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For the last 18 years, you've spent the majority of your time sitting in a classroom or lecture hall, focusing on academics. As grueling and dull as that may have been, you decide to push for just a couple more years of school to pursue a master's degree. At this point, as a young adult in your 20s, a mixture of your curiosity and desire to see the world may inspire you to take your studies abroad.

If you decide to make the move, we can't always guarantee the transition will be easy, but the culture, diversity, and education you will experience are priceless.

A master's at IE Madrid

If the last four years of your undergrad has you calling for a change of scenery, studying in Madrid, Spain might just appeal to your needs. IE offers a variety of master's degree programs which usually take a year to finish and can be studied in either English or Spanish.

The one-year master's programs provide an intense experience that prepare students to multitask and manage their time wisely, says Pilar Vicente, senior associate director of admissions at IE. The diversity in the class'academically, professionally, and culturally'makes the IE experience unique.

Living and studying overseas can be daunting, from the language barrier to the unfamiliar city, but IE strives to support international students with their transition through two resources: The Student Services Office, and Campus Life. The Student Services Office helps students with their transition to Madrid, from providing access to the accommodation database to assisting in visa processes, says Vicente. They also organize The Spanish Intensive Program in which international students have the opportunity to learn Spanish before the program starts. As for extracurricular activity, students can turn to the Campus Life resource, which coordinates and supports more than 60 student-run clubs within the institute and helps students to network outside of these clubs.

Choosing to take your master's at an international school is like preparing for the unknown. As far as your knowledge goes, you'll be studying at IE in Madrid for a year and you'll finish with a master's degree; but everything that happens in between'from the cultural to interactive experiences'will be up to you to determine (and this can be both scary and exhilarating at the same time). When students decide to go abroad to study, they are out of their comfort zone and this adds value to their learning experience, says Vicente.

However, if you're willing enough to widen your horizons, the diversity you'll experience at IE can be beneficial to your future endeavours. This diversity helps the students to be prepared to work in all types of organizations in the future, says Vicente. Consequently, many recruiters prefer to hire students who already have experience in international environments.

Take your studies down under at Central Queensland University

Australia is more than a surf and sightseeing continent. It's also well-known for attracting many international students to its universities. Being a student at Central Queensland University (CQU), Australia means the flexibility to study whenever and wherever you desire, a case proven by many students who are currently studying via distance education from all parts of the globe.

Despite living 9,000 km away and in different time zones, nursing student Zoe Gillan says she enjoys studying at CQU. The study itself is easy, as lectures are recorded and usually available online 24 hours after, she says. My experience has been great. I've enjoyed almost all the courses I've taken and the lecturers have all been fantastic.

Ironically, Gillan is an Australian citizen living in Canada and learning virtually. She's been in Canada since 2009 and decided to apply at CQU because of the institution's reputation for distance learning and being one of the first Australian universities to offer flexible, mix-mode studies. Occasionally, Gillan is required to return to Australia for residential schools and placements, but she uses this time to spend with family and friends.

While distance education is popular at CQU, it also has a number of postgrad programs for international students. Krista Verlis, who studied her undergrad at the University of Waterloo, is a postgrad researcher at the CQU and gained a full scholarship, which made her move to Australia financially viable. I am undertaking my PhD by research looking at the effects of marine debris on Australian seabirds, she says. My study sites are primarily in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the Capricorn-Bunker Group of islands and Swain Reefs, and at certain near-shore locations on the east Australian coastline.

According to the  university's website, CQU prides itself on offering and delivering high-quality degrees through engaging methods in teaching and high-level support both on and off campus. I hope to gain permanent residency when I finish my PhD, as I would very much like to remain in Australia, says Verlis. It's very much a land of opportunity and it's a gorgeous and exciting place to live.

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