Want to Live and Study Abroad? Tips from Amanda Wilks, Boston Graduate ..
Studying abroad is an opportunity not many get, and definitely one no one should miss. It’s different, totally different than being a tourist in a country, and a lot more engaging and fulfilling. As a foreign student, you will experience life in a culture different from your own, and have the opportunity to learn new things and expand your vision of the world.
Reasons to Study Abroad
There are a lot of great reasons to study abroad – among them, the opportunity to properly learn a new language. Sure, you can take classes anywhere, find native speakers close to where you live, but practicing a language, even on a daily basis, will only get you so far. Being forced to speak that language in a foreign country, because you have no other way of making yourself understood, is the best and quickest way to learn.
Being immersed in another culture is an experience in itself. You’ll start appreciating the differences in perspective and customs and over time, you will likely start adopting these as your own.
Furthermore, studying and living abroad is great on your resume. Your employer will know off the bat that you will be an independent, reliable worker, capable of seeing things from a different perspective, something that someone without your experience abroad may not.
All this is presuming that you decide to come back home. You could just as well decide to continue working in the country you studied in, or in another foreign country, and have the opportunity to explore more. Simply put, studying abroad opens a lot of doors you would otherwise not even think about.
Choose the Best University to Apply to
There are so many destinations, and universities to choose from – it really comes down to your preference. From The Old Continent to Asia, to the newest continent, Australia, or Latin America, virtually every continent has a wide range of options. To make the best choice, you need to do your research. Fortunately, there is plenty of information online to help you out.
While rankings should not be the only thing you base your decision on, they are a good place to start, as most ranking systems online also allow you to sort by specific field of study, student satisfaction etc. A prestigious, well-ranked university on your resume will catch the eye of a future employer and might give you that differentiating factor.
One of the best known ranking systems is compiled by The Times Higher Education, and offers a list of best-ranked universities in the world for 2015 – 2016 here. The universities are ranked based on teaching ability (the quality of the learning environment), research efforts (volume, income, and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook and industry income (knowledge transfer). Find more information on the ranking methodology here.
Here you need to take into consideration both tuition fees and the cost of living. The cost of living is influenced by the location of the university: expect to pay more if the university is based in a large city, close to the centre, than if the university is in a more rural setting.
The tuition fee, while also influenced by the country’s cost of living, is mostly determined by the subject of study. The cost of clinical degrees, for example veterinary medicine, can sometimes be up to four times higher than other subjects.
This one is a deal breaker, so check out the visa situation for the country in which you want to study. Different countries take into account different factors for granting a visa, such as age, educational background, funds available, and language skills. The time spent in the country is also regulated, especially if you want to stay there and work after you finish your studies.
How to Apply Online to Study Abroad
Check the university website that you are interested in to find out about their application process. All universities have different application processes, and online and/or paper forms will need to be completed. Language should not be a barrier, as the websites will almost always be in English and one or more other languages.
There are also several websites with a centralized list of international universities, so use these to find out about options for studying abroad and general information on universities. Some companies, usually for a fee, can even help you gather your documentation and do the hard part of the application process for you.
If you decide to apply by yourself, be careful to read the entire list of documents you will need in order to apply. Different countries have drastically different requirements, as do universities within those countries. Have everything ready and ask the university’s information office for clarification if you are unsure about anything.
Most universities also ask for a personal statement, a letter in which you explain why you want to study there. After submitting the documents, you are sometimes asked for a skype interview with someone from the university admissions team.
Amanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate and a Contributing Editor at Job Application Center. She has a great interest in everything related to job-seeking, career-building, and entrepreneurship, and loves helping people reach their true potential.