Want to study abroad? 5 things to do to get you started

It's no surprise that many youngsters today consider overseas education for higher studies. Picture: Supplied

It's no surprise that many youngsters today consider overseas education for higher studies. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 8, 2023


Studying abroad is a transformative decision, catapulting a student's education and career graph many notches higher.

It's no surprise that many youngsters today consider overseas education for higher studies.

The benefits of global education range from exposure to new-age courses, participating in the latest research and innovation; and enhanced job prospects.

While all this makes sense, many crucial steps need to be taken in advance to make this experience worthwhile.

Study abroad counsellors from MSM Unify - a leading global higher education platform offering 50,000+ courses from 1,400 institutes over 20 countries - shared the top five aspects that every student must consider when planning international education.

Here they are:

Step 1 - Research about the course, country, and culture

These three C's define the success of your study abroad experience. The checklist should begin with:

  • Understanding your academic inclination
  • Finding an appropriate course in your chosen field
  • Selecting an appropriate top-rate institute
  • Choosing the country for higher study
  • Understanding the host country's geo-political situation and culture at large

Each of these steps has multiple checklists.

While a student's career may not be limited to their area of study, choosing a course in alignment with academic interest offers the necessary kickstart for jobs.

When choosing the courses, consider the present job prospects and a future outlook too.

For example, jobs related to automation, data, and analytics will continue to be in demand even after five years, as per industry estimates.

When selecting an institute, it's important to directly speak to institute representatives and clear all doubts in advance.

It's important to have all the details about effective fee structures, scholarship options (if applicable), yearly academic roster, department lecturers, placement support, and academy-industry connections.

All such queries determine how worthwhile the study abroad experience can be.

When choosing a host country, it's important to consider its geopolitical standing.

Additionally, take the time to learn about the popular customs, traditions, and cultural norms of the country to ensure a smooth transition.

Step 2 - Understand visa and immigration requirements

Make sure you understand the visa and immigration requirements for studying in your chosen country.

Familiarize yourself with the application process, required documents, and any restrictions or limitations that may apply.

Following are the generic documents required for a student visa, more documents can be required as per host country specifications:

  • Passport with at least two blank pages and an expiry date beyond 180 days
  • A formal admission letter from the university
  • A printout of your online application
  • Evidence of language certification (if needed)
  • Evidence of financial means
  • Passport size photographs
  • Previous education record
  • Vaccination results (if required, it varies by the country)

Step 3 - Plan Your finances in advance - education loans, scholarships, and more to explore

Studying abroad is an expensive affair, hence resistance from many students.

When considering to study abroad, start with making a budget.

Consider all expenses such as tuition fees, accommodation charges, living expenses, travel costs, medical insurance, insurance for your devices (laptop/mobile phone, photography equipment), and any additional expenses that may arise.

Most leading banks and financial institutions offer educational loans against certain interest rates, guarantees, and payment terms.

If you plan on applying for an educational loan, you should begin the student visa application process six months before the start of your first semester.

So, you would have enough time to manage your finances and education loans.

Step 4 - Find accommodation options

Research the various accommodation options available in your host country.

Consider factors such as cost of accommodation, proximity to your educational institution, safety, and amenities provided.

The usual options include university dormitories, shared apartments, homestays, or private flats, depending on your preferences and budget.

If you decide to live in an apartment, you will also need to pay for tenant's insurance as well as additional utility costs like power, internet, and water use.

Step 5 - Transit services

Make sure to reserve your airline tickets in advance.

To track price changes and buy at the cheapest prices, consider looking at the alternatives with plenty of time to spare.

Also, familiarize yourself with the transit services available in the host country.

Research public transportation options such as buses, trains, and subways, their popular routes, schedules, and fares.

Additionally, look into student discounts or passes that may be available to help you save money on transportation costs.

Remember, studying abroad offers multi-dimensional experiences. The only way to make this worthwhile is by being prepared in advance.

Speak to other students who also plan to study abroad or others who have had this experience helps in adding more perspectives.