9 February 2017

7 STEPS TO STUDYING OVERSEAS

Hello lovely readers, today Steph will share some useful information for those who are interested in studying abroad. She also has a blog where you can discover more things about her, so make sure to head over there as soon as you finish reading this post and send her some love!

Studying abroad can be a very long (but very fun) process. I’ve recently embarked on this journey and figured out the ins and outs of where and how to start this exciting undertaking. I currently live in South Africa, but will start an undergraduate degree at a university, in Europe, in September 2017. Whether you’re going abroad for one year or three, these tips are bound to get you boarding a plane and discovering a new city.

There are several reasons why someone would want to study overseas, and for each person the answer will be different. Some will cross oceans for the fun and the adventure and others for a better-quality education that cannot be matched from their current city. I personally fall into the latter category.

If you think that you’re someone who would like to study in another country but is unsure of what this enlivening new adventure will take, then finish up here and head on over to my blog to read my blogging buddy, Cecile’s post called ‘'5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Studying Abroad'’.

I found the process to be enjoyable, sometimes nerve-wrecking and at times stressful but when that acceptance letter slides through your mailbox or into your inbox with the assurance of a brand-new adventure and chapter of your life, it’s worth it.

#1 Pick a City

Studying abroad implies moving to a new city. If you’re more the ‘happy go lucky type’, throw pins randomly at a map on the wall, or more rationally, choose a city based on its community, safety, lifestyle and quality of education. A lot of thought (and conversation) should go into the making of your choice as this city will be your new home. Confide and ask for guidance from a parent, sibling or friend whom you trust will offer you golden nuggets of guidance. Can you see yourself strutting down Regent street or 5th Avenue? If the answer is no, then keep looking!

#2 Find a Degree

Before considering what university or college to attend, you first need to know what course you want to give your brain capacity and storage over to for the next year or possibly the span of your life. One university could be esteemed for engineering, science and mathematics, but if you want to study drama, then despite its top-10 global ranking, the university probably isn’t for you. You need to choose a top-quality university that offers the best quality in your specific degree. I mean, you’re not flying over oceans for a mediocre quality of education, are you? When researching degrees, you should consider lifestyle, salary, working hours and stress-levels (amongst other aspects). A helpful question to ask yourself at this stage is “could I see myself doing this for the next 50 years?”. If the answer is no, keep looking.

#3 Scour for a Uni




Now that you’ve found your subject of study, it’s time to place yourself in an environment that will get your neurons buzzing and your heart fluttering. You need to find a uni that offers you the professional facilities and expert educators, however, beyond the classroom and hitting the books, you need an environment that offers you the choice to join societies and sports clubs because, whilst you’re flying over horizons, you need to be venturing into new ones.

#4 Finances + Costs


Although it’s hunky dory to up and leave from home and venture into a new city, with new friends and new foods, you need to assess your financial standings and gage what you, your family or guardian can afford. You should consider that you’ll have to possibly be in residence, pay for transportation, food, university tuition and then still need money to enjoy the ‘needs’ we all really know to be ‘wants’- like the clubbing and fancier dining-- as you should.

Don’t let several digit numbers and massive exchange rate differences put you off your path of studying abroad. All universities offer scholarships, bursaries and help/advice on student loans. Contact student funding after receiving an acceptance and work out what plan best suits you.

If you think finances will hold you back from a specific university, you should maybe consider a school in the same country, possibly the same city and or even just down the road. The second best could be an option now, but, remember to save the best for last. You can always go to ‘the best’ for postgraduate studies.


#5 Entry Requirements


Different countries have different requirements to start studying. You need to ensure that your high school or university qualification meets the requirements of the university. Failing this, you will need to subject yourself to a different examination, required by the university, which could potentially involve a different curriculum from the one you are learning or have learnt. From my own experience, I also found that if you are from a country that is not recognized as being an English-speaking majority, upon the request of the university, you will write an IELTs exams to prove your English proficiency. 

Some good advice would be to familiarize yourself with the requirements early in the process so that you know what grades you need to achieve or any extra lessons/subjects that you need to take.


#6 Personal statement


If you’re writing a personal statement, it means you’re applying-yipee! Congrats on taking a leap of faith! Your statement is important for your educators to get a good sense about who you are as a person- show off your skills and personality but not your inflated ego. There are some great websites and Youtube videos which give you great direction with writing these statements, from people whose job it is to read these.

As an international student, you should take care to note why you want to study in another country and what you offer the university as an international student.


#7 Visit the uni



You’ve scoured the web, dusted off the cobwebs in your brain; It’s now time to knock on the door, ring the doorbell and pop-in for a visit. Chances are you’ve applied to more than one university (just for insurance). Hop into a plane, a bus or a train and go visit your potential new home. You’ve probably travelled far for this, so make it a holiday - gracing all the museums and architectural wonders with your presence while you’re there. Take note of the type of students at the university and the university’s surrounding environment. The best advice I can give you here is this: If you know, you know.

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If you think that you’re up for the challenge and studying in a new country could be for you, then head on over to my blog to read Cecile’s post.

It’s been lovely taking up space on Cecile’s blog. If you’d like to see more of me, you can follow me on my blog or on Instagram. Do pop in and say ‘hi’. However, from me, for now, Bye!

Steph


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