Studying abroad is a fantastic way to gain some life experience and travel as well as study your ideal subject.
There is the chance to learn about an entirely new culture and way of life, as well as learning to speak a new language and experience customs you may never have encountered before. Nothing teaches you how to speak a language like living in the country and having to learn it out of necessity and this can be an extremely rewarding life experience.
The opportunity to study abroad for a year or more also presents an opportunity for travel which may not be available otherwise. Travelling around your host country and seeing all it has to offer can foster a love for your host country that may also be useful if you decide to stay on and work there after your studies are completed.
In the connected world we live in you will never be far away from your family and friends, even though geographically you could be on the other side of the world. Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype and other social media and video call services make it incredibly easy to stay in touch with your nearest and dearest regardless of where you are physically.
It is now easier than ever to study abroad with many institutions and countries welcoming students who want to study in their country, many of whom offering scholarships and financial aid to make them a more attractive option.
Europe and the United States of America are amongst the most popular places for those who want to study abroad, with a lot of exchange schemes between the two in place.
European and American universities are well set up with exchange programmes, scholarships and financial aid which is why they are usually considered amongst the best places to study abroad.
Despite this, there are large numbers who are interested in studying in India and the sub-continent as their institutions grow in authority and prestige. There is also a significant proportion of students in the southern hemisphere who study abroad in places such as Australia and New Zealand, with both countries regularly exchanging students to study abroad.
The most important thing to consider is where the best place to study abroad for you would be – look into your desired subject and find countries that have a good reputation for that subject matter. When considering the best place to study abroad you need to also bear in mind the cultural side and if it is a place you actually have a desire to visit.
Studying abroad allows you to obtain a lifestyle education as well as a traditional one, but what can you study abroad and how do you choose?
For many countries, study abroad programmes come with the option to study the native language as part of the programme. This is especially true in countries where alphabets, as well as language, may be completely different such as China, Japan or India; where the most popular study abroad programmes include an element of language learning in them.
For actual majors the best study abroad programmes tend to be ones that are universal across countries, making the sciences and sub-sciences a popular choice for those who want to study abroad but in a language that they will understand.
If you want to be a student in Europe or America, many courses are conducted in English which means there may not be too much of a language barrier if that is your native language or you are fluent. These programmes can be almost anything from mathematics to English literature; giving you plenty of options when looking into what you want to study abroad.
Starting the process to study abroad can be an intimidating process, with visa requirements and documentation along with all the different agencies and companies you need to deal with.
Luckily though it gets a lot easier. Once you have submitted your visa application for whatever country you want to study in, if required, you just need to focus on submitting your University application and sorting out accommodation.
The application process can be really simple – such as in the UK where there is a centralised admissions service called UCAS which manages all university applications – to complicated, with many countries requiring applications to be sent to individual institutions. The best thing to do is research the target universities and familiarise yourself with their admissions process so you know what you need to do before you start applying.
Choosing your accommodation in your host country is a very exciting chance to gain some serious independence as well as make some amazing friends. There are plenty of third party sites that offer assistance with student accommodation and some universities will have accommodation services to help foreign students.
As with any element of studying abroad, it is important to do as much research as possible, especially where accommodation is concerned. Speak to students who live in the same city and get some information on where is best to live and where is best to avoid – most university towns will have student sectors and places you can be around your fellow scholars. There may also be a thriving international community with people from your own country which will make you feel a little more at home.
The majority of those who want to study abroad will be fresh from college or high school, usually between the ages of 18-22 depending on the state of your education up until that point.
Deciding when to study abroad is a big decision and one that will likely have a significant impact on your life, from a social and educational standpoint.
Many students opt to go straight into university life which can be easier to do if you are studying locally; however those who want to study abroad tend to be a couple of years older as they often have to take a year out to work and save enough money to afford tuition fees and living expenses in their desired country.
There are no hard and fast rules about when to study abroad as it largely depends on what you want to study and at what level of education. Undergraduates are normally late teens or early 20s, whilst postgraduates can be any age from 25-50 and above.
This accessibility is a key draw of studying abroad and is why a large number of students around the world are now seeing it as a viable option for their education plans.