The Question

Imagine that you are graduating from high school and have been offered a complete scholarship at a university that is located in another country, far from your friends and family. Would you accept this offer, or would you try to attend a university closer to home?

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The Sample Essay

       It has become common today to argue that young people should save money by enrolling in universities close to their hometowns.  This view is quite popular nowadays, but it overlooks some critical aspects of education. Personally, my view is that it is better to attend university in a foreign country. 

       First, living abroad for a few years gives us new perspectives and new outlooks on the world.  To put it another way, when we hear the ideas and opinions of people with totally different backgrounds and cultures, we become more flexible and open-minded.  My experience in high school, for instance, demonstrates this.  When I was in grade ten, I was given an opportunity to study abroad in Korea for one semester.  As I got to know my classmates there, I learned about their families and their lifestyles.  Specifically, I learned that students in Korea spend much more time studying than students in Canada do.  While many of my peers back in Canada worked part-time jobs in the evening, none of my classmates in Korea had jobs. Similarly, I noted that few of my classmates had enough free time to pursue their hobbies or play on sports teams, unlike my friends back home.  I had no idea that young people in other parts of the world had lives that were so different from mine.

       Secondly, attending school in another country makes us more independent.  In other words, it helps us learn how to take care of ourselves.  Consider my cousin Albert’s experience at university, for example.  My cousin was always a lazy child.  His parents took care of his needs, so he never really learned basic skills like cooking, driving or even how to do laundry.  As a result, when he graduated from high school I was worried that he might not be able to live independently.  However, for some reason he decided to attend university in Australia.  It was tough at first, but since he was far from his parents, Albert was forced to learn how to cook, how to drive a car and how to clean his own clothes.  In fact, he mastered all of these skills in just a few months.  If Albert had attended school in his hometown, his parents would have continued to take care of him.

       In sum, then, I think that it is always better to study abroad.  While some readers may object that attending college close to home is the best possible choice, I would answer that going abroad teaches us about the world and increases our independence.


This is a sample TOEFL personal preference essay written by a TOEFL expert.  It follows our TOEFL writing templates for independent essays.  If you find it useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to read!



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