When preparing to study abroad, it can feel overwhelming, especially if you live in a foreign country for the first time. The sheer number of deadlines, applications, and arrangements can cause things to fall through the cracks. Often, you may not even be aware that you have missed an important step until it is too late.
If you don’t know where to begin when planning to study abroad, this article explains everything you need to do, step by step, to prepare for your study abroad experience.
- Clearly Define Your Goals
The most important thing is to have a clearly defined goal for succeeding in anything. If you’re opting to study abroad, you need to know what you want to accomplish. What you choose to do later will depend on the answer to this question.
For instance, if your main goal in life is to become a designer, you should apply to and attend the best college you can afford. You may have to give up studying in Paris if you find another option better suited to your needs. Since you hope to become a designer, you should choose a path that gives you the best chances of succeeding.
- Decide Which School To Attend
After determining your goals, look for an institution to help you reach them.
Since there are thousands of schools to choose from, you want to pick the right one. Recommendations from friends and family can work, but what suits them doesn’t mean it will be your cup of tea. You must do your own research to discover your perfect fit. The internet has become a great resource these days, and you can easily find colleges online that offer the right program you’re looking for.
To be clear on what type of college you want to get into, identify what is important to you. Is it the fees, the environment, teachers, quality education, course, location, or the admission process? While these are all important factors, you need to start your search based on your preferences.
Once you have a few schools in mind, you can narrow it down.
Your next step is to examine your shortlisted schools more closely. Do they have any pros or cons that you should know? Are they popular with students? Reviews are useful. However, you can’t completely trust them as these can also be subjective. People complain that the pace is too fast at a school, but if you’re a dedicated student who wants to learn as much as you can in a short amount of time, this can actually be a good thing for you.
- Choose A Path That Will Help You
Studying abroad can be done in three different ways:
- Your Current School Can Help You Arrange An Exchange Semester
If your school has exchange agreements, this may be the best option for you. If you wish to study abroad, you can arrange to do so at one of their partner schools under the same conditions as you would at your regular school. The drawback, however, is that choices are limited, and there is usually not enough room for everyone who wishes to attend.
- A Good Agency Can Help You
A study abroad agency can assist students in applying to schools abroad and preparing for their education. Inconveniently, agencies will only help you study at schools with which they have an agreement, and tuition fees will always apply.
A school agent may be a good option if they have the school you want and if they don’t charge extra fees. Otherwise, you should consider whether paying for added help is worth it.
- Make All The Arrangements Yourself
It is best to arrange everything yourself if you want to attend an international school and would not like to pay any extra fees. You will have to put in some effort, but the experience can be rewarding.
- Submit Your Application
Preparing your application carefully and submitting all required information will determine whether you receive admission to your preferred school. As long as you meet the minimum requirements, it is usually easy to get accepted into good schools and colleges. However, if you’re applying for a prestigious college, don’t expect an easy process. They have high expectations from their students and a thorough and strict screening process. Getting accepted into a prestigious college isn’t impossible, though you need to work hard in your classes and attain exceptional grades.
- Prepare For The Expenses
When you study abroad, finances are usually out of your budget or savings. Start by preparing an estimated budget for all of your anticipated costs, including tuition, books, accommodation, travel, visa fees, and daily expenses. Is there enough money to cover your expenses? If you don’t have enough money at hand, you might want to find alternatives that are less expensive. It is possible to increase your budget by working part-time, so you can save enough money. You can also apply for scholarships. However, with scholarships, there is no assurance that you will land a position or get a scholarship at your desired location.
- You Need A Student Visa
Studying abroad usually requires a visa. However, EU citizens may not need a visa if they’re studying in another European member state. Occasionally, they can take short language courses on a tourist visa, but almost all language courses lasting more than three months require a student visa.
You should check the visa regulations of the country where you intend to study. If you do not have the right visa, your dream of studying abroad will end at the airport.
Student visas are usually only granted to students who have been accepted into a school. When you enroll and pay the required fees, your school will provide you with all the documentation you need to secure a student visa.
- Residential Facilities For Students
You need to find a good place to live if you want to enjoy your studies abroad. Your school may have its own accommodations available for you to book through them. But, if you choose to rent an apartment yourself, your best bet is to start with temporary accommodations. Then, find a more permanent option once you arrive at the location and can see for yourself what suits you.
- Get A Student Insurance
An exciting adventure awaits you when you study abroad. Keep yourself protected by obtaining a good international student insurance policy.
- Keep Everything Important When Packing
Be sure to have your passport, visa, and enrollment documents with you. Another important item to bring is an adapter, a charger, and some local currency.
Studying abroad is not a piece of cake. There have to be certain steps you must take to ensure a safe and easy process. The key is to plan your trip at the right time. Keep an eye on dates and deadlines, especially when dealing with:
- Program applications
- Assistance with finances
- Locating a place to live
- Travel arrangements
- Obtaining a visa
From one year prior to departure to your arrival date, a chronological checklist can help you visualize the steps that need to be taken to prepare for your trip. This article can help you stay organized and avoid unnecessary stress when you travel.