We’ve all considered studying abroad at some point during our educational journey. Some take the initiative, but others drop the idea early on, mostly because they do not get answers to their questions about studying abroad. If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’re thinking about studying abroad and want to get some answers regarding the same. So, here are your answers to the top seven frequently asked questions about studying abroad.
Can I study abroad?
Anyone can study abroad! Studying abroad is intended to expand your academic curriculum by allowing you to learn a foreign language, understand the same or similar topics through a different cultural lens, and gain insights into the world. The experience of studying abroad is thrilling and opens up new doors in every aspect of your life, but when the time of the brainstorming process comes, your decision-making can narrow down to the matter of affordability, the key to balancing the cost of studying abroad is to remember that a large portion of what you pay is for easy living in an unknown nation. Study abroad institutions will charge you extra to assist you in finding accommodation, enrolling, or even facilitating your visa application. You can make your study abroad experience a lot easier if you take on any or all of these tasks on your own.
When is the right time to study abroad?
Pursuing a master’s or Ph.D. is the most common and favorable time to plan your education abroad. Most countries provide opportunities such as scholarships and free education to international students for their Master’s programs as well as free resources for PhDs. However you can also complete your bachelor’s degree abroad, but when you apply for a master’s it becomes easier for you to get into the desired university, by the time you are grown up. It could be safe to say that you might have a little bit of academic and work experience which you might have gained after your bachelor’s degree via internship or so. As well as by the time of a master’s you gain a thorough insight of what you actually want your career to look like.
Also, something you might not know is that to study abroad, you do not have to apply for a whole degree program. Studying abroad through your native university for a semester or two is possible. If you choose this option, you’ll just have to figure out how studying abroad fits into your academic schedule and course requirements, as well as your personal and professional obligations. You can also definitely go for student exchange programs or to study foreign languages in your native country. There are many options.
How to choose the country?
You might be surprised to learn that a certain nation is better renowned than another for a specific program of study. For instance, Germany is widely known for its Master’s programs in engineering and information technology, whereas France is well known for its educational programs in fashion and design. Similarly, almost every country has a stronghold on courses that it can provide more efficiently than others. Now, based on your needs and educational interests, you must decide which country will provide you with the finest education within your budget. Here is a list of countries/cities and their educational specialties for students.
|Education Program||Cities/ Countries|
|English & Literature||Santiago, Oxford, Paris, Saint Petersburg, Dublin, Edinburgh.|
|Medicine & Public Health||Denmark, South Africa, Ghana, Thailand, India.|
|Business & Finance||London, New York City, Hong Kong, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo.|
|History||Athens, Jerusalem, Cusco, Istanbul, Moscow.|
|Culinary Arts||Tokyo, Casablanca, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Hong Kong.|
|Engineering & Technology||Singapore, San Francisco, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, Lisbon.|
|Fashion and Design||London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, New York.|
|Politics & Law||Brussels, Geneva, New York City.|
|Visual Arts||Florence, Paris, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago.|
|Performing Arts & Music||Nashville, London, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Berlin.|
If you are more inclined towards the cost of education abroad, you can also choose countries that provide free education by not charging tuition fees, such as Germany, Norway, etc. They provide free education even to international students through their public universities. Whereas the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Singapore are some of the countries with the highest tuition costs. One option to pay for your education is via student loans, but many students later regret making this choice, and in the US, for instance, you are still required to repay the money even if you leave university or don’t graduate. Do check each and every aspect of the country’s terms and conditions before applying to it.
How to choose the course?
If you have already completed your Bachelor’s degree, you may have a clear idea of what you want to do next, or you may continue with the same field of study in which you completed your Bachelor’s degree. However, even if you know what field of education would be best for you, there are just too many possibilities such as diploma, MBA, certification courses, and so on. During such circumstances, limit your choices based on the following criteria:
- Almost every course will require you to have some previous academic qualification background. So sit down and consider the options available to you based on your educational background.
- It is generally best to select a study area in which you are interested. So, take your time and determine where your interests lie. This will be useful as you continue to master new talents. This will assist you in making better decisions and selecting what is best for you.
- When picking what to study, knowing how much a course will cost and how much you can afford to spend on your education are crucial elements.
- Check to see whether there are any government or institute-level scholarships available for your program. If you are successful in obtaining one, it will significantly reduce the cost of your courses. Your selected degree should lead you to a career you’ll enjoy, but first, you must define what you’re looking for.
Develop language skills:
It is highly recommended that you study the native language of the country you choose whose primary language is not English but their own. Many colleges that offer free education need you to speak their language as one of the prerequisites for admission. For example, in order to study for free in Germany, you must obtain at least three levels of German language certification, i.e. up to B1 level. Even if you intend to enrol in an English institution, knowing the native language of the nation you’re visiting makes it so much easier. When you know their language, you have a better chance of gaining benefits and are less likely to be tricked in an unknown country.
Where to seek help?
When you are about to take such a big leap in your life, everyone around you seems to have advice or an opinion for you. This puts you in a position where you don’t know how to take your next steps. You might seek overseas study counsel at such times. There are many counseling services available; one such solution provider is the International Development Program (IDP), an international consultancy firm that partly owns the IELTS exam. They also look over placements in English-speaking nations. Similarly, Non-English speaking nations mostly establish an in-house consultancy/support organization to assist and guide international students in obtaining educational facilities from their countries. These nations also set up their organization in various countries for easy reachability. DAAD, for example, is the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation. The DAAD’s other responsibilities also include granting scholarships and promoting the internationalization activities of German universities and research organizations. If you have a country set in your mind to pursue higher education in, you can research such a similar organization set up by the nation and can seek help from them.
What documents will you need?
Before you start your process of studying abroad, you’ll need to gather some important documents. If you’re not sure what you need, or why you need it, here is a list of documents no matter which international school/university you choose, you would have to tick them off the list.
- Application Form: This is the most crucial document, as it contains all of your personal and professional information. An application form must be carefully filled out with accurate information. Make sure to double-check everything to avoid any last-minute mistakes!
- International Student Identification card: An ISIC is a type of card that acts as proof of full-time student status to its owners, as well as the students, who can avail of plenty of discounts via these cards such as for hotels, flights, trains, restaurants, etc. You can apply for this card by simply visiting the ISIC website and by selecting your country and filling out your details.
- Travel documents: This is an absolute no-brainer, a valid passport, the appropriate visa i.e student visa, and an international student ID card are a must.
- Statement of Purpose (SOP): The most crucial part of your application, this essay will primarily discuss your background, the reasons you chose to enroll in the program at the said university, and your professional aspirations. Spend a lot of time creating your SOP essay because it will make your application stand out from the hundreds of others and also since the admissions committee and authorities will carefully review it. You can attach your SOP with the Application form.
- Academic transcripts and certificates: These are your academic records, which resemble mark sheets with cumulative grades. Also, it will include all of the courses you’ve completed along with your grades, credits, and degrees attained. They will contain copies of your test results, grades, diplomas, and credits. They are a requirement for enrollment at any university abroad.
- Entrance exams: Sometimes it’s compulsory for international students to provide confirmation of their English language proficiency. IELTS is the most widely used test for this; some universities may also accept TOEFL or PTE. If you’re applying to undergraduate programs, it’s also conceivable that you’ll have to take the SAT or ACT. Many colleges will ask you to take additional exams, such as the GRE or GMAT if you intend to apply for a master’s degree. Make sure you have your test results on hand if you’re submitting an application to a program that requires them.
- Letter of Recommendation (LOR): A letter of recommendation (LOR) is an academic letter of reference written by your professors or supervisors that discusses your talents, achievements, experience, and contribution to your college or professional organization. This letter allows the admissions committee of the University you are applying to, to learn about your life achievements and make an informed decision about your admission.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: A CV or resume will provide a complete overview of your academic and professional history. Make sure to include all of your degrees, certificates, internships, and relevant professional experience.
- Passport size photos: Make sure you have current passport-sized photos in ample. Have the photo taken in multiple backgrounds, especially with white background.
- Photo ID: You will be required to provide a photo ID to publish any documents. It could be your PAN card, voter ID, or anything else preferably providing proof of your residency.
- Work experience documents: Most universities need internships or a few years of job experience if you are pursuing a bachelor’s or post-graduate degree. Collect certificates that confirm your experience from the institution you worked for.
- Financial documents: This contains your student loan document (as proof of finances and a liability statement), scholarship letter, sponsorship proof, and so on. Financial proof indicates whether or not you as a student will be able to support yourself during your stay while paying tuition. You may also be required to submit proof of your own or your family’s income if they are paying for your education.
- Health certificates: Several countries have their own health regulations that must be followed. Obtaining health insurance cards and having health records is compulsory in order to stay there. You need to keep your medical report and most recent medical checkup report along with you.
- Travel Insurance: This is not compulsory but Travel Insurance is highly recommended. Although your already existing health insurance provider may cover you abroad, there are a few things that travel insurance will cover that your general health insurance will not, like delayed or canceled flight cover, luggage misplaced or personal belongings stolen cover, emergency evacuation during a health emergency or natural disaster, etc.
While studying abroad can be an excellent way to develop new skills and experiences, it can also be demanding and intimidating. If you have retained all the information provided, you are now all set to make your plans come true. All the best!