Introducing International Education
Studying abroad is an opportunity for students to have a different learning experience in countries around the world.
WHY STUDY ABROAD?
There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset, and expanding future employment prospects while the prospect of leaving home and heading off into the unknown is daunting but studying abroad is also an exciting challenge that often leads to improved career opportunities and a broader understanding of the way the world works.
- HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Once you’ve made up your mind about where you want to study, you should start to think about choosing a program and a university, if you haven’t already. You’ll then want to look closely at the courses offered by the institutions on your shortlist, as well as researching the local area and lifestyle, admission requirements, and costs.
Once you’ve firmly decided on your program and institution, you should start to think about your application(s). Application processes differ depending on the university and the country, but generally, each institution will provide full details of how to submit your application on the official website.
Applying for a student visa; remember that in most cases you won’t be able to apply for one until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university. Each stage can take several months, so allow as much time as possible.
- What are the Application Process?
Entry requirements differ based on the level of study the student is applying to, it also varies widely between universities and between countries.
Most program applications will require transcripts, short answer application questions, and an application fee.
Speaking generally, however, if you are applying for an undergraduate degree you will be asked to show that you have completed your secondary education to a standard that is in line with the required grades (e.g. your GPA, A-level grades, or equivalent) for the program you’re applying tofor the while on the other hand, if you are applying for a graduate degree you will be required to have a bachelor’s degree and/or several years of work experience.
For non-native English speakers wanting to study in English-speaking countries, it is also highly likely that you’ll need to provide proof of your English-language proficiency by taking an English-language test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Similar tests may be required for those studying in other languages. Language requirements may be higher at the Master’s level since you will be dealing with a more complex academic language.
- WHAT DOCUMENTATION SHOULD I SUBMIT WITH MY APPLICATION?
- The school’s application form. This usually consists of simple questions like personal details and details about the program that you are applying for. Read it carefully and fill out all the required fields. Do not forget to sign it.
- Your grades from high school and college. These documents must be translated into English. Some schools even require that your high school or translator send the grades directly to them.
- Degree Certificates / Transcripts
- A copy of your passport so that the school can issue a visa letter. To some countries, for example, Japan, you might also need to send copies of entry stamps and visas from previous visits.
- Proof that you meet the school’s English language requirements. In the U.S. the TOEFL test is usually requested while English and Australian universities prefer an IELTS exam. However, most universities approve both of these tests and many also accept the Cambridge exam. The scores required for entry depend on the school and program that you are applying for.
- Standardized tests If you are applying for degree programs in the US and some other countries you might need to take a standardized test such as SAT for undergraduate level and GMAT or GRE for Master programs.
- A financial statement to show that you can pay for your studies and living expenses. You will need a bank statement in English. It should preferably be a letter written by the bank that states how big your assets are and how much it corresponds to in the school’s currency. The letter must be signed and stamped by the bank. Read the school’s instructions for more information about what amounts you need and how they should be documented.
- Motivation letters and reference letters. Universities in the English-speaking world don’t only look at your grades. It is also common that you are asked to submit references and motivation letters to prove that you are a suitable student. A good motivation letter can help you get accepted even if your grades are not great and it can also help you get a scholarship from the school, so put some effort into these letters. See samples and advice about reference letters and motivation (where are the samples???)
- CV / Resume
Also, note that various institutions have extra requirements which are often stated on their websites or you can send inquiries via mail to the institution of choice.
- FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS
To work out the cost of studying abroad, you need to consider the average tuition fees for international students in your chosen country, as well as the cost of living essentially. The cost of living would include things such as house rent, transportation, groceries, etc
As a point of reference, the average tuition fees for international students studying in the UK start at £10,000 a year. An additional £9,135 per year is needed to cover living costs (with more needed if you study in London).
In some countries, there are no tuition fees at all. Notable examples include Germany and Norway.
- Working and Studying
Part-Time Work Regulations exist in different countries. The rules and regulations vary from country to country and could change at any time. It is worth checking the status quo with your sponsor institution and the embassy before departing.
A quick overview of the rules in each destination are covered below:
The UK and Ireland have similar rules about working whilst studying as international students. In these countries, you are allowed to work 20 hours a week during your term/semester and 40 hours per week during the holidays.
In the USA you can work for up to 20 hours per week during the term/semester and up to 40 hours a week during holiday periods. You are restricted to work “On-campus”, although this term can be misleading as it doesn’t necessarily mean within the confines of the Universities buildings, if your employer is educationally related to the institution then this work can be permissible.
In Australia as with those regions already mentioned you are limited to working 20 hours part-time each week whilst your course is running, outside of this period you are allowed to work as many hours as you wish.
In The Netherlands, you are allowed to work up to 40 hours per week in the summer break (June, July, and August) and 10 hours per week part-time for the rest of the year. Your employer will have to apply for a work permit on your behalf but this is a straightforward process. If you are coming from within the EU/EEA you are entitled to work as many hours as you chose throughout the year.
In conclusion, studying abroad should be an enjoyable, life-changing experience so be aware of maintaining a good study/work/social life balance. For example, if eight hours a day in a laboratory followed by four hours of part-time work every day prevents you from making friends and experiencing the country you have chosen to study in, it may be worthwhile reducing your part-time work commitments.
Do note that it is your responsibility as an international student to ensure you are not working illegally, failure to follow the allowances of your chosen country (for example by working more hours than you are permitted) could see your Visa being withdrawn and you would be deported without the qualification you were trying to achieve.
Times Higher Education
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