Planning your postgradute abroad!
It’s not as simple as applying abroad and jumping on a plane – there’s lots of planning required!
If you’re going to study as an international postgraduate straight after your undergraduate degree, have a chat with some lecturers, or an international placements officer at your university who will be able to advise you on studying abroad. There are probably many people on campus you could go to for advice.
Interests and priorities
The first stage of the process is to simply sit down, have a think and ask yourself some questions. Have a think about these:
• Where would you like to go?
• What do you plan on studying?
• Why do you want to do it?
• Would you prefer living in a busy city, quiet town or even the countryside?
• Would you like to live with a host family, in an apartment or in a dorm?
• Will you be on a budget while you are abroad?
• Will you be looking for part-time work?
• Would you like to learn a language?
• How will studying abroad help you in the long-term?
The Chosen One
We can’t stress enough how important research is. This isn’t a case of choosing somewhere and catching a train for a couple of hours. You’ll be thrown into a completely new world, hundreds of miles away from home.
Make sure you spend a serious amount of time investigating your chosen university. Look at what’s available in terms of modules, course breakdown, how to apply, selection criteria and finances.
Be realistic too. Unless studying abroad has been a long-term goal you’ve been working towards, being able to afford it financially might be a struggle. When it’s all added up, it can be extremely expensive. It might be worth doing some part-time work to boost your finances advance.
Submit an application
So you’ve decided on the country, course, researched and now you’re finally in a position where you can submit an application to an international institution. Take your time to thoroughly fill in the application.
This, alongside your lecturer references, will be the only the thing your assessor has to decide on. Now’s the time to sell your skills!
Finding a home
Applying to study abroad isn’t actually the final step – it’s just the start. After sending your application, you’ll usually be contacted by the university with either a rejection (hopefully not!) or an offer.
Hopefully, it’ll be good news and then the serious preparation starts. You’ll be asked to apply for accommodation and put a deposit down.
For most international students, this really is the point of no return.
If you’re studying abroad for a year, or even a semester as part of your undergraduate degree then luckily you’ll have some foundations in place. Your university will more than likely arrange meetings to plan the administrative aspects of moving abroad. This can include information packs about the course and contact details.
If you’re returning to education then you will have to take responsibility for most of this and this will obviously require you to liaise with the international university you’ve applied to.
And then you're on the plane...
You’re ready to go! The start of the next chapter in your academic life starts here. Remember to make sure you have all the relevant forms, documents and visa’s before you set off!