So, you’re thinking of going abroad to study? Exciting stuff. It’s a chance to learn at world-class institutions. You’ll gain invaluable life experiences and it’s a wonderful opportunity to take in a new culture. But be warned – it’s not for everyone. Be sure you’re ready for a long spell away from home in an unfamiliar setting. Check out our quick guide to make sure you’ve got everything covered.
Choosing, and getting on a course
Check whether the qualifications you have already will be accepted at your desired institution. A First, 2:1 or Masters degree should be enough to facilitate your onward study. Make sure you’ve passed any tests you need to get on the course, and apply to take those you haven’t. Check that the institution is accredited, and that the qualification will be accepted at home, should you plan to return. Do your research. Attend open days, and check your careers service for talks and information on overseas study.
When to apply
Apply 12 months in advance, but allow 18-24 months to put everything in place. Check closing dates for applications (they can vary from the UK), and make sure you have everything you need to complete the application process. There’s a lot involved, including references, academic and health certificates not to mention having the finance to pay for it all.
How much will it cost?
Well, tuition fees could cost a lot, especially if you’re studying outside of Europe. As an international student, you’ll pay higher fees. You’ll also probably have to pay for a visa application just to apply. If you’re studying within the EU, you shouldn’t have to pay any more than domestic students.
After tuition fees, there’s all the other stuff. Living expenses, accommodation, health insurance, travel, books… It all adds up.
Can I get funding?
Possibly. There are plenty ways of gaining funding for study or research abroad. Many awards and scholarship schemes are specific to a particular institution or country and funding from external bodies may also be possible. Organisations like the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Association of MBAs and the Fulbright Commission may be able to help. Also contact the institution which you are interested in joining for more information.
How to pay for it
You’ll want to make sure the fees are paid on time, and securely. Foreign exchange companies can provide that service, and without transfer fees. They can help protect payments from fluctuations in exchange rates, transferring them directly to the school, university or your own personal bank account. Companies like World First AU offer the best rates, better than your high street bank. If you’re making regular payments, they can fix your exchange rate for up to three years using forward contracts, so you’ll know exactly how much will arrive at the destination every term or month.
It really is a fantastic opportunity. Make the most of living in another country and make time to absorb the local culture… and good luck! Not that you’ll need it.