How to choose where to study abroad

Choosing which university to go to is an exciting process and it’s even more exciting if you’ve decided to study abroad.

With so many destinations to choose from it can be difficult to narrow your choices down but we’ve got some advice to help you choose the right country for you.

Here are our top tips on how to choose where to study abroad:

Is studying abroad right for you?

Ok, studying abroad sounds amazing but is it really the right choice for you?

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I like travelling to places I’ve never been before?
  • Will I be happy being away from my family and friends for weeks/months at a time?
  • Will I enjoy exploring a new city and culture?
  • Will academic study abroad help to shape me professionally, academically, and personally?

If the answer is “yes” to all or most of those questions then it’s time to start looking for universities abroad.

If you answered “no” to those questions then maybe you’d be better looking for universities closer to home.

Why study abroad?

There are many fantastic reasons to study abroad. Spending time abroad without friends and family often results in students having a higher level of maturity.

Learning that you can live by yourself in a foreign country is a great confidence boost and studying abroad really is a once in a lifetime experience.

Total immersion is a great way to improve or learn another language. You’ll usually find that your fellow students will be only too happy to help you brush up your language skills.

International experience is also a great CV booster and you could find yourself with an international circle of professional contacts by the time you’ve graduated.

Where do you want to study?

You could study in almost any country in the world but it’s important to consider what really matters to you and what you want from your university experience to help you narrow down the choices.

For example:

  • Do you want to study in an English speaking country?
  • Do you want to be in a city or would you prefer a more rural campus?
  • Do you want easy to access transport links so you can get home often?

When do you want to start studying?

The academic year varies from country to country and some universities will require you to apply at least six months before you want to attend, so plan accordingly.

Nine months to a year is an ideal amount of time to plan your move abroad and find the perfect university.

Find potential universities

Hopefully now you’ve narrowed down a country and you’ll probably already have some universities in mind.

It’s vital that you check with each university what’s involved in the application process, what’s involved in the course, and other important information such as do they provide accommodation, what fees are involved, and what do you need to provide for yourself.

You’ll need to be sure that the university and course you’re thinking of applying to meets your needs. Try asking yourself the following questions to see if your academic dreams match the reality of the course you’re considering:

  • What are the entry requirements (and will you meet them)?
  • What are the application deadlines?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • Is the course taught in English or the local language?
  • Where is the campus located?
  • What facilities are offered on campus?
  • Is accommodation provided by the university?
  • What extracurricular activities are on offer?
  • Will I need/have the opportunity to undertake work experience during the course?
  • Are there are volunteering opportunities involved in the course?
  • Does the university provide any other services? (E.g. medical insurance etc.)
  • Is the degree qualification internationally recognised?
  • Is the university well known and regarded well worldwide?
  • Are there any compulsory classes (such as local language classes) that you’ll need to take?
  • What is the exchange rate and local cost of living?

Think about how you’ll finance your studies

Student finance situations are different if you’re studying abroad so you need to be clear about how you’re going to pay for your studies.

You’ll also need to find out whether you can work abroad whilst you’re studying and whether you’ll need any visas or other documents to do so.