The UK has some of the finest universities in the world, with four UK establishments in the global top ten including Oxford and Cambridge. America holds the top spot, with five universities in the top ten lists such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. For various reasons, some students would like to experience a different culture as they study for their undergraduate degree, and it’s now easier than ever to study abroad. Here we’ll discuss some of the steps you need to take when it comes to studying in a foreign country.
You can conduct a thorough search into universities overseas offering the best courses and facilities. If you choose an American university, you don’t have to worry about learning the language in the same way as you do when attending one in the EU with its range of languages.
Having said that, there are many academic institutions where you can learn in English in many cases – John Cabot University in Italy and Maastricht University in the Netherlands are just two of the most popular. You need to check the university website to be 100% sure of this fact before you start packing! See if you can get over for a few days if possible to take in any open days and special events they may be held ahead of time.
When you study in the UK you can be sure that the government will pay your multi-thousand-pound fees for the three or four years you wish to study, but if you’re going to study abroad you will more often than not need to find the funds yourself.
Although there may be a variety of scholarships and bursaries available overseas, as a foreign student you may not always be entitled to them.
Also think about how you are going to support yourself when it comes to accommodation, shopping, and entertainment. You may even be asked to provide financial proof of how you plan to do this before you are accepted onto a course.
If you plan to study in a different language, then you are expected to provide proof that you have a good understanding of the language that won’t hinder your studies. Your GCSE and A-Level results aren’t always guaranteed to be valid in certain countries, and you may even have to go through prior study to meet that country’s educational standards.
Send your application off early for the best chances of acceptance, there will possibly be competition for places from students who are already resident in that country who may naturally be given a higher priority.
Spending time abroad for longer than a few weeks or months will mean you need to obtain a specific educational visa so that you can complete your studies. You will probably be asked to provide proof of this before being formally accepted onto a course in a foreign country. Legislation regarding immigration is fluid, and subject to change, so always keep an eye on this through the relevant government portals.
Always get comprehensive medical and health insurance before you leave the country for prolonged periods because once you leave the UK your access to the NHS will be limited unless you are studying in the EU and have a valid European Health Insurance Card. Some countries may even require you to be vaccinated accordingly before you are given the all-clear to become enrolled as a student. It’s always best to get a full health check from your doctor before you leave.
Once you’ve been accepted onto a course in a foreign country and have jumped through all the hoops, you can breathe a sigh of relief and break the good news to your family and friends. Think about what you will need to pack, how long you will be away for, and in a foreign country pay special attention to the kind of clothing and electrical adaptors you are going to need. Book your flight as early as you can to get the best deals – why not fly out a few weeks early to allow yourself time to immerse into the new culture?
Studying abroad can be a quite challenging but very rewarding experience at the same time. It’s likely to be full of ups and downs, but you are gaining valuable life experience along the way and you’ll make memories you will never forget. Check out our blog, Facebook and Twitter for more information on how to make the most out of your time at university, at home or abroad.