Is studying overseas and at the same time spending so much money worth it?

It is an understood perception in the Malaysian society that studying overseas is something “very important” in securing a bright and high-paying future, career wise.

How far is this true?

Here are some of my observations from my time in Australia.

It’s my fifth year of being here now. I started with a dual degree of Law (Gosh, how I miss telling people that I’m doing Law. Hehe.) and Commerce (Accounting). I’ve since dropped law and focusing on accounting alone. Planning to get back to Law later on though. Maybe part-time, after I’ve settled down and everything.

Anyway, back to my observations πŸ˜›

For the past 4 years, I’ve noticed some really interesting things. What are they? Well, quite a number of classes are being facilitated/tutored/lectured by non-Australians. This is especially true in the business school but not so much in the law school, or perhaps other faculties for that matter. So, this post relates only to the business school.

Well, my question is this. I paid so much money to study in Australia, to be taught by Australians, but why am I being taught by non-Aussies? The purpose of my being here is to gain the perspective, knowledge, and perhaps technology from Australians, and bring them all back to my home country. Now, being taught by non-Aussies defeats the whole purpose don’t you think? Especially if you consider that I have paid thousands of Aussie dollars for that one purpose. Also, unfortunately, some of them can’t speak English very well (my English is not that great either but well, I’m not a tutor!). I once had a tutor whom I can’t even comprehend what she was babbling about.

On top of that, some don’t even have the qualifications yet. Some are still doing their honours year, masters, PhDs. Not to mention the absolute abundance of horrid accents we have to make ourselves familiar with. But to be honest with you, I don’t really care about paper qualifications. What’s important to me is that if you want to teach others, having real-life experience and the ability to apply the knowledge in real world scenarios are very important (I believe that this is true for business schools). For example, if you were teaching the subject of investment in uni and you yourself don’t have any experience whatsoever, how are you going to educate others? Theory and practical experience in this case are two totally distinct matter.

True enough, these folks were trained in Australia themselves and they are brilliant. Very very brilliant indeed. No doubt about that. I’m not questioning their brilliance, if you were wondering. But, if I wanted non-Aussies, say Malaysians, Egyptians, Singaporeans, Bruneians, or Chinese to teach me, then I might as well have stayed back in Malaysia. Teachers and trainers in Malaysia are just as good. They were also trained overseas. Their alma mater ranges from UK, Australia, US, Russia, Germany, and etc.

So, of course, I’d very much prefer if I was taught by Aussies. Now, bear in mind that Australians are a diverse bunch. There are caucasians, blacks, chinese, indians, latin americans, and etc. So, when I say Aussies, I meant born and bred here (or perhaps grew up here).

A number of semesters ago, I took Introduction to Marketing. There were two lectures coordinating the course (one Aussie and another non-Aussie). My gaaawwwddd… I thought, being an expert in Marketing and all, y’all would be able to make the class more interesting! Boy oh boy was I wrong.

So, what do you think? Do you think your money is well spent by studying overseas?

Why am I still here then? Well, there’s always two sides to a story.

The thing about education is that it spans beyond attending universities. The experience of living here is itself a form of education. By virtue of observation, you can get into their perspective, gain knowledge, and copy their technology. You learn about how daily things are carried out. Things like banking system (My goodness, Malaysia needs to do something about its banking system), postal system, and etc. In fact, talking about banking systems, if Malaysia sends her bank managers to be attached for a few months in Australia, they can learn a lot.

On a personal level, if I was not sent to Australia, I highly doubt that I would delve into the topic of financial freedom at a such an early age. I think, if I was studying in Malaysia, I’d be busy with lepak-ing (if that’s even a word) at Kedai Mamak every single night (not that there’s anything wrong with that πŸ˜› ), playing snooker, do useless things, and etc.

In a way, being sent to Australia sort of… made me grew up… Of course, there are still a lot of growing up left to do but fair to say, I’ve come a long way since high school.

Whatever it is, I am a proponent of studying overseas, not just because of the quality of education it entails, but also because of the horizon-expanding experience if offers. Just that, I wish some of the things could be changed.

P.S. Take note that this may only apply in Australia and not other countries. And as usual, any disagreements or dishing out, scroll a bit down and you’ll see the comments section.


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About nadlique

This blog is about the journey of a 28-year-old Malaysian towards financial freedom. This blog was started back when the blogger was 21 years old. However, his journey towards financial freedom had begun way before that. Materials such as investing, business, entrepreneurship, equities, and real estate are presented. The author also posts his thoughts and observations on life in general.


  1. Australia biggest export is her education industry. Like any good businesses, the priority is to increase the profit(make foreign students pay more) and lower the costs by hiring recent migrants(pay less to foreign workers) to become tutor/lecturers.

    However, I bet you learn the most when you are away from home, away from all the pampering and learn to be independent. Or what the old Chinese adage says “Dipped in the salt water before”.

  2. in my case, worth it or not? I still don’t know. There’s no Malaysian graduates from Moscow Aviation Institute yet, so I can’t tell whether this Russian diplom is good or not for job hunting.

  3. @Boo

    True. But to the extent of sacrificing the quality of education?

    However, it’s also true that I’ve learnt a lot by being alone in a foreign land, away from my comfort zone.


    Job hunting is one thing, but I also think about the sort of knowledge/technology I’ll be bringing back to Malaysia. If the whole purpose of my being here is to learn from a foreign power and instead, I’m being taught by a fellow Malaysian, then what’s the point, right?

  4. Sacrificing the quality of education? Honestly, today I’m still puzzled at how schools/universities churned out so many “Grade A” students. I believed that the universities in Malaysia or Australia only care about making profits, no matter how prestigious they are.
    That’s how we ended up having more “quantity” students rather than “quality” students.

    You might find this story interesting :

    Anyway, don’t worry, when you step out into the real world, your academic report card doesn’t matter anyway. The real world(your bankers) is more interested in your financial statement. πŸ™‚

  5. Yes Boo, they only care about money. They cheat us.

    Nad, your report card doesn’t matter actually. it’s about your exposure and skills. i already more than 2 years in market, work as actuarial exec. what i could see is my average friends (in terms of academic) are doing very well now. some of them earn 5k per month. meanwhile the excellent students still struggling about their job.

    why this can happen? the average students loves pc, mastering programming and database (it’s a optional class in uni, but it’s a ultimate requirement to do well in actuarial field), have lot of friends, enjoy life, being social, good in communication, and have high confidence level. the excellent one only great on paper, just doing very well in academic.

    yes, im a part of the excellent group. i talk based my true experience. sorry if its out of topic.

  6. Talking about quality of education, it also depends on what one means when one talks about quality. Like you said Boo, whether it’s “quality” we’re talking about or “quantity”.

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