Choosing the right foreign university

So you’re all determined that you’re going abroad for higher studies now but have you picked the right university yet? With hundreds of educational institutions to choose from, picking the right one may seem like a monumental task when you first begin your search.

The best way to start your search is by making a shortlist of all the institutions that you might want to consider. Then you can start narrowing down the list of potential institutions by weighing up each institution according to certain factors that are important to you. Here’s a list of some key considerations that will help you find the right fit.

Field of study:

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What would you like to study? What are you passionate about? It’s important that you pick the field of study at first. Remember that it has to be something you want to study and pursue in your career life. It’s alright; it doesn’t have to be a specific decision right away as you can find various courses under your favorite subject. For instance, if you like Science, with a bit of research, you can find a wide range of subjects that universities around the world are offering like Astrophysics, Biophysics, Biochemistry etc. Once you pick out your favorites, you can simply find out which universities are offering the courses you listed down.

“I started by picking my preferred courses first and it made my life easier!”

Said Ishrat, a first-year Biotechnology student at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Location:

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Now, that you know what you want to study, and you have a list of the hundreds of universities offering the courses, it’s time to filter out the ones situated in the locations that fit your criteria. Yes, you do need to set your criteria for the location in order to narrow down the list of the universities. We often think that we can adjust once we get somewhere but it’s not entirely true if you’re going for studies.

“There will be so much going on already, like dealing with the never-ending nerve-racking paperwork, the new lifestyle and you need to make friends too! What if you can’t tolerate the weather and get sick?”

Noshin, a Computer Science student at Texas University, Arlington told us

So, if the location does not play well for you, you will be in trouble.

You can pick your desired locations on the basis of factors like climates, cost of living, lifestyle etc. For instance, in the U.S., the Southern region is known for its humid summers and mild winters with a low cost of living whereas the Western region is known for its geographically diverse area, it’s very mild and damp climates to very hot ones and the slightly higher cost of living than the Southern area and so on. Once you pick the zone for you, you can then choose among Urban, Suburban and Rural settings that differ in population, accessibility, environment and cost of living.

Tuition fees and scholarships:

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Now, that you have the list of universities located in your preferred settings, it’s time to sort out the ones that match your budget and need. Don’t get overwhelmed with the numbers because universities around the world provide a number of scholarships to international students like you. Scholarships can vary; they could be based on your previous academic scores, test scores, achievements in extracurricular activities & sports, leadership activities etc. So, don’t forget to list down your achievements; you never know how something you did for fun could help you embark on a life-changing journey towards a future you always dreamed of.

“I remember how the really high tuition fees made me think I could never afford it, but I still pushed myself and with just a bit more research, I found out I was already eligible for a scholarship because of my test scores!”

Mou, a Human Resource Management student at Monash University, Malaysia told us

So, it is essential to check the university websites and make the most out of the information provided. If needed, you can also contact the representatives from the admission offices of the universities. They will be more than happy to help you out.

University ranking:

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Pick the universities that have a better ranking because they are there for a reason”

Said Dyuti, a Computer Science student at Auckland University, New Zealand.

Better universities not only have better facilities, on-campus part-time jobs, and assistantships that match you, they also have a better environment and will add more value to your career.

If you think you are an extraordinary applicant and your previous achievements can really light up your college application, these criteria should be the first one to consider for you. Although top-ranked universities might charge higher tuition fees, yet they give away a huge amount of scholarships every year to talented and charismatic students.

Other things to consider:

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Other than the basic criteria, there are things you cannot possibly avoid like the type of on-campus living facilities, diversity of the students attaining degrees from the universities, on-campus job facilities etc. The importance of these factors depends on your preference and way of living. All these information are usually available at the university or college websites. However, if not, you will always find the contact information of the college representative who is there to answer your queries anytime.

Finding the right fit for you can be really nerve-racking and time-consuming but you need to trust yourself and make the most of the time spent on the research with a clear direction.

Talk to people who have been there and learn from their mistakes. Remember to always keep your research game strong to stay updated.

Good luck!

Want to study abroad? Things you need to consider before the big decision

Let’s be honest. It’s so exciting and easy to dream about studying abroad and getting to discover and experience new places and cultures. So exciting that we often forget that it’s not as simple as it seems. And so before you know, your dreams of earning a foreign degree might turn into a nightmare without proper consideration and preparation.

So are you really made for this? If so, are you really ready yet?

It’s true that you don’t have to have the personality of an experienced globetrotter to study abroad but you need to be a few things. Here’s your checklist before you even consider studying abroad for a foreign degree as an option.

1. The new responsibilities:

First of all, you need to be honest with yourself. Wanting to be mature, independent, and consistently on top of things is okay, but you need to face the reality. Everyone who goes abroad for higher studies will be facing new responsibilities. There will be no one there to make sure you attend your classes or your hand in intelligible essays while maintaining your chores. You would need to arrive with a willingness to take responsibility for yourself.

“Finding a place to live in, cooking and cleaning while studying and working, handling the never-ending paper works- all on my own, thousands of miles away from home; it’s intimidating!” said Ishrat, a first year at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

2. Letting go:

Let’s get real. You will have to be able to give up seeing your family and let go of your rigid circle of friends. You’ll be there all alone while they’ll all be back at home. Truth is they’ll move on and adjust at some point to living without you. You will have to do the same without letting it affect you because you’ll be having essays to work on.

“Letting go of my family for 4 entire years was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s so hard to concentrate when you constantly feel homesick!” said Anik, Texas University Arlington, USA.

3. Adapting:

It’s obvious that when you’re studying abroad, wherever you go, you’ll have to face new accents, foods, social situations, and traditions. You can’t expect vacations or