially apply the theoretical knowledge you gained in college to real-world situations. Since internships are usually temporary, this may be an ideal opportunity to combine work experience with a short-term stay abroad. Be aware that many internships are unpaid, so you’ll need to budget accordingly.
  • Work study: This type of program allows travelers to work part-time jobs while pursuing academic studies. Available jobs are often on a university campus or related to a student’s field of study, though that is not always the case. The income earned from work study positions can help study abroad participants cover some of their educational or travel expenses. Many countries require foreign workers to acquire temporary work visas.
  • Volunteer or service learning: These travel programs involve actively participating in community service or projects that address local needs. Volunteerism offers a form of experiential learning that goes beyond a traditional academic setting, though the experiences are often integrated into the program’s curriculum.
  • Postgraduate study abroad: If you intend to pursue an advanced degree, you may have a chance to travel as part of your studies. Studying abroad at the postgraduate level provides an opportunity to engage with different academic perspectives, cultures, and research environments, and — especially if the destination is relevant to your field — lends invaluable context to your academic studies.

If you’re not sure which type of study abroad to choose, consult an academic advisor at your school or contact the admissions team at any of the programs that interest you. They will be able to answer questions about your situation and offer advice regarding feasibility.

Key Considerations for Studying Abroad

Seven people in white plastic aprons stand around a metal counter covered in cooking utensils and a large, steaming pot of food. Two people hold up a small blue flag that says “Semester at Sea.”

Regardless of your age, studying abroad provides opportunities for unmatched life experiences. Without the pressure of academics, recent college graduates may be able to more fully immerse themselves in the personal growth aspects of studying abroad, including building crucial life skills and forming relationships that may last a lifetime.

If you’re committed to embarking on a study abroad postgraduate program, keep the following in mind as you plan:

  • While traveling after graduation can provide a much-needed breather between school and work, it also puts your next steps on hold. Think about ways you can gain useful experience or build your professional resume during your travels so you can stand out when it’s time to apply for jobs.
  • Finances may be a concern for you as you plan for life after college. Fortunately, there is financial aid available. Browse study abroad scholarships and grants to see if you are eligible for assistance. Alternatively, consider working temporarily overseas to offset some of your costs.
  • If you are already working, discuss the possibility of remote work or taking a leave of absence with your employer. Many workplaces have relaxed their remote work and time off policies following the COVID-19 pandemic, so you may be able to take your work with you.

Although the considerations might be slightly different for post-grad students, studying abroad after college can still be a worthwhile experience that contributes in immeasurable ways to a well-rounded future. Who knows — maybe you’ll find your next opportunity on your study abroad adventure!

Are You Ready to Study Abroad?

Download our guide to essential questions to ask before embarking on your study abroad adventure. 

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