You’ve made your decision to go overseas for your higher education. Now, comes the challenging part – where to study? With so many opportunities and great universities across the world, finding the right place for you to continue your education, away from your home country can feel overwhelming.
Well, you don’t need to fret. In the guide here, you can simplify your decision with some expert tips to walk you through. Let’s get started.
A majority of young students dream of an overseas education – the idea of spending time in a new country, away from parents, enjoying the first whiff of independence, sounds thrilling. But, there’s far more to an overseas education than what you perceive on the surface.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you arrive at this decision:
These questions aren’t meant to intimidate you. Instead, they help you know more about yourself and the reasons why you are choosing an overseas education.
The reality is that while an overseas education is exciting, adventurous, and filled with opportunities, there may be some initial teething troubles and challenges you have to confront. Ensure that you are motivated to tackle these challenges before you make this huge decision.
While you may not have a clear picture of “where” you want to study, you probably would have an idea of the discipline you wish to pursue. Begin from there. Do a Google search of the places that offer a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Specialization in your preferred discipline.
For instance, a few countries are renowned for specific disciplines like Public Health in the UK, Health Sciences in the US, Economics in Germany, Finance in France, and so on. That doesn’t mean other countries don’t provide your preferred discipline.
Research all the universities that offer your preferred discipline and find out the courses that they offer in your program of choice.
Before you decide on the country and the university you want to study in, start by researching the features of different overseas education destinations.
For instance, countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Canada, and even Russia and New Zealand have a large number of Indian students. Studying in any one of these countries makes for a smoother transition period, as you are likely to find students from your home country.
But, don’t let the lack of a large Indian student community turn you away from researching other less conventional overseas education destinations like Japan, Korea, China, Latin American, and Eastern European countries.
Remember that all countries are unique and have something special to offer. Wherever you go, you are sure to experience a rich mix of culture, history, and food.
Next, decide if you prefer a big city vibe or if small, student towns appeal to you. Try to understand your preferences and look for destinations that match yours.
While your course may be taught in English, outside campus, you may have to interact and converse with people in the native language.
Would you be able to stay and learn in an environment where the natives may not speak English? If yes, you can choose any country that doesn’t have an English speaking population. On the other hand, if you prefer countries where people understand and speak English, then choose accordingly.
Make a shortlist of the countries that fit these two conditions. Make sure that your preferred discipline and degree is offered in the universities in the shortlisted countries.
By now, you would have a brief list of countries that suit your specific preferences. The next factor is to decide on the universities. How do you find out which university is the best? You can use global ranking indices like the QS World University Rankings , Times Higher Education World University Rankings to give you an idea of the educational ranking of your shortlisted universities.
With that said, don’t just focus on university rankings alone. Consider other factors like the student community, research opportunities, career options after graduation, and more before you make a final choice.
Studying overseas often comes at a high cost. Determine the tuition fees, hostel fees, living expenses, and other miscellaneous fees while doing your research on overseas education destinations.
Sometimes, the cost can be a deal breaker. Don’t get too fixated on a particular destination, only to find that the overall cost of the study program is beyond your means. Remember, several high-quality foreign universities offer you a reputable degree at your preferred budget. Make sure to do your research on the most affordable and high-quality overseas education that fits your budget.
Speaking of tuition fees, some universities offer funding, scholarships, or financial aids to deserving candidates. Make sure to research the different funding opportunities available, and find out whether any of these apply to you. Alternatively, a few universities arrange for education loans to students to pay for their program fees and other living expenses.
While researching overseas education destinations, consider whether the country you choose lets students take up part-time jobs, and, if yes, how many hours are you allowed to work in a week. Find out whether the university offers on-campus part-time jobs for students, which would be helpful to meet your financial needs.
The best place to find all this info is directly at the university’s website. Some universities have online portals that let potential students connect with current students (from your country). This window helps you get a clear picture of what to expect regarding fee structures, accommodation, lifestyle, education, course structure, career options, and more.
If you are planning to take an education loan in India, then make sure to approach different banks to find about the eligibility requirements, interest rates, loan repayment structure, and more. Plan your finances well before you start finalizing your overseas education destination.
Remember that the primary objective of a foreign education – apart from broadening your horizons and experiences – is to help you land the right career. Research the different career options provided by your shortlisted universities before you arrive at a decision.
Find out whether your study destination allows students to take up a job and start a career once they graduate. Analyze the current job market and other career trends in your preferred study destinations.
Your academic scores and performance in competitive tests like GMAT, GRE, IELTS, TOEFL, and others play a crucial role in determining whether you get selected in a particular university or not. While researching study destinations and universities, make sure to consider the eligibility requirements. Find out the tests you need to take and the qualifying marks you have to achieve.
Now, you come to the final stages of choosing your overseas education destination. By now, you should have a shortlist of preferred countries and universities. Refine your shortlist – remove places that don’t satisfy your criteria.
Arrange your preferred universities in order, from high to low. Then, make sure that you have the qualifying scores to apply for these universities. If your scores are low, you can consider retaking the qualifying tests or choose other alternative universities.
Once you have refined the shortlist and sorted out the finances and eligibility requirements, begin the process of applying to your preferred universities. Don’t just apply to a single university and hope for the best. Instead, keep your options wide open, so that you get to make the final choice.
Choosing your overseas study destination is one of the most significant decisions that you will make in your life. The choice you make today impacts your future career. So, make sure that you spend time researching the options and consulting educational experts and career sites before you arrive at your final decision. Have clear priorities and a focused approach.
Cheers and Best of Luck.
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