What to Consider When I want to Study Abroad?
When SHOULD you study abroad? Can you afford it? Which country should you even choose, and then how do you apply? There are so many questions that you might need to ask , so much information that you might need to collect. Let us give you some important aspects when it comes to organizing yourself for such a great deal as studying abroad:
Make a plan
Two of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is when to study abroad and how to pay for it. It may also be a challenge to convince your parents to let you study abroad if they’re resistant. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to apply, let’s make sure it works with your life first.
When is a good time to study abroad?
If you’ve just graduated from a bachelor’s program and you’re ready to go abroad for a master’s or Ph.D., it might be an easy decision. But if you’re in the middle of your bachelor’s degree, the timeline may matter very much. You’ll have to figure out where studying abroad fits in the midst of your other academic commitments, like internships, co-ops, and course requirements.
If you are in an ongoing bachelor program but you want to taste some abroad life, depending on your university or major, you may have little choice. Not many schools allow freshman students to continue studying abroad, and it is still uncommon during sophomore year. Junior year is a common time to go abroad, and it may still be possible senior year. Be sure to check with your university’s study abroad office or your academic advisor who can provide information on what’s most typical and convenient for a student at your school.
If you finished high school/secondary school and you want full bachelor studies abroad then this might go smooth if you already decided where you want to study.
Can I study abroad as an Engineering or a Pre-Med student?
You absolutely can study medicine or engineering abroad.There’s a common misconception out there that for students majoring in pre-med or other STEM fields, studying abroad won’t work with their very structured academic requirements. This is untrue! While you may have to plan a bit more ahead if you have a lot of academic requirements, it is possible to study abroad, and will likely make you an even stronger med-school candidate. Contact your school’s office of pre-professional advising the second you know you want to study abroad. They’ll be able to work with your schedule to see how you can fit it in. While you might not be able to do a full year abroad, you can usually still fit in a semester, or at the very least, a summer program.
Can I afford to study abroad?
There’s no way to sugar coat it - studying abroad can be expensive, and it can be a huge deterrent to those who want to study abroad. But you have options, and how much it costs will depend on the country you go to and of course, how long you stay.
How much does it cost to study abroad?
According to the Institute for International Education, a semester abroad costs, on average, $18,000 a semester. Depending on how much you pay per semester at your home institution, this could be on a par or even less. Beyond program fees, you’ll also have to consider airfare and cost-of-living. If you’re living in New York City, the cost-of-living might seem much lower in Costa Rica. And if you’re going to school in Stockholm currently, studying abroad in Romania might be quite affordable. Expect adding a good amount of spending money to that total as well.
But there’s good news - you have many options, especially if you’re looking to study abroad at the bachelor’s level. For instance, if you are currently receiving financial aid to go to college, that financial aid will still go toward your study abroad program (check this aspect with the abroad university you decided on) . You could also take out a student loan or accumulate some scholarship money. And, of course, if you can’t afford to go for a full year, a summer program would still get you that life-changing experience for a fraction of the cost. .
How can I convince my parents to let me study abroad?
Your family might be hesitant to let you study abroad. Put yourself in their shoes - they’re probably just nervous, especially if you’ve always lived nearby or if you’ve (or they) never been out of the country before. But if you build your case, you can probably convince them.
They’re going to have a lot of questions and you’ll need to have answers. Make sure you know how you’re going to potentially pay for it because they’re definitely going to want to hear that. Outline the many benefits of studying abroad, and ensure them that you’ll communicate with often when you’re abroad. If you approach the conversation with empathy, you might have a good chance in convincing even the most protective parents.
Begin your search
Once you know roughly when you’ll go and how you’ll pay for it (as well as getting the green light from your parents if you need it), more fun stuff begins. Let’s decide where you should go!
Where should I study abroad?
Maybe you already know exactly what country or continent you want to study in, but which university? Or maybe you’re truly open to countries but you know you want to go to a top biology program since you’repremedd.
