Studying abroad

4 excuses that stop you from studying abroad (and how to fight them)

Going for studies abroad is a big step out of the comfort zone. And when something is pushing us out of our comfort zone, we tend to come up with excuses that will keep us in the familiar space.

But we don’t need to be too creative with those excuses – there are already some well-established justifications for giving up on going abroad.

That is why here we talk about 4 most common excuses not to study abroad, and how to actually convert them to 4 “lame” excuses not to study abroad.

Excuse #1: No money

The fact that studying abroad is expensive is one of the most common reasons people don’t consider it. It is also one of the easiest excuses that we give to ourselves.

But actually, there are so many ways to tackle this problem.

First of all, if the lack of money is the only reason stopping you from taking the first step and sending your application, I would encourage you to apply anyway. 

Why? Because if you get accepted, you will have more motivation to find the money to finance your studies than you have now. 

Our brains are trained to solve problems. So if you find yourself in a situation where you got accepted, but you don’t have the money, your brain will start working on finding the potential funding. With a real problem in front of you and the desire to solve it, you might see some new opportunities for making money that you didn’t see before.

Secondly, assuming that you don’t have enough savings, here are some of the ways you can use to make money for your studies:

  • Scholarships: There are different types – based on your academic achievements, professional achievements (e.g. sports, music etc), based on your family income etc. The giver of the scholarship can be: your home university (if it is an exchange program), the university where you are applying to, your country or the country of your target university, private funds, international grants (like Erasmus+). The most important thing to keep in mind about scholarships are deadlines, so make sure you follow on time.
  • Part time jobs: Research what are the options for a part time job in the country where you want to study. What kind of work is allowed with your study visa? Are there any opportunities for work at the university (assisting a research group, being a teaching assistant, student mentor etc)?
  • Fundraising: I’ve seen a couple of successful examples when people from my home country were accepted for top European and US universities, but given the high tuition fees that are incomparable with our living standards, they didn’t have money. So they tried to spread the word about their situation and asked for donations from individuals and companies. And it worked!
  • Industry scholarships: Many companies now offer financial aid to students while they are studying, and give you a job after you complete your studies. Do not be afraid to ask for this type of financial aid, because the company will also benefit from your professional specialization abroad – you will bring international perspective, foreign work practices and a wide connections network.
  • Other: You can work for a year and save money for your studies abroad. You can also work during summer to earn money.

Finally, if you are tight on budget, being flexible about country and program choice will help a lot. There is a program for everyone’s budget, you just have to be open to find it!

Excuse #2: All my friends are here

For this excuse, the famous Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) kicks in and makes a mess in your head.

You already have a well-established life in your city. Your BFF always knows which bar will have live music on Saturday night. You have a friend that knows the best hairdresser/dermatologist/(anything else that you need) in town. And also that one friend that can get ready and meet you in 15 minutes no matter where you are. 

Spending less time with friends from your city is just one of the trade-offs that you have to make in your studies abroad (I wrote about trade-offs here).


With going abroad, your friends circle won’t be shrinking, but expanding. In your studies you will meet more people and gain new friends. And you will connect with them quicker than you imagine now.

Working on maintaining both old and new friendships is a challenging yet exciting task.  But with your new experience abroad, you will have many opportunities for creating new memories. For instance, friends from your home country can come and visit you. Or even better, they also go abroad and then you visit each other!

And from my experience, some of the old friendships that you have might become even stronger.

Excuse #3: I’m scared I won’t like it

You are worried that you won’t fit in, that you won’t find friends, that you will hate your new life and that you will just want to go home. 

And honestly, it is a valid fear.  There is always a risk we won’t like. 

Just as there is a risk that if we don’t go, we will regret it.

I haven’t met anyone who was so disappointed about their experience abroad to regret doing it. But I’ve met people who went on a program abroad, realized that it was not for them, dropped the studies and returned to their home country. And that was perfectly okay! So even if you don’t like it, you can always go back home or find some alternative solutions to change your program or country.

No matter how much you enjoy your studies abroad, it will for sure be one of the most important experiences of your life. You will learn so much from it, and even just for those lessons, it will be worth it.

Excuse #4: I don’t think I will be accepted

This excuse is usually followed (or masked) by:

  • I didn’t start on time
  • My CV is not good enough
  • The application process is complicated
  • I don’t meet all the requirements 
  • etc.

There is one quote that perfectly captures what you should do if these excuses come to your mind:

If you fight you might lose, if you don’t you have already lost.

Bertolt Brecht

Stop being your own admission committee and giving yourself rejections. 

Instead, focus on the things that are in your power and control, like your skills, your preparation and your application. If you want to make your application stand out, make sure to check this guide here.

And remember, giving up in advance is the worst thing you can do.

Which excuse is blocking you from going to study abroad? Let me know in the comments. 🙂 


  • Maria

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I can relate to what you are writing! Also, your free guide really helped me!

    To answer your question, what my excuse is that I don’t think I have good enough grades.

    Looking forward to zour next post!

    • Maja Stamenkovic

      Thank you so much Maria, I’m glad that the guide helped you! 🙂

      I hear so often that people are worried that their grades are not good enough, but in reality, grades are only one part of your application. Internships, volunteering, work on practical projects… there are many ways to gain different experiences that are so valuable when applying for studies abroad. And in most cases, they are way more important than your GPA! 🙂

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