By Zach Buckley:
Online education is rapidly becoming aÂ preferred mode of learning for students of various ages and nationalities. Today, students can learn sans teacher, moving through modules at their own pace, allowing for a level of customized education that would have previously not been possible. While online education can prove an effective means of acquiring knowledge for nearly anyone, it has particular benefits for international students. With online classes, students who don’t call America home but still wish to earn a degree from an American-based institution can do so with greater ease.
Prior to the advent and proliferation of online education, students who wished to engage in programs that would allow them toÂ studyÂ abroadÂ were often highly limited. In many cases, they were offered a short list of programs from which to select, forcing them to focus on one of theseÂ prescribed curriculaÂ regardless of how muchÂ another subject interested them.
Today, many schools that offer classes online present students with a sizable list of programs from which to select. The large number of available programs allows the students to choose thoseÂ that really speak to them as learners instead of simply settling forÂ what’sÂ available because they so fervently wish to study abroad.Â American InterContinental University, for example, offers an array of programs ranging from Healthcare Management to Software Analysis and Development, ensuring that a learner can findÂ an academic discipline they’re passionate about.
For an international student, realizing a dream of earning a degree from a U.S.-based institution of higher education can be costly.Â OnlineÂ education can helpÂ reduce theseÂ costs, bringing them down to a more manageable level. Because in most cases students can take online classes from anywhere, even other countries, international students who choose to reap the benefits of online education can take at least some of their coursework from the comfort of theirÂ home, cutting down on the amount of money they’ll expend in travel costs or on lodging.
When international students attempt to learn through the same program as students in the United States, flexibility becomes a major issue. Often these students are doing their learning at different times of the day than theirÂ statesideÂ peers,Â thanks toÂ time zoneÂ differences. With a largely self-paced, online program, these students can fitÂ schoolÂ into their schedules instead of staying up nights or skipping out on other obligations to ensure they’re online during hours that are largely inconvenient to them.
While learning online may seem a highly solitary procedure, in most cases, it isn’t. Though the specifics vary from institution to institution, most online education programs include an element of studentÂ interaction. This may be in the form of exchanging thoughts and ideas via a forum site or even conferencing digitally through a webinar or chat room format.
Programs thatÂ emphasizeÂ this form of communicationÂ amongÂ students offer the added advantage of providing networking opportunities. Students who engage with their peers online begin to form relationships with others who seek employment in the same industry, potentially giving them the opportunity to create relationships with people who will later become movers and shakers in their desired fields. Because they can communicate with these peers regardless of how far away they may be, thanks to the online course format, these students can network more efficiently and rapidly.
With the plethora of digital devices available to students — and students’ continually increasing desire to use them — online learning isÂ boundÂ to continue to grow as a viable means of acquiring education. While an effective way to learn for any student, online programs offer particular benefits to international students, allowing these learners to overcome some of the obstacles standing in their way of earning a credential from an American-based institution of higher education.
Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwestern United States.Â Having graduated from high school in the year 2000, he belongs to the millennial generation.Â Zach holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in communication. Â He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.Â When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food.