Thousands of colleges around the world offer international students the opportunity for personal, intellectual, and professional development. Deciding whether to pursue studying abroad is a difficult decision for both students and parents. Students are bound to have a flood of questions, all of which should be thoroughly researched before applying for admission to a foreign university.
Studying abroad has always been tied to making bold decisions and expanding a student’s horizons by immersing themself in a different academic, social, and cultural setting. To plan a successful study abroad experience, let’s look at the four fundamental aspects of the journey to keep in mind before applying abroad:
Where and What to Study
The beginning of most study abroad journeys begin with selecting which country to study in. The main destination countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia – each have unique benefits and opportunities. A student should set aside time to discover what each of the locations have to offer, their visa programs, and work opportunities.
The next step is to create a short list of higher education institutions based on their interests, profile, grades, test scores, and other factors. Not all schools offer the same opportunities. The student will also need to consider what types of schools are a good fit for their career goals and which ones offer financial support or scholarships. They should also keep in mind the location, reputation, culture, and the type of work placements as well. A qualified counsellor should be able to guide and assist the student in the shortlisting process. There are great EdTech platforms to keep on your radar that were built to help simplify the study abroad process and were designed to help international students discover, match, and apply to schools.
It’s important for a student to begin planning for their study abroad process as soon as possible and work diligently to achieve their study abroad goals. There are many aspects involved with the application including the study visa application that requires detailed planning. An education is an important stepping stone to a successful future profession and it is always a good idea to begin early to map out all the necessary steps.
Budget and Scholarships
For any major life milestone, it's always a good idea to have a rough estimate of how much you're willing to spend. In many nations, the financial commitments to higher education have risen over the last decade and unfortunately, financial access to education is a common barrier to entry that many students face. Recently, ApplyBoard’s 2021 trends report on international education uncovered how international students are seeking lower tuition prices more than ever before.
It’s important to keep in mind the scholarship opportunities, bursaries and student loans that are applicable for each program and school. Many colleges provide overseas scholarships to students based on a variety of aspects including financial need, academic performance, and more. It is essential to research these scholarship opportunities and the everyday cost of living expenses in the country you plan on studying in.
Managing Other Finances
While studying abroad, an international student must also keep in mind the cost of living in a new country. To help mitigate the stress that comes along with being an international student, it’s important to plan for the various costs involved such as rent, cell phone bills, groceries, transportation, health, and insurance. It’s important to note that the cost of living is not the same for every country. There are many online tools and reports that can be found that delve into these numbers so that students aren’t caught off guard when they move to their new location.
Many international students also plan to secure part-time employment during school to help them to manage all their expenses. Many of whom turn to their school counsellor at the higher education institution to learn more about how to secure these work opportunities.
The bottom line
Studying abroad offers exposure to different cultures, fresh learning methods, a sense of freedom, and strong career options. It’s important to take the time to explore various schools, areas of study and the courses that they offer in-depth. It’s important to begin planning the study abroad journey as an international student early on so that a student has plenty of time to research and make informed decisions.