As a college student, one of the best and most beneficial experiences you could have is to study abroad. It’s a great way to advance your studies while living in a foreign country and learning new customs and ways of life.
The most important thing about studying abroad is that you do your research in order to pursue a quality education and that you end up taking a full advantage of your time abroad. The knowledge and experience you are most likely going to gain by attending some of the top world universities is certainly going to help you in the future by opening new doors for you career-wise.
While the prospect of going to another country might sound exciting at first, the process of understanding and preparing for steps to get there can be extensive and often overwhelming.
So here is a guide to help you along with this effort in order to be best prepared to take on a study abroad program.
Prepare your documents
No matter which university you choose for your studies, the documents you will need to apply to the program are more or less similar.
You should first prepare all your personal documents by having them translated into the local language. For example, you should look into degree and birth certificate translation services in order to be able to apply for a visa or translate any documents required for the university application process. Some schools in non-English speaking countries might default to English language for the admission process but require some of the documents in local language once you start your studies at the university.
Other documents you might need to collect are your academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation written by an advisor or teacher, a CV/resume with all your degrees, any certificates and internships as well as test scores from major exams such as SAT, GMAT or GRE.
Choose your study destination
Almost every country in the world accepts foreign students so you have many options to choose from. It is therefore important to choose a program that is the right fit for you.
The first step in choosing a school/education that is best for you, is to do thorough research on which country is best suited for your education and offers accredited programs in your field of study. You should consider a program that can help you improve the skills and credentials needed in your field of study.
Another consideration for choosing a destination is the availability of financial resources. It is no surprise that studying abroad can be quite expensive, so it is important to decide on your budget before you start applying. If you are lucky enough, you may even be eligible for a scholarship provided by your desired institution.
Lastly, think about whether your study destination offers you the kind of lifestyle you prefer. The best way is to consider a country whose culture and customs match your aspirations. If you are for example only comfortable in an English-speaking country, you can narrow your options to those locations.
Select your study preference
If you are a freshman college student, you must be very careful in selecting your major. This is important because you want to choose a program that you will enjoy and can help you get the dream job you are looking for in the future.
One way to go about this is to meet with the academic advisor from your school or your college’s advising center. During this meeting, you must be clear about your needs and interests in order to get the best guidance. You can also find out if there are any study abroad counselors in your school or third-party organizations. These individuals are professionally certified and many of them have been international students themselves. They also know of the availability of study abroad options and resources that will help you in the planning process.
Once you have decided on the school, destination and major, you can then start the process of applying to the universities you have selected.
Get your student visa
Once you have been admitted to the university, you will receive an acceptance letter which is necessary if you need to apply for a student visa. Besides your acceptance letter, you will need to provide other documents to get your student visa. The major ones include:
? Proof of enrollment in a recognized educational institution
? A residence permit application
? A standardized English proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL especially if you are coming from a non-English speaking country
? A consent letter from a guardian if you are under 18 years old
? Personal identification documents such as a copy of your current passport and photographs
? Any vaccination records if your host country requires it
For a comprehensive list of requirements for each country, you should consult with your study abroad counselor or college admissions staff to help you along the way.
The last step before you fly out to your new destination is to figure out where you are going to stay. While some universities offer on-campus accommodation, you may have other options to choose from to determine your housing situation.
One possibility is to look for an apartment that you will share with a roommate. This might provide an opportunity to reduce the cost of room and abroad and make your study abroad more affordable. If you choose this option, make sure you find a roommate you will be comfortable living with, in order to avoid any future misunderstandings and issues.
One of the popular options for college students is to consider a study abroad program which is a great way to let you step out of your comfort zone and obtain a once in a lifetime experience. But in order to make the best of such an opportunity, you must first research the major, school and destination that is a right fit for you. This will require doing some research, talking to your advisors and study abroad counselors, as well as preparing the documents needed to apply for visa, travel and find accommodations.
Study in a foreign country will undoubtedly provide you with the personal growth and enhanced skill-set in your career. Good luck and have fun!