When you’re looking to study abroad, you make a lot of potentially life-changing decisions along the way that require thorough planning. We’ve compiled a few valuable tips you can follow to make the most of your study life abroad.
Strategy 1: Study Abroad in an Affordable City
Studying in big cities in most of the Western world is bound to get expensive. Cities like New York, London, or Toronto come with a high cost of living, even for people who live and work there regularly. So, it is crucial that you look for cities where the education is of high quality but also has a cost-effective living experience.
Keep in mind factors such as
- Daily Expenses
All of these factors add up to a total that majorly contributes to your expenses. If you choose to study in a small city, it’s possible for you to find better opportunities after graduating. Finding housing or work after finishing your studies in smaller cities is less competitive.
You can also live in small cities near big cities if you’d like to cut costs while being near big-city opportunities.
Strategy 2: Study Abroad at the Right Institution
Evaluate yourself on your strengths, and interests, and set your academic and career goals. Considering these goals, make sure to select either a college, university, or vocational school. Each of these types of institutions has their own benefits.
Many colleges offer streamlined pathways to careers in some of the most demand-heavy fields such as Computer Science, Agriculture, Cybersecurity, Medicine, Data Science, etc. Therefore, colleges are a popular post-senior secondary education choice for many international students. College courses are typically shorter than university degrees and tend to have smaller class sizes.
Universities are the most well-known post-senior secondary education option for international students. They offer a variety of degrees that lead to a wide range of careers where your university credential is highly respected and recognized as proof of your proficiency and skill.
Find a list of the best universities in the world here.
Vocational schools teach international students applied skills that they can use in a specialized field of their choice. Other names for vocational schools are career, technical, or trade schools. Choosing a vocational school means that you’ll be ready to join the workforce equipped with skills as soon as you graduate.
A university education is often pressured upon students, even at times when a college or vocational course would be a better fit for their academic and career goals. Some students even settle for the first college or university they look at without researching or considering alternatives to the course.
Strategy 3: Plan ahead for your Accommodation
Finding an affordable place to live can be incredibly difficult, especially for students in big cities. Planning ahead of time for your accommodation can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
You can choose one of three accommodation options:
- On-campus accommodation: This type of housing is either on or near campus, and usually comes with a meal-ready plan. First years are usually recommended to stay in on-campus accommodation.
- Off-campus accommodation: This type of housing is an apartment or house that may or may not be shared with other roommates or students.
- Homestay: This type of housing involves living with a host family, where you can learn firsthand the culture, practice your language skills, and make new friends easily.
Tips to keep in mind when looking for housing:
- Read the lease agreement carefully before signing anything. You can even get the guidance of a trusted friend or family member. Also, try to visit the space to make sure it is as it’s advertised.
- Be prepared to submit your first month and last month’s rent before moving in.
- If you’re living off-campus, make sure to budget for common utilities such as water and electricity as some off-campus rentals don’t include them as part of the rent.
- Plan your method of transportation to your institution to be comfortable, cheap and regular so you don’t miss a day unintentionally.
Start looking for accommodation as early as possible. Finding housing a week before your classes start is not usually realistic or feasible.
Strategy 4: Study the Language
Understanding a country’s language is one of the most important things to be prepared for. It is crucial to fully understand, read, and speak the country’s official language at an academic and social level.
Passing the language proficiency test (like IELTS or TOEFL) is not the sole reason to learn English. To get the most out of your education, you will need to be as fluent as possible in your language of study.
Learn more about the English proficiency test preparation courses that Neelaruns Institute provides.
Here are some ways you can incorporate language learning into your daily life:
- Read novels, news, guidebooks, etc.
- Write a journal
- Keep a list of words to add to your vocabulary
- Conversing with others who speak the language
- Noting down names of common-place things
Strategy 5: Understand the Culture
Take the time before you move to learn the culture, customs, and mannerisms of the country you’re moving to. This is a great way to deal with culture shock as well as homesickness.
Some of the things you can do to understand the culture of the country you’re moving to are:
- Local Slang words and phrases
- Holidays and festivals
Learning and preparing for your destination is a great way to make sure that you feel more comfortable when you arrive there.
The decision to study abroad is one of the first hard decisions you’ll make among a whole bunch and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. But if you are serious about having to study abroad, it is significantly important that you take your academic and career goals seriously and put hard work into them.