How to go abroad for study after graduation
High-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture, learning a second language, gaining a global mind-set and expanding future employment prospects are among the reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular.
But one needs to have a proper plan and here are a few steps to get you started in that direction.
Where to study is one of the difficult and important decisions while going overseas. Besides personal interests, one should also be aware about the practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects and your overall safety and welfare.
Once that is done, you should start to think about choosing a program and a university. For this research leading universities with the QS World University Rankings, use the subject rankings to discover universities which are best for your subject, and also consult national rankings of universities in your chosen destination.
Once you’ve firmly decided on your program and institution, you should start to think about your application(s). Application processes differ depending on the university and the country, but each institution will provide full details of how to submit your application will be there on their official website.
International students might require a two-step application process, meaning that you have to submit two applications: one for a place at the university and one for a place on the course itself.
The tenure of your studying abroad is dependent on the program and level of degree you’re undertaking. Many countries also offer the option of studying abroad for a shorter period of time. Student exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year, a semester or even just a few weeks.
Many schools let you apply for their scholarships at the same time that you submit your application to study there. Their scholarships are awarded to the accepted students only and it is upto you to apply early, at least before six months before your course starts, to increase the chances of getting a scholarship from your school. Keep yourself updated on the application deadlines.
Entry requirements vary widely between universities and between countries, so be sure to check the information provided by your prospective university before submitting anything. For non-native English speakers wanting to study in English-speaking countries, it is also highly likely that you’ll need to provide proof of your English-language proficiency by taking an English-language test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Similar tests may be required for those studying in other languages.
You may be asked to provide some supporting documentation as part of your application. Once again, requirements vary depending on the country and university, but international students are often asked to provide the following:
• Passport photos for identification
• A statement of purpose
• Academic references/ letters of recommendation
• Certificate and transcripts of your secondary education
• Proof of English-language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL/IELTS certificate, for schools in English-speaking countries), or other language test
• Admissions test results (e.g. GMAT/GRE results, for graduate programs)
TOEFL and IELTS are common tests accepted as proof of English proficiency. For language other than English, there are similar tests in other languages, such as the DELF/DALF and TCF-DAP (French) or the DSF and TestDaF (German).
It is unlikely for international students to attend an admissions interview in person, and the recent trends suggest video interviewing. However, universities hold international interviews in various locations around the world, so you may be expected to attend one of these.
The very next step you should do , as soon as you gain acceptance from a university, is to start considering your travel documentation. Make sure your passport and travel insurance is valid, as well as arrange for a student visa in case of longer periods of international study.
Make a plan for meeting the cost of studying abroad. Consider the average tuition fees as well as the cost of living.
Although it may be difficult to get a student loan to fund studies, you have to consider funding opportunities available to make studying abroad more affordable, including scholarships, fellowships, studentships, sponsorships, grants and bursaries.
These scholarships are granted based on academic merit and are highly competitive. Also check funding schemes targeting specific groups of students, such as students from developing countries. The website of your chosen university, will contain information on these scholarships. Apart from this, government or business partners of the school might also offer external scholarships. Do appropriate research on governmental schemes in your home country and your country of study, as well as funding offered by external organizations relating to your field of study.
The next arrangement you’ll have to see to is accommodation. If the university you choose has on campus accommodation, it is likely that you will be able to apply for a place in these student halls. If this is not the case, you will need to find your own accommodation, in apartments or PGs.
If you do work during your studies, it’s not a good idea to rely on your wages to fund living costs, and in many cases you’ll need to prove you already have enough money to support yourself when you apply for your visa. This will depend on whether or not your student visa allows you to work. In some countries there are restrictions on the amount of paid work you can undertake during your studies.
Having sorted it all out, you’re good to go to pursue your dream course.
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