While choosing ‘the’ university to pursue higher education, each of us invest a lot of time and money. Those who invest a lot of time in doing their fair bit of research often succeed. Although, many European universities have made the application process considerably easy, however, forthcoming undergraduates thinking about studying abroad will still need to consider a lot of factors before boarding their flight. Overseas education experts conclude that the success of your higher education degree is directly proportional to the amount of time spent in researching the college. It will determine whether your time at the university will be one worth remembering or a discouraging damp squib.
Normally, most of you would start by scanning the internet for a course at a university you fancy going to. But should it be? However, it is advisable that before making any decisions, you should consider your personality type. Do you have the resilience to cope with the culture shock? Wherever you go, you are likely to be in the minority. Often, many of us end up choosing the country where we have friends, family, or personal links to help us deal with the culture shock. Though many students find the prospect of living in a new environment a major attraction, the effects of culture shock shouldn’t be taken too lightly. It is a psychological process that will affect you, so it’s best to understand it and be prepared for it; no matter how close or far away you live from home, culture shock can greatly affect your ability to successfully study in a new environment. Moreover, for your degree to help you in the longer term, your course should match your interests, career aspirations, and skills.
Start by categorising two or three best institutions in terms of international rankings for each country and topic of interest. Also, look to see if they have reasonable numbers of international students enrolled, which would be proof of university’s aptness at dealing with the international students. For those, for whom economical cost is a major factor should consider studying in a medium-sized town. Then language barrier is another factor to think about. Even if you have mastered the basics of the local language at school, you need to be ready for the shock of realising that however good you may be, many would fail to understand what you say.
Pick your course carefully
Taking advice from parents or a personal guide/tutor may help to refine your search criteria. For instance, studying in Europe, where the undergraduate courses taught in English are segregated from those which are not, is a good place to start. Many European universities have gone all out to recruit international students over the past few years. But it would be fatal for your career to assume that just because entry requirements are less stringent, you are in for an easy ride. International Universities work very differently, they have attendance requirements, small tutorial groups, and exams every eight weeks. From day one, students have to be involved in their own learning process. The biggest advantage, for me, of studying abroad is the fact that students there get more one-to-one time with tutors and professors, and regular interaction with their peers. Universities in Europe, for instance, are looking for diversity, who might want an international career in business, law, or in the health sciences, and for students who are inquisitive about the world.
In progressively competitive jobs market, students distinguish themselves through the educational choices they make. Studying abroad brings a significant number of opportunities like proximity to a host of international organisations, multinational corporations, and much more. Many universities run open days – you should go, if you can afford to. It’s important to be positive, practical, and committed to solving the pragmatic issues that may arise while studying abroad.
Accommodation is a common concern. Showing up at the start of course with a backpack and nowhere to live is not a great start to your career. Not all universities have halls, so as with everything else, groundwork is crucial. Another factor which plays a critical role is that finding somewhere to live won’t be as easy as at home, so making extra time for research is a good start. Sorting out banking issues may also prove to be a tricky situation. For instance, in some European countries, you can’t register without an address hence you will have to register with the council in order to get a bank account.
Despite all worries about digs, the application faff, and the initial banking issues, would I recommend to study abroad? The answer is a big YES! It makes you view the world differently, you grow up a lot, and ultimately it gives you an alternative outlook on life.