We live in an evolving society; one that constantly changes and adapts to new societal norms and technology. As the years go by, we identify more with terms such as equity and equality.
Women rights have been shaped and reformed ever since we can remember, and although women have come a long way, there are still many unspoken laws that women feel they must abide by in order to be accepted in this society.
There is a certain myth that studying abroad is frowned upon in Arab societies, that no matter how smart, strong, or ambitious you are, you can never be on your own.
Newsflash: It’s 2018. Women cook, clean, raise children, and are socially and athletically just as active as men, they provide for their families, and provide for themselves.
So if you are not convinced why women should study abroad, here are 7 reasons they should.
1. It’s more common than you think
One of the main reasons girls avoid pursuing their dreams to study abroad is how “uncommon” it is (at least in the Middle East). While that may seem authentic, it is actually not true. Girls, my sister included, are traveling abroad at a rate of about 1.7 million students per year! Don’t believe me? Well look around, many NIS Alumni studied/are studying abroad, including my sister (Zeina Abulaban at Colombia University), Ms. May Hamid, Ms. Yomna Abdelatif, and others.
2. It IS safe
My parents– and I, of course,– didn’t want my sister to travel abroad because of how “unsafe” we thought it was. However, studying abroad might actually be just as safe as studying in Egypt. Equipped with emergency services and campus police, colleges abroad are the furthest thing from dangerous.
“It amazes me how people think American universities are dangerous. I’m a college sophomore and I’ve never even seen a crime happening on campus.” My sister, Zeina Laban, added.
3. Education there is stronger, and that betters your chances of getting a job.
Let’s face it: education in foreign universities is much better. According to statistics, 97% of all study abroad students land a job within the first 12 months of graduation. In contrast, 30.1% of unemployed Egyptians are university graduates.
4. Tuition fees are definitely affordable and in some countries Free!
Yup, you heard it right. Education abroad is in some places offered for free. Take Germany, for example, 16 German states are FREE for both international and domestic students. Don’t feel like living in Germany, that is alright. You can definitely afford studying in the United States as well. Out of 1293 American universities surveyed, 425 gave need-based financial aid to 40% of international students enrolled; that equates to approximately 1 in every 3 universities! In contrast, private Egyptian universities give very little to no financial aid.
5. Improve your foreign language skills.
While this may sound obvious, not many people know it to be true. Studying abroad is GUARANTEED to improve your foreign language skills, because you will constantly be put in situations where you absolutely must speak in a different language.
6. Learn things you wouldn’t be able to learn in your own country.
There is a a major difference between the experience you gain from living and learning in a different country and from simply travelling abroad. Studying abroad is a totally different experience. You learn to become less ethnocentric and more of a culture relativist, because you start experiencing a new culture instead of witnessing it.
7. Experience the world in its true form.
If you’re a girl that wants to experience what its like to work and study at the same time, studying abroad is an opportunity to make that happen. Its almost impossible to do so in Egypt. Foreign universities, on the other hand, offer students internship opportunities as well as job offers while and after students graduate.