Hurray you’ve decided to study abroad (or at least have thought about it since you’re reading this post)! Next question is, where to? If you’ve not decided on the location, take some time and go through these 5 steps.
Step 1: Make a list
Let’s start off with a fun activity. List down the countries or cities that you’d love to live in. Give this some thought – it could be the distance from home, culture, cost of living, if you are a travel bug can you travel to nearby countries with minimum costs, and so forth. Remember, the best place for other students might not be right for you. Make your list based on your desire rather than your friend’s.
Step 2: Think about your learning style
Are you a more assignment-driven person or do you prefer taking exams? Does your course require more research or it’s better for you to take up practical or industrial learning? The education system differs for every country. Some have a more structured and focused learning such as in Australia and the United Kingdom while others in America and Canada prefer a more holistic approach.
Can you pick up a language easily or do you thrive with English? Although English is the lingua franca of the world, many countries conduct their programmes in their native language. Take Germany for example; you need to prove your proficiency in the German language before applying to a public university as a majority of the programmes are conducted in German. Taking up a new language is brilliant but it can be extremely difficult. Can you imagine yourself attending lectures in a language you are not familiar with? As a non-native speaker, this will almost certainly affect your academic performance and adaptability in a new country.
Step 3: Do a little Math
This may sound daunting to some but it is definitely essential for you to calculate the cost of studying abroad. Check how much does it cost to study in the countries that you desire. When calculating the cost, remember to always include living expenses such as accommodation, utilities, transportation and etc. You may notice some countries that have little to no tuition fees but the cost of living are higher than many other countries. Here’s a quick reference:
Tips: If the cost of studying in the country you desire is a little out of your budget, you could consider the option of doing a transfer programme where you can save even more while being able to experience living in 2 different countries!
Step 4: Consider the admission and visa requirements
The admission and visa processes vary from country to country. Generally, a university requires student to demonstrate adequate academic performance and languages skills. However, the acceptance rate varies depending on the ranking of the institution and the application competition (number of applicants applying for the same course and intake). Some universities may also have a quota on the number of international students they can accept for certain courses. It may be worthwhile checking out the admission rates and entry criteria of a few universities to give you an idea on your application success rate. Or you can speak to us (nudge nudge wink wink).
Getting passed admission is one stage and visa is another. Visa application depends on a number of factors including your age, educational background, travel history, proof of finances, language proficiency and intended course.
Some countries have restrictions on how long you can remain in the country before and after your studies, and whether you can work during or after your studies. If you’d like to stay to find a job after graduating, do pay careful attention to visa eligibility requirements while you make your decision.
Step 5: Self Visualization
You should have at least narrowed down your study destinations to a maximum of 3 countries by now. In order to pick the winning country, it is best to visualize what is life as an international student in that country. Treat search engines as your best friends. Take YouTube and Reddit for example, you can find plenty of videos and posts shared by current international students about their experiences. Activate your imagination muscles and envision your life between Country 1 or Country 2, and studying in University 1 or University 2. You will probably be more inclined to pick the winner. If you’re still unsure, feel free to reach out to us for help. We will be more than happy to do so! Or you can read our other blog post on Tips on how to choose the right university for you.