After mum’s tears, your friend’s telling you that you’re crazy or that you’ll never do it, your dad warning you that you can’t afford it and your wise old gran saying ‘you’re only young once’, the dust has settled and it’s time to make a plan.
By now you have realised that the best option for your future career is to Study Abroad, graduating to a mountain of debt in the UK is no reason to celebrate, you want to offer your prospective employer something that sets you apart from the rest or simply, you want a good all round and enjoyable experience – but where do you start ? Student Abroad explains….
Studying abroad may be that one defining moment in your education that will change your life. Nothing will be quite the same after you have studied abroad.
Your perspectives will be global, your attitudes will be international and you will have memories that you will carry forever. Your CV will be more attractive, in some cases your language proficiency will be advanced, and you will have developed lifelong friendships.
The largest misconception preventing many students from participating in study abroad is its perceived inaccessibility. Students who do study abroad are often amazed at how easy it is to put the whole thing together. Financial support, grants, scholarships and other types of funding may often be available.
It’s as easy as a working through a checklist. The following information is just that, it should be used only as a guideline, each university or college has their own study abroad policy.
As the editor of Student Abroad, I receive many hundreds of e-mails each month and I access many resources in my research, the following is compiled from several years of experience in this field.
Why study abroad?
Academic achievement – Graduating overseas is a fantastic achievement , one that is widely recognised by employers worldwide and that is one of the main motivating factors for studying abroad but you may also wish to consider other types of study; for example you may study overseas for a semester to gain credits towards your degree, you may consider a developmental opportunity and study at a high school abroad for a term or a full year or just in your summer break, of courses being abroad is the best way to achieve success in a language or you may decide on vocational or technical training.
Language acquisition — the world market place is growing yearly and many companies desire second languages skills. Foreign languages are not only valuable in employment but are also valuable in other aspects of daily life.
Practical experience — Study abroad coupled with an international internship is an incredible way to gain some real world experience. Additionally you may find that only an international programme can offer the real expertise you desire in your education. Australia is one location to find a marine biology programme, the engineering labs in Sweden may exceed your expectations or simply the Peace of Canada or New Zealand is what you desire.
CV construction — International experience is ranked high among many employers as a critical asset for prospective employees. Study abroad shows that you are resourceful, adventurous, internationally minded, and diverse.
Experience of a lifetime — In a couple years you will forget the name of your professor in San Diego or the name of your dorm in Cape Breton, but you’ll never forget the friends you made or the incredible experiences you shared.
How do I find a programme?
In every case, it is best to talk with a qualified Independent Study Consultant. You might already have any idea of what you’d like to do and where you’d like to do and the Study Consultant will identify the pro’s and cons for you. Unlike many University Study Consultants, an Independent Study Consultant many have further insights into your chosen location ; they may have visited the area, organisation involved and possible have seen the accommodation available to you. They can offer reassurances to your parents or others whom this decision may effect. They may need to consult (if applicable)with your University.
The Independent Study Consultant is the most important person with whom you and your family should communicate with during this process.
For details of Study Consultant’s in specific regions and countries or for details of Study Consultant’s speaking other languages please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
What else do I need to do?
Your Study Consultant will advise you of these and other requirements before you go, here are just a few not to forget.
• Passport – make sure it is up to date and does not expire whilst you are away.
• Visa – check with your Study Consultant that you have the right visa.
• Health – check with your local health centre – are any vaccinations recommended for the country you are visiting.
• Safety – register with Locate at http://www.fco.gov.uk and check the status of the country you are visiting.
• Insurance – make sure you have it , in some countries it is a compulsory requirement. If you are from the UK and travelling to the EU, don’t forget your EHIC
• Communication – how is your family going to communicate with you, you should make plans in case anything goes wrong – arrange to email a contact number of some sort. Discuss these options with your Study Consultant
• Think about your budget and income. Consider the in-country costs before you go. You should develop a budget and live by it. Consider the costs of optional excursions, gifts, school supplies, internet access, in-country transportation and general living costs. Many students have lost their mind and money at the night clubs in Athens or Bangkok and have spent their semester budgets their first week abroad.
• Learn about your destination — You’re going to experience culture shock, no matter how cool you are, regardless of how diverse you are, and with no regard to your language ability you will have culture shock. One of the ways to have a better experience is to have realistic expectations. Read everything you can about your future home.
• Pack light — check out the limits on your chosen method of travel and remember, you’ll have more when you come back home – so leave space.
• Enjoy yourself – this is the ride of your life !