There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset and expanding future employment prospects. The type of experience you have during your time abroad will vary hugely depending on where you go, so make sure to pick a study destination based on your interests as well as the country’s academic reputation, to keep a healthy work/play balance.
Choosing where in the world you wish to study is not always an easy task. As well as your interests, you should think about practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects (is there a good job market?) and your overall safety and welfare.
You should also think about what sort of lifestyle you wish to have during your studies. Do you want to live in a big city or a small university town? Do you want arts and culture on your doorstep or world-class sporting facilities? Whatever your interests, be sure to match them up with your study destination so that you give yourself the best chance of loving your international experience.
The length of time you spend studying abroad will depend on the program and the level of degree you’re undertaking. Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three or four years of full-time study (for example, in the UK the typical length for most subjects is three years, while in the US the norm is four), while a graduate degree such as a master’s degree or equivalent will take one or two years. A doctoral (PhD) program will usually take three to four years. At many universities across the world, there is also the option of studying abroad for a shorter period. Student exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year, a semester or even just a few weeks
Considering your application as early as possible is the best way to go. After all, the sooneryou gain acceptance into a university, the sooner you can arrange your travels. Application deadlines will be different depending on the school, but, for programs starting in the fall (September/October), applications will generally be open from early in the year (January/February) until the middle of the year (June/July).
Entry requirements vary widely between universities and between countries, so be sure to speak with our admission counsellors before applying. Speaking generally, however, if you are applying for an undergraduate degree you will be asked to show that you have completed your secondary education to a standard that is in line with the required grades (e.g. your GPA, A-level grades or equivalent) for the program you’re applying to. It is also highly likely that you’ll need to provide proof of your English-language proficiency by taking an English-language test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Similar tests may be required for those studying in other languages. For more information about language tests, refer to question eight.
You may be asked to provide some supporting documentation as part of your application. Once
again, requirements vary depending on the country and university, but international students are
often asked to provide the following:
• A statement of purpose
• Passport photos for identification
• Academic references/ letters of recommendation
• Certificate and transcripts of your secondary education
• Proof of English-language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL/IELTS certificate, for schools in English-speaking countries), or other language tests
• Admissions test results (e.g. GMAT/GRE results, for graduate programs)
Congratulations, you’re in! Now all that’s left to do is to prepare for your studies, pack up your life into a single (large) suitcase, get your travel documents in order, apply for your student visa, research your accommodation options, and look for funding… don’t panic, it’ll all be worth it! As soon as you gain acceptance from a university, the first thing you should start to consider is your travel documentation. Ensure you have a valid passport and travel insurance, as well as a student visa if you need one. Make sure you have sufficient time to you're your passport/visa approved so that you’ll be able to travel legally.
To work out the cost of studying abroad, you need to consider the average tuition fees for international students in your chosen country, as well as the cost of living. As a point of reference, the average tuition fees for international students studying in the UK start at £10,000 (~US$14,200) a year, with an additional £12,180 (~US$17,300) per year needed to cover living costs (with more needed if you study in London).In the US, the average yearly tuition fee is US$25,620 at public universities and $34,740 at private universities with an additional recommended budget of at least $10,800 to cover your living costs. With these yearly figures in mind, remember that undergraduate programs in the US tend to last a full four years.
Although many international students may find it difficult to get a student loan to fund their studies, there are myriad other funding opportunities available to make studying abroad more affordable, including scholarships, fellowships, studentships, sponsorships, grants and bursaries.Your chosen university is perhaps the best place to get funding information relevant to you, so make sure to scour the school’s website for advice or contact the school directly. This is also where information about study abroad scholarships offered by the university and other external organizations can be found, along with details regarding eligibility and how to apply.
If your chosen university has readily available campus accommodation, you will likely be able to apply for a place in these student halls. If this is not the case, you will need to find your own accommodation.If money is no object, you can consider renting your own flat, while those on a smaller budget can find shared accommodation with other students or use spare room listings found online. In all cases, you should make sure you do your research before signing anything or handing over any money.
This will depend on whether or not your student visa allows you to work. In some countries, there are restrictions on the amount of paid work you can undertake during your studies. Often there’s a limit of 20 hours’ paid work per week during term time, with full-time work permitted during holidays.If you do work during your studies, it’s not a good idea to rely on your wages to fund living costs, and in many cases, you’ll need to prove you already have enough money to support yourself when you apply for your visa .
You can only submit a study permit application after being accepted at a recognized school,
university or college.Documents required for most study permit applications include:
• LoA for Canada, CAS for UK, I-20 and SEVIS I-901 for the USA, etc.
• Valid passport and recent passport-sized photos for the principal applicant and their accompanying dependent family members
• Evidence that you will be able to financially support yourself and accompanying dependents for the duration of studying. You will have to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover:
• Any expenses relating to living expenses – including food, rent, transportation etc.
• Your return back to your country of citizenship at the expiration of your study permit
• Your tuition fees