Why study abroad after 30?

I’m Nana, 31 years old, from Indonesia, and I live in a shared apartment with two other international students here in Sweden. Turns out, everyone in this household is over 30 years old! We chatted about why we chose to study abroad after we turned 30, and here I will share with you their point of view.

An international student from Vietnam in a university library.
//Photo: Ha N.

🌼 Ha N., 32 years old, from Vietnam 🇻🇳

Can you introduce yourself and what’s your background?
Hi, I’m Ha from Vietnam. I will turn 33 this year. Before my masters in Sweden, I was working as a Project Manager at a vehicle manufacturing company in Hanoi. I have been working for around 9 years now. My bachelor background was in Finance and Banking but I actually never worked in that field. I have a huge interest in digitalization and its application in different contexts. I used to work in the hospitality industry and switched to manufacturing in 2022.

Why did you choose to study after 30? 
Studying abroad has always been on my bucket list since I was in high school. I applied for several master programs in the EU in 2020 but wasn’t lucky enough to get it. I made another attempt last year in Sweden and my time just came. My motivation to study after 30 is mainly to advance my career path and to try a new life in a foreign country. Sweden attracted me with its engineering legacy in which it is the homeland of many well-known automotive and machinery manufacturers namely Volvo, Scania, etc. Besides, I’m very interested in the lagom spirit and the Scandinavian lifestyle of Sweden. So that’s why I chose to study in Sweden.

What’s your plan after the study?
My plan after the study is to continue with my career path in the automotive industry either here in Sweden or somewhere else where I can get a good catch. I also want to spend some time traveling around a bit. My next destinations would be Vienna, Lisbon, and Beijing.

Any words to say to people who want to study abroad after 30?
I would say that you should always be focused on your targets. Prioritize them. Visualize them and try hard. Studying abroad is an investment of your money, time and also of your opportunity costs (things that you miss out on when you study abroad. For example, the chance to upgrade your career or raise your salary or moments you can spend with your beloved ones). However, don’t feel too stressed about it. Take your time, and the best things will come.

A Kenyan international student stands in front of a picturesque mountain landscape dotted with houses.
//Photo: Faridah M.

🌷 Faridah Mutuku, 32 years old, from Kenya 🇰🇪

Can you introduce yourself and what’s your background?
My name is Faridah Mutuku from Kenya. My academic background is in engineering and I have a professional background in tax administration and project coordination. I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Engineering Management at Jonkoping International Business School.

Why did you choose to study abroad after 30?
The main reason I chose to study after my 30s is for personal development. After gaining some work experience and having a supervisory role, I felt more prepared and motivated to further my education and gain in-depth knowledge and skills in leadership and management to enhance my career prospects. 

Secondly, I chose to study abroad to broaden my worldview and immerse myself in different cultures and academic environment where I can gain valuable insights into global issues and perspectives. Another reason is to enhance my resume. A masters from a well-known institute makes you more competitive in the global job market. And lastly, for personal fulfillment where I get to explore new places and cultures.

Any words to say to people who want to study abroad after 30?
The first thing is to explore different countries and universities that offer the masters in your field. The major things to consider are the language, cost of living, visa requirements, and reputation of the institute. Find a support system including family, university advisors, and friends to guide you and encourage you throughout your study abroad. 

As an international student, be prepared to adapt to a new culture, rigorous graduate-level study, and different ways of life. For example, coming from a society where it is normal and respectful to say hello and engage in small talk with anyone even on public transport, it was an adjustment in Sweden where everyone minds their own business. Lastly, keep an open mind and be willing to embrace new experiences and challenges.

GIF By Happy Place

So, who says fun happens only when you are in your twenties? For me personally, the decision to study after my thirties is the best I’ve ever taken. I came to Sweden with a quench for eye-opening experiences, embracing the richness of life with a newfound perspective. And oh, what a journey it has been!


Written by Nana

30 Apr 2024