Studying abroad is a big deal. And it has always been a big deal, at least ever since I can last remember. The complicated procedure, the high costs and the hype around it are definitely some of the factors to blame.
To top it all, we have so many websites, agencies, Embassies and Consulates whose primary aim seems to be confusing the wits out of people and literally create some kind of phobia towards the entire situation.
I'm assuming that you too, like many other students have finally decided to study abroad but have no clue what to do next and are frantically typing the most logical, basic keywords on Google hoping for that Eureka moment wherein you hit jackpot. But alas, that moment may never come.
So what now? Are you running around asking your cousin/friend's friend/ family member about their experience, or are you simply going to follow someone agent's advice blindly?
Well, we think not (although maybe, your nosy neighbor might be of some help since she's spent the last 15 years of her life interfering into other people's lives), but in our opinion, studying abroad is not only an extremely expensive affair, but it is also very prestigious, valuable and not worth wasting away. And since it is you and no one who has to study, you should probably start taking charge of the situation by now.
Through the following few points we have tried to highlight the most important, yet basic pre-requisites you must fulfill before you actually begin your process of applying to study abroad.
Since you have decided to study abroad, it seems like everyone has a piece of advice to offer. Do listen to them, for you never know when someone can actually be of some help, but have a clear idea of what you have in your mind. Listen to all, but filter what you need. Do not follow so and so's daughter who studied 5 years back in America or your uncle's son.
2.Choosing your course/program of choice:
Coming down to the most important part of studying abroad, what do you want to study abroad? Is it that specialized photography course youÃ¢ve always dreamt of or is it a full-time academic course?
While choosing a program/course of your choice, make sure you have a clear mind on the future career you wish to pursue. The course must be somehow a path to fulfill those ambitions. Make sure it is either related to your interests or your academic record till now.
We request you to have realistic expectations at this point about your capacities and aptitudes; for example, do not go in for a singing course if all you can do is croak!
TIP: Please do not choose a course/program just because you want to study abroad and it is easy to get in. You will simply be wasting time, money and resources.
If you are still extremely unsure about the course you wish to pursue, we advice you to visit a career counselor and have a detailed session about your career.
3.Choosing the University or country:
Once you have chosen your course/program of choice, there are two ways you can proceed:
i. You have a country of preference: If there is some country you prefer and you wish to study there, don't bother looking at other countries. You may begin by looking for Universities which offer your course of choice in that country itself.
ii. You don't have a country of preference: In such cases, you may begin looking for the best Universities which offer your course and then narrow down your options,
Another few points that you must consider:
- Some countries are much more expensive in terms of living standards then others. Also, some countries are more friendly towards immigrants that others.
- Duration of course: Sometimes, the same course is of different durations at different Universities. Check out what suits you the most.
- Validity/accreditation of University: While choosing a University, make sure it is recognized and accredited by the proper concerning regulatory bodies. Make sure the degree you will receive in the end is a proper, valid degree.
Imagine getting an invalid degree at the end of it all!!!!!
4.Documents and validity of your previous degrees:
Before applying to study abroad, you must make sure that all your documents such as birth certificates, mark sheets and degrees are in order. Please be sure to check any spelling mistake, name discrepancies in these since these are very common in India but are totally unacceptable to all Embassies. Also, make sure you have a valid passport or apply for one immediately.
Make sure that your previous degree/study record is accepted in the country/University where you wish to apply.
For example, an undergraduate program lasts for 3 years in India (generally) and is accepted in the UK, where the duration is the same. But in the US and most European countries, an undergraduate program lasts for 4 years. In such cases, you need to have an extra diploma/certificate course which is equivalent of a year of study to be eligible to apply for a Master's program.
5.Desire to win, learn and succeed in life:
If you are one of those students whose primary aim of studying abroad is to simple enjoy life and party around, we are sorry to inform you that you will be wasting your time abroad. While enjoying your life is definitely an important aspect of your student life, the main purpose of you studying abroad is to STUDY. If you do not fulfill this, then sadly enough you may not even get your degree.
Also remember that apart from only academic growth, living in a foreign country will offer innumerable opportunities to learn, grow and participate in many other activities. Make maximum use of these while you are there, since they have the potential to change your perception about many things and make you more prepared for a job.
Also, this point is probably most important in terms of your personal growth.
While studying abroad, remember that these years will not come again and lead them accordingly.
Well, we all know that studying abroad is expensive. Whether you can afford to study abroad is something only you can decide. Remember that the duration of your course, city, accommodation and University are all determiners of your total cost.
Choose a slightly less famous University, compromise a luxurious home to a basic room and choose to walk sometimes.
It's okay; remember that in the long run these things do not matter at all. Not only will you learn to spend wisely, you will also learn to live with minimum and happily so.
Even if you can afford your studies, you must apply for scholarships, especially if you are an exceptional student.
Also, once you are abroad, make it a point to find a job to fund your lifestyle at least. It will help you gain experience, polish your skills and increase your confidence too!
Well, it isn't that difficult now, isn't it?
The key to studying abroad is prior planning and research. Now that you have a basic outline of what comes first, you can begin your process. Remember to stay clear on what you want. Happy searching and good luck!