There are many benefits to studying abroad including developing personal skills and creating lifelong memories and connections.
Studying abroad can be a challenging, but also rewarding experience. By doing your research and preparing properly, you can make the most of your time abroad and gain valuable skills and insights that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
In this article, we will discuss some of the processes that one should follow should one wish to study abroad after high school. We will also look at how to prepare your application when applying to international universities.
Applying to International Universities
If you're considering studying abroad, the first step is to research universities that align with your academic and career goals. Consider factors such as location, language, culture, course offerings and intended career paths.
Every country and tertiary institution has different entry requirements and timelines, so it is important to research these requirements to ensure that you can work towards meeting them. Make sure that your high school is internationally accredited and that your subjects are aligned with your career path.
Once you have determined the requirements and timelines, the next step is to start the application process. This usually involves filling out an application form, submitting transcripts and test scores, writing a personal statement, and providing letters of recommendation.
Applying to international universities often requires preparation and advanced planning. You'll need to gather a lot of documentation for your application so start gathering these materials early.
The application process can be time-consuming, but it is important to provide as much information as possible to give yourself the best chance of being accepted.
How to prepare when considering studying abroad
In addition to the entry requirements and application process, there are other important things to consider when planning to study abroad.
Finances are a crucial aspect to consider when applying to international universities. The cost of studying abroad can include tuition fees, living expenses, transportation, health insurance and more.
To cover the expenses, you can explore different funding options such as scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs.
Check with the universities you are applying to, as they may offer financial aid and scholarships specifically for international students. It's also a good idea to look into government financial aid programs in your home country, as well as private organisations that offer scholarships.
It is important to start researching accommodation options early and secure your housing in advance to ensure that you have a place to live when you arrive at your destination.
Here are some common student accommodation options to consider:
- On-campus housing: Many universities offer on-campus housing options such as dormitories, student apartments, or shared housing arrangements. This can be a convenient and affordable option for students, but availability may be limited and you may need to apply early.
- Off-campus housing: You can also look for off-campus housing options such as apartments, rooms for rent, or homestays. This option may offer more flexibility and independence, but you will need to research local rental laws and regulations.
- Homestays: Staying with a local family can provide an immersive cultural experience and a supportive living environment. This option is often more affordable than other options, but availability and cost can vary depending on the location.
- Student housing: Some private organisations offer student housing options specifically for international students. This option can provide a supportive community and a hassle-free living experience.
When researching accommodation options, consider factors such as cost, location, distance to campus, security and the local community.
Language can be a significant factor to consider when studying abroad, as it can impact your ability to communicate, understand course material, and fully participate in the local culture.
Here are some language factors to consider:
- Language proficiency: Most international universities require a certain level of proficiency in the local language or English, so make sure you are aware of the language requirements and take steps to improve your skills if necessary.
- Language courses: Many universities offer language courses to help students improve their proficiency in the local language. Consider enrolling in these courses to enhance your cultural experience and make the transition to life in a new country easier.
- Language immersion: Immerse yourself in the local culture and language by participating in cultural events, meeting local residents, and speaking the language as much as possible. This will help you improve your language skills and adjust to your new environment.
- Language barriers: Be aware that language barriers can impact your ability to communicate, understand course material, and fully participate in the local culture. Be prepared to overcome these barriers and seek support from language tutors, classmates, or language exchange programs.
Familiarising yourself with the culture of the country you will be living in is a key factor in making a successful transition and fully embracing your study abroad experience.
Here are some ways to familiarise yourself with the local culture:
- Research: Before you depart, research the local culture to learn about customs, traditions, social norms, and etiquette. This information can help you prepare for cultural differences and avoid any misunderstandings.
- Engage with local culture: Take advantage of opportunities to engage with the local culture by attending cultural events, visiting museums, trying new foods, and participating in local activities. This can help you understand and appreciate the local culture and make new friends.
- Respect cultural differences: Be respectful of cultural differences and keep an open mind. Remember that what may be considered normal or appropriate in your home country may not be the same in your host country.
- Be open to change: Embrace the new experiences and challenges that come with studying abroad. This can help you develop intercultural competencies, expand your perspective, and enhance your personal growth.
Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. By doing extensive research and being open to new experiences and challenges, you can make the most of your study abroad experience and enhance your personal and professional growth.