Many students dream of studying abroad. Is there a better way to expand your knowledge than absorbing a new culture as well as your new academic course? However, the path to arriving in your chosen destination can be a daunting one; there is so much to consider! Below, we break down some of the common questions raised by students considering becoming an international student.
How to get started
Whilst you may dream of studying abroad, you won’t be able to fulfil that desire until you have a solid plan in place regarding location, institution and course. Some students pick a country as a starting point, whereas others focus upon a particular university that they want to attend. However you decide, make sure you draw up a shortlist of options and research the local area, culture, admission criteria and costs.
Generally speaking, if you are moving to a completely new country you will more than likely need a student visa. Currently, study within the EU is permitted to British students – and vice versa – however this could change post Brexit.
If your period of study is three months of less, typically you will need to apply for a tourist visa. If your length of international study is longer you will need a student visa. It is worth remembering that you cannot apply for a student visa until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university. Give yourself as much time as possible as getting a visa does not happen overnight.
Financial help studying abroad
It is notoriously difficult to secure a student loan to fund studying abroad. However, there are other options to make life as an international student tangible. These can include scholarships, fellowships, studentships, sponsorships, grants and bursaries.
The best place to discover this information is directly from the university you will be attending (fingers crossed)! The website of the school should contain this information but you can also get in contact with the institute directly, they should have a bursarial team who will be able to help you.
If the university you have applied to has student halls you will likely be permitted a place there. Most student halls comprise of single en suite rooms and a shared kitchen. Student halls accommodation is often given to international students as a priority.
If your university does not have student accommodation you will need to rent privately. You will be able to find shared accommodation using online portals. Your university’s student care team should be able to offer advice and help you find local accommodation. If money is no object you could rent your own apartment during your studies.
Working overseas as a student
If you want to work whilst studying you will need to take a look at your student visa. In some countries there are restrictions on the amount of paid work you can do. Most countries allow around 20 hours work during term time and unlimited during student holidays. However, it is best to look specifically at your visa or discuss with your university.
If you didn’t require a student visa to study in the country of your choice you may be able to work as much as you desire around your course. Again, check with your university or your student union, they will be able to give you all the specific details you require.