One other thing to consider: Does your university partner with universities abroad? If so, this may be the easiest route for you, especially since it’ll likely be seamless when it comes to transferring credits. Many schools have partnerships with a variety of universities all over the world, so ask a study abroad office.
Check out our extensive study guides as well, we have in-depth info on what it’s like to study abroad around the world,depending on the country.
If you have no country to study in mind yet:
Consider your major
If you’re an English major, it might not make any sense to study in China . But if you’re studying world literature specifically, studying in China might actually be an awesome idea. Certain countries are known for different things, and while there will likely be excellent programs in many countries, this can be a good starting point if you’re in the beginning of your search. Consider the following ideas:
Business & Finance: Think major cities that are hubs of business: London, New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, Sydney, and Tokyo.
English & Literature: Major literary hubs include Santiago, Oxford, Paris, St. Petersburg, Dublin, and Edinburgh.
Medicine & Public Health: Developing countries will often provide you with hands-on experience, but also think about where the best affordable healthcare studies in the world are. Consider locations like Romania, South Africa, Poland, Thailand, or India.
Politics & Law: Political hotspots include Brussels, Geneva, and Washington, D.C.
Engineering & Technology: Think of innovation hubs like Singapore, San Francisco, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, and Lisbon.
Visual Arts: Try a city with a rich cultural history of visual arts and tons of museums, like Florence, Paris, Barcelona, Beijing, or Chicago.
Performing Arts & Music: Theater and music hubs include (but are certainly not limited to) Havana, Nashville, London, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Berlin.
History: Whether you’re interested in archeology or just history in general, you can’t beat places like Athens, Jerusalem, Cusco, Alexandria, or Moscow.
Education: Consider studying in countries with the best educational systems in the world (Finland, The Netherlands, Japan, South Korea) or places where there’s a demand for English teachers (Vietnam, Colombia, Taiwan).
Consider your interests outside of school.
You’re more than just a student! So think of your interests outside of the classroom. Do you want to go somewhere with a beach? Do you want the ability to go camping? Is a hot culinary scene important to you? Consider the following ideas:
If you’re outdoorsy, consider countries like South Africa, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Norway, or Tanzania.
Are you a gourmand and want to study near a hopping culinary scene, consider cities like Tokyo, Marrakesh, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, New York, and Taipei
If you’re an ambitious shopper, consider top shopping cities like London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, and New York.
It’s all about thatcafefe life”? Consider these cities with some of the best cafe cultures in the world: Stockholm, Seattle, Melbourne, Rome, Singapore, or Vienna.
According to Numbeo, the countries with the highest cost-of-living in 2018- 2020 are Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Denmark.
On a budget but you want to accomplish your dream of becoming someone? You may want to consider cities with a lower cost-of-living. You will not make a wrong move with countries from Europe like Romania, Poland or Spain.
If you already have a country in mind:
If you already know where you want to study, now you have to decide what university is suitable for you. When you’re choosing universities, try to consider few important things like:
Meet the university requirements
Does the university offer a program that fits with my career goals? If you want to get a bachelor's degree in Biology in England and then transfer to Romania to continue with your PhD, you’ll want to be very careful that you’re meeting certain requirements so that you can apply to Romanian universities.
Do your research beforehand
Will you be able to transfer credits back to your home institution (if you’re going for a semester/year and not for the entire degree) or any other countries? Some schools might be quite strict about what study abroad credits they will count for your degree, particularly when it comes to major requirements. Be certain, and have it in writing beforehand, that the university will allow your abroad studies to be counted and recognized!
Ask for help!
Not all of us know how to deal with the bureaucratic system. Every country and university has its own set of rules, administrative regulations, conditions and requirements. The application process tends to become complicated and hideous if you don’t get proper guidance and support. For this reason we recommend you to consider the expertise and experience of an educational advisor. You can focus on your next