Extending your time abroad may be something that’s crossed your mind in theory, but can you imagine your host city or country becoming your new home? I certainly can. Whether to continue your studies, do some extra travelling, explore a relationship, or embark on a new degree or career, you most likely have some option of extending your stay.
I initially extended my studies in Sydney, Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and factors that made it both difficult and undesirable to return home to the United States. Immigration navigation was certainly tricky, as options are very limited at the moment with border closures , but a student visa is always a great option in Australia. I was able to complete my U.S. degree from overseas given the unprecedented global crisis of 2020 to present, and I was able to find work to support myself during my time in Sydney.
I always knew I wanted to do a Masters or PhD program to learn more about my field and potentially widen my career prospects, but I had never considered studying abroad for my entire degree as a full-time international student. Then I came across a program that was everything I wanted and more at an Australian university, and as I said above, a student visa is always a great option. The program I found was unrivalled compared to the programs I was considering in the U.S. in both its compatibility to my preferences and in its significantly lower costs. I applied and was granted admission with an outstanding scholarship package that made it my number one program and I look forward to starting it later this year.
Some people wonder if it was a difficult decision for me to have arrived in Sydney with the expectation to stay for 5 months only to end up extending my stay to 5 years (and hopefully longer), and the answer is not at all! Of course everyone is different, but if you have the adventurer urge (and of course the opportunity/ability) to extend your time abroad, I’d definitely support it! Home to me is where you are not only surrounded by those you love, but in the place where you feel you can be happy long-term and reach your full potential. The bonds that I’ve formed with Sydney and the people I’ve connected with here are undying and I am confident that I will be quite happy and sufficient here in my new city long-term.
If you’re considering extending your studies or stay abroad (whether for 5 days or 5 years), be sure to take an in-depth look into immigration options, your budget, and of course, your studies. Make sure you stay on track to graduation and that you remember studying abroad involves studying! There’s so much more to the experience, of course, but be careful not to fall behind or compromise your degree with too many extensions. Budget generously to allow for unprecedented situations, and keep savings put away for rainy days or a flight ticket home, if needed. Finally, enjoy your time! Studying and living abroad is an amazing experience, and to be able to extend my time doing so has truly been my most fulfilling life experience. Best of luck to anyone else considering emigrating to your host country long-term.