Attending university in a country other than yours is an important decision, as it will mean a change in many aspects of your life. Not only will you be away from your family and friends for long periods of time, but you will also have to get used to and relate to a new culture, and perhaps experience previously unknown climate changes. Next, you will find a dozen questions that anyone interested in moving abroad to pursue university studies has to ask themselves before taking the big step:
- Do I really need to go abroad?
Here is the fundamental question: Is it necessary to study a certain course abroad, when you can do it at any educational institution in your country of origin for less than half the price? What are the benefits that you think you will obtain, taking into account that local universities offer high quality academic programs? Will your parents finance your studies abroad? If your answer is yes, it means that you are ready to take on the challenge of taking your student life “overseas.” The challenges you will face and the knowledge you will acquire will help you become a citizen of the world.
- When do I start the procedures?
There is a saying that goes: “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” After you’ve made the decision to study abroad, make your plans carefully. If you are an undergraduate student and your desire is to do a relevant graduate degree, strive for good grades throughout the course. If you are going to work for a couple of years before opting for an MBA , save enough money and accumulate work experience related to your career, so that later you can focus only on the specialization.
- What course do I choose?
In essence, this is the “million dollar” question, as it will determine your professional future. So take your time, analyze the available options and take into account those areas or subjects in which you have excelled in all your student stages.
- How much will it cost?
The amount of investment in university studies abroad varies according to the type of course selected, its duration, the reputation of the institution and the country where it is located. However, it is possible to review each of the aforementioned aspects online, and do a kind of cost-benefit analysis to make the final decision.
- When should I apply?
Most houses of study around the world carry out two annual admissions processes, one during the spring and one in the winter or fall. These procedures are usually well structured and duly specified on their Web pages, where each candidate must enter and make their application online. There is an interval of two months between the current offer of admission and the start of classes, while the deadline for receiving applications is between four and five months before the start of the academic period, although it varies from one institution to another.
- Is it necessary to take special exams?
You must make sure you meet all the academic requirements to be considered eligible to take the course you want, especially those related to the language. Universities often require scores on English proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. On the other hand, there are also exams such as the GRE or the GMAT, which must be presented if you wish to pursue graduate studies.
- Can I apply for a scholarship?
Each country, institution and even study program has a certain number of scholarships or financial aid for international students; that are awarded by the same university, the government, private organizations and philanthropists. Some of the most popular are the British Commonwealth Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships, and Rhodes Scholarships.
- Will I be able to live on campus?
Most educational institutions around the world offer accommodation to foreign students within their facilities during the first year of the degree. Similarly, universities in the United States also include a meal plan for foreign students, which allows them to pay in advance for all their meals. Carefully review the website of the school of your choice.
- Will I be able to work part time?
This aspect constitutes one of the fundamental reasons why a student accepts or rejects a certain university offer. Countries like the United States require special written permission from institutions to authorize foreign students to work part-time off campus; while in the UK, New Zealand and Australia they can only accept weekly jobs for a pre-defined number of hours when they are in classes, and full time when they are on vacation or at the end of each semester.
- Will I get used to living in another country?
One of the main challenges foreign students face is nostalgia, as they miss the love and affection of their family and friends. However, it is a unique, unrepeatable and unforgettable experience that gives strength, a freer and independent way of thinking, and friendships for life.
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