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10 things to consider before you go!

 Studying abroad is a massive decision. This next chapter in your education will open up some amazing opportunities in your life, but are loads of factors you need to consider in order to make the most of it. The Graduate Guide talk you through the top 10.


This is a factor that obviously needs to be decided early on. How different will the quality of life be in your chosen country? Some postgraduate applications can take up to 12 months. It’s probably a good idea to start thinking about where you want to go as early as 18 months in advance.


Education and tuition fees vary dramatically depending on where in the world you want to go to. In Europe, UK students pay domestic tuition fees, which often work out to be much cheaper.

But in countries such as the USA and Australia, international tuition fees are significantly higher than what you would expect to pay at home (stats are available at www.mastersportal.eu).

Unfortunately if you are unsuccessful in securing funding, you will have to pay for everything, including travel costs and health insurance which can be very expensive. Budgeting is necessary in order to meet all your everyday.

Academic reputation?

Studying abroad may offer some fantastic life experiences but you need to remember why you’re there in the first place; to build on your academic career.

Thinking about the international prestige of your chosen institution – does another university in the UK offer a better alternative?

The Times University Guide ranks the best universities in the world by region and subject, which can be viewed online.

Entry requirements?

Many universities, particularly those in the US, are likely to only accept highly qualified international graduates. Candidates with a 2.1 and above stand the best chance.

International applications also require strong letters of recommendation from your university tutors, and your acceptance on a course may also be dependent on your ability to prove financial support. Some American universities will also charge up to $100 to cover application administration costs.

Entrance tests?

In non-English speaking countries you will usually be required to sit a language ability test.

In English speaking countries you will have to sit a standard aptitude exam. The most common of these is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which tests your verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as analytical writing skills and critical thinking.

You may have to sit subject-specific entrance tests, for example, the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is required for business students.


If you can demonstrate some level of linguistic ability during your application process, this will obviously impress the person assessing your application and knowing the native language will also make your social experience much more enjoyable.

If you’re applying to a university in a non-English speaking country and don’t speak the native tongue think seriously about whether you can adapt to the language change. Some countries even offer the course in English so this might not be even that big a problem.

Either way, language lessons will only enhance your experience.


You will generally only need a visa if you plan on studying outside of the EU.

Students will normally be issued with a non-immigrant study visa. You can apply for this through the country’s embassy or immigration service but you need to check whether or not your visa grants you permission to work, as some countries impose working restrictions upon students.

Visa applications are lengthy, and you will most likely have to prove your place on a course before your travel documents are granted so apply for both your course and your visa in plenty of time. You should contact your international university of choice about the exact papers you will need.


Should you get injured or fall ill overseas, you could acquire quite a hefty bill for medical treatment. You need to ensure that you get yourself covered with insurance for any eventuality. Choose a reputable company, and buy an insurance package with full medical coverage for your entire stay.


Accommodation is obviously a vital part of your studies abroad. Contact your university in regards to finding accommodation. Your university application may guarantee you a place in university halls and housing. They will be able to give you information on local estate agents and landlords.

Making friends?

You’re going to be hundreds of miles away from your family and current friends so making mates is vital when it comes to international study. You also get the chance to mix with a large international student population who have come from all over the world.