Studying abroad is a rewarding experience for most students – getting a high-class education, developing new language skills, exploring a new culture, meeting new friends and acquaintances from around the world – the benefits are many.
But, as much as studying abroad is an exciting and tempting adventure, it also involves a lot of hard work, research and difficult choices. Choosing where and what to study and getting acquainted with application processes for different universities can often feel overwhelming and complicated.
Below is a summary of a few things that may be good to know before making your decision to study abroad.
Choosing study subject
sure what to study. If you’re hesitant to commit to a degree program during your first year abroad, you can opt for individual university courses to get the lay of the land. You can also consider applying for more structured programs like foundation years or language courses.
This will allow you to explore various study subjects and move abroad at the same time. If you later decide to pursue a full degree program, your previous experience may help you decide what degree to pursue. If you already know what and where to study, a gap year may not be necessary. For example, if you’re an exchange student, you may already know what interests you.
Where to study
The next big challenge is choosing where you want to study abroad. This is a tough one, because you have a lot of alternatives. Write down and focus on your top choices, but remember to apply to as many schools as possible. You should be open to many different options, even if you already have a list of the countries or universities you want to study in.
Take to social media or talk to other international students to get a sense of what the country or university is like. Another thing to consider is whether or not you need to apply for a visa in order to study at your university of choice.
Another decision that often comes with studying abroad is whether you attend a public or private university. Both have their different advantages and drawbacks.
Public universities are generally cheaper (especially if you’re looking at European universities). However, there’s a hurdle: if you don’t know the local language, it might be tough to find programs in English. Most undergrad courses are in the country’s official language. Applying as an international student can also be complex. On the upside, at a public university, you’ll soak in the local vibe, studying mainly with folks from the area.
Private universities can cost more, but they offer a more tailored experience for international students. Expect a variety of English programs, creating an international atmosphere. These universities also provide extra support in both the application process and your studies.
The university application process
The application process is one of those things that can make studying abroad feel a bit overwhelming and discouraging. Each school has its unique requirements, possibly differing from those in your home country. It is crucial that you do your research and prepare carefully for each application.
Below is a list of things you should prepare for or have at hand before you start the application process:
- Language requirements
- Personal statements
- Letter of recommendation
- A translated version of your high school transcript
If you want more tips on studying abroad, click here for a more in-depth guide written by a former student!