Study Abroad FAQs
The thought of studying abroad can be a daunting one, but it doesn’t have to be. Since there are a number of aspects you need to look at when considering a study abroad program, questions are bound to arise. In this article, we want to make sure that all your questions about studying abroad are answered. Check out the following FAQs that will tell you the basics of study abroad.
Why study abroad?
Studying abroad is becoming more and more popular, and for good measure. There are a lot of reasons why people choose to study abroad. The most widely accepted ones being the thirst of knowledge, the opportunity of gaining an entirely new experience, the quality of education, exploring a new culture, employment opportunities etc. Not only do you benefit in terms of education and learning, you also get to meet a lot of new people. Students from all across the world choose to go to different countries, which brings together different cultures, beliefs and ways of life, which then leads to forming great friendships! Add to that an experience that you will never forget since you get to step out of your comfort zone and adapt a new lifestyle. There really are so many reasons to study abroad.
Where should I study?
Student friendly countries are growing in the world. People are heading towards some unusual destinations to study abroad, but there is still demand for the most popular ones as well. Countries like UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and USA are of course the most sought after ones. But even places like Holland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Argentina, and Costa Rica among others are gaining momentum. Students prefer to learn new languages while they study abroad, and the most unique experiences are earned in all these destinations. You can pick one of these countries depending on the program you’ve chosen and how feasible it might be.
When should I start applying for study abroad programs?
Most countries and their universities have online application forms available for students to fill in whenever they wish to start their study abroad journey. Since application processes are open quite early, most students start applying at least a year prior to the beginning of their program so that all the formalities are dealt with in time. The enrolment process is a rigorous one, but with the right help and timing, you can easily sail through if you apply as early as possible. Starting from selection of universities and applying, to completing the visa process and finding your accommodation, there are quite a few things to take into consideration. Starting a year or six months prior will ensure that you get the best possible outcomes of your effort.
How long do study abroad programs last?
Each study abroad program has its own length. Depending on the program you’ve chosen, if it’s short term, it might last from three to six months. A longer program lasts for a year or two if it is post-graduate, and three-to four years on an average if it’s undergraduate. Programs differ in length based on the country as well. Education systems in different countries have different criteria, so the program you’ve chosen will tell you how long it is expected to last.
How do I get started?
The first step is to decide where you want to study and what program you are choosing. The next step is to start scouring universities that offer your chosen program. University rankings play a very important role in the decision process, so picking the right university based on its ranking and your program should be your next step. After this, the application criteria and enrollment process take precedence. Once you’ve found the university of your choice, research the criteria for their application and ensure you’ve achieved it before you start applying. Every university has a different enrollment criteria, which you need to carefully look at to find out what you are required to do. University websites have all the information you might need, but it is your job to ensure you’ve done your research before you fill the application form. If your university accepts your application, the next step is to find out whether you require a student visa. Again, every country has a separate visa requirement (if applicable) which requires a different duration.
What are the eligibility criteria for study abroad?
University and country specific criteria differ. You might need to learn a foreign language and have it certified depending on the country you’ve chosen. Generally, if you apply for an undergraduate program, you’ll have to have completed your secondary and higher secondary education. Similarly for a post-graduate program, you might be required to have an undergraduate degree. Some countries need an extra year or two of education to consider you for their program. Short term courses have different eligibility criteria, which differs from country to country. Along with your formal education, you will also need to complete an English proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL depending on the country you’ve applied to.
What documents will I need for the visa application?
You will be required to submit supporting documents along with your visa application. Though there are country-specific requirements, these are the basic ones:
- Passport photos
- Statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
- Admission test results
- Proof of English proficiency
- Transcripts of your secondary/higher secondary education
Do I need to learn a language?
This is the most common country-specific criterion. In countries that offer programs in English, you will have to provide English proficiency test results like TOEFL or IELTS. In other countries where you might be learning in a language other than English, there are different tests and certifications for the same. Similar tests like DSF or TestDaf for German, and TCF-DAP for French are required. You should also check if the university you are applying to accepts results of the test you might be taking. Only take tests that your university has approved and/or specified on the website.
What tests will I need to take in order to qualify?
Tests for English proficiency and/or other language tests will be required for you to qualify further in the enrollment process. Language specific tests are as following:
What is the application process?
The application process generally requires you to fill out the form and provide documentation of language proficiency, along with letters of recommendation, transcripts, CV, and a statement of purpose. Once you are shortlisted for a university, you might be asked to appear for an interview. This is either a phone interview or on video call, possibly through Skype. Some universities even hold interviews in other countries, so if there is one near you, you might be required to appear for the same.
How much will it cost me to study abroad?
The average tuition fees for each university and country are specific. You might find the same program cheaper in one country than the other. It also depends on where your chosen university ranks. Some countries don’t require a tuition fee at all, for example, Germany has free undergraduate education. Some countries can be quite expensive. For example, the UK has a yearly tuition fee of about £12,000 with an added average of £7,000 of living costs. The yearly tuition fees in USA are approximately $28000 with the living cost estimate of around $15000.
What countries are most popular for study abroad?
The most popular destinations to study abroad based on student experience, employment opportunities, standard of living and quality of education are the following:
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
Other countries include Spain, Japan, Holland, Argentina, Costa Rica etc.
What are the top universities in the world?
Some of the top universities in the world for 2018 are as following according to topuniversities.com
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
- Stanford University, USA
- Harvard University, USA
- University of Oxford, UK
- University of Cambridge, UK
- Princeton University, USA
- National University of Singapore
- University of Toronto, Canada
- London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
- Northwestern University, USA
You can find rankings of other universities here.
How do I fund my study?
Grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships and the likes are widely available for international students. Student loans are also available countrywide. University specific scholarships too can be availed depending on the eligibility criteria and whether you match it. Academic merit based scholarships and fellowships are usually listed on the university websites. You can also find information on study abroad scholarships for specific programs online. Most students go for student loans provided by their home country to fund their education. Make sure to check what banks are accepted by the country of your choice for a student loan.
What scholarships are available and how do I find them?
Regularly check the website of your chosen university to get more information. Government and business partners also externally offer scholarships based on the university and country of your choice. Your home country might also be offering scholarships based on merit and other criteria including external organizations and companies looking to fund aspiring students.
Where will I live during my program?
University accommodation is readily available for students on campus and off. There are external accommodation facilities for students in university-specific cities or countries. Private facilities are also available based on your living requirements. Most students prefer to go for shared accommodation to be able to feel at home. You can either find a place where others from your home country are planning to stay or stay with students from various parts of the world. Universities usually offer student halls and private accommodation for their students which you would need to book a few months prior to ensure you get the place of your choice.
Can I work during my program?
Most countries allow students to work part-time during their program. This is generally a 20 hour per week permit which ensures that you get ample time for your studies as well as earning a good deal. Universities often provide employment opportunities to earn while you study, making it easier for you to find a job of your choice.
If you have any more questions that were not answered above, feel free to comment or head to our very own askanexpert. We’ll make sure to answer all your queries as best we can.