Are you a student thinking of studying abroad?
Then this guide is for you.
Studying in a foreign country is thrilling and exciting; however, it can also seem like a herculean task and daunting, fearful even and rightly so, why?
Because it is a totally different place, a change of not just location but an introduction into a totally different way of living, therefore, adequate preparations must be put in place to prepare such an individual for what to equip him/herself with and what to put in place.
The Ultimate Guide to Studying Abroad for Students
Ready to study abroad?
Let’s consider some of those:
- FINDING THE RIGHT SCHOOL
Searching for the right school in the right country can turn out to be a daunting process but the stress can be lessened when your sole aim shifts from just wanting to study abroad to wanting something specific from studying abroad, to guide your search process, you need to ask yourself the following questions;
- What course am I interested in?
- What path of career will I like to pursue?
- What country appeals to me?
- What schools offer the best education in my chosen course?
- What are the requirements of such schools for admission?
- How do I intend to finance my education?
- If I want a scholarship, what schools offer such opportunities?
- What is the eligibility criterion for such schools that offer scholarship opportunities?
Asking yourself these questions will help to lessen considerably the stress that is affiliated with planning to study abroad, it is also important to note that most of the schools with a large influx of international students are situated in the United States and the United Kingdom as they have a reputation for high-end and quality education, also, the best internship opportunities are found in US and UK, in fact, US alone records over a million international students, therefore, this might help you to thin down your search.
- PLAN AND WORK
During the process of applying for admission, such an individual must acquire all the necessary information so as not to forfeit any scholarship opportunity. Admissions to top schools especially in the USA and UK can be extremely competitive and demands planning way ahead; required tests to be taken, obtaining good grades, application forms to be filled and completed, application essays or recommendation letters (in some cases) and the likes. Looking at all the processes involved may seem discouraging at first but it should not put off such an individual, as they say, good things don’t come easy. For every individual wishing to study abroad, he/she must be prepared to plan way ahead and work hard, those are the two germane factors.
- ACQUIRE VITAL INFORMATION NEEDED
It is not advisable to go to a foreign land without learning about such a place; its culture, food, dress sense and their likes. For example, regardless of where you study in Europe, you don’t want to dress in a way that makes you stand sorely out, ditch your fraternity sweatshirts, graphic shirts, and sloppy ensembles, knowing that European is leading in the fashion world should make you want to put more into your appearance, you don’t want to dress in a way that screams “foreigner”. Also, there are customs and traditions peculiar to each country, generally, in Europe, tips are expected, you pay in some places for using restrooms and you don’t go out without cash because some organizations run a “Cash-only” establishment. All these things are of utmost importance to know in order to have a smooth ride and experience while in a foreign country.
- UNDERSTAND THE CURRENCY.
Most European Union countries now use the Euro. The UK, Sweden, and Denmark still make use of their own currency as well as Euros. Euros can easily be exchanged in any country on the European continent. It’s also advisable to set up an online bank account before traveling out so that such an individual can find it easy to make transactions with the debit or credit card and to also get cash in the local currency.
- PREPARE FOR THE WEATHER.
This is one of the most important factors to consider when going to study abroad, such an individual must be sure to research average temperatures and procure and pack clothes befitting such weather, it’s advisable to go along with clothes that can be doubled/layered so that such a person can add or remove, depending on the presenting weather. Such an individual must be sure to possess carry-all/handbags/backpacks that are of good quality which can withstand any weather.
- LANGUAGE EXPERTISE
Just as it is important to be well versed in knowing about the culture, the food, and the weather, it is also of great importance to know the first and second language being spoken in the host country. Necessity is laid on you to learn the primary language spoken there, it is advisable to learn the basics of such language before embarking on the journey in order to aid communication and then commit/devote a year or half of it taking courses that will make such an expert in the language. Having a good handle of the language helps such an individual to blend in, makes communication easier, makes opportunities more feasible and makes living there easier. The importance of understanding and speaking the main language in any country of choice cannot be over-emphasized.
- GETTING READY THE PASSPORT AND VISA
There is no point in planning and getting everything ready if attention is not paid to the mode/means of transporting oneself to the designated country, therefore, it is germane to apply for and acquire a valid passport and a study visa. If such a person already has a valid passport, it is important to double-check it to be sure that it has not expired or almost expired, it is also important to be sure that there are still blank pages on the passport for those who have traveled before, if the passport has expired, then there is a need to renew and this might not be as tedious as applying for a new one. For those who will be getting a passport for the first time, the document to take along to the designated post offices, Federal or State courts of records or a State Department passport agency are;
- Your birth certificate
- 2 recent passport-sized photos
- Certified identification (e.g. driver’s license, voter’s card, national card)
- Passport Application
In addition to getting a passport, such an individual may need a visa to study abroad. Different countries have different visa requirements, therefore, it is advisable to research on ones intended study abroad destination’s regulations, this can be found at the State Department’s website. Such an individual can also employ the help of the embassy or consulate of the country one plans on going to in order to receive information about visa requirements and any special travel restrictions. Similar to passports, visa applications can take several months to process therefore it is advisable not to dawdle or delay in applying!
- START PACKING!
It is recommended that such an individual travels light as this will help such to avoid unnecessary hardship in conveying the luggage to the designated place. It is advisable to have only one checked bag, one backpack, and one tote/handbag, it will save such a lot of stress. You can use this study abroad checklist to ensure you are not missing anything. Such a person can get other needed items at the designated country, it is also advisable to ask the study abroad program representative for some helpful tips on what to and what not to pack.
Some other useful packing tips include(as compiled by gooverseas.com):
- Bring travel-sized toiletries to get through your first two weeks and stock up once you arrive.
- Plan to buy a cheap towel/sheets on arrival instead of wasting space on that.
- Stick to 3 pairs of shoes — 4 if you must.
- Bring power adapters for your electronics.
- Ladies, leave the blowdryer / flat iron at home. The voltage differences in most countries (including most of Europe) will fry them. Get a cheap one in the country and leave your nice stuff at home.
- Bring a few moments of home to help with homesickness.
- If you wear glasses or contact lenses, be sure bring extra pairs with you.
- PREPARE MENTALLY
It is never easy to say goodbye to a world one has practically lived his/her whole life, therefore, it is expedient to start preparing mentally, one must have a positive outlook on life and be ready to enjoy the learning experiences that would come from living in a foreign country. You should also prepare your family and loved ones ahead so they can understand your need to go, and they don’t make you feel guilty for actually planning to enjoy your time there, even in their absence.
The planning, preparation, spending, input of energy and time will be all worth it when such an individual experiences a great time while studying abroad with little or no hassle, therefore, it is expedient to keep all aforementioned factors in mind and to put them into practice during the process of application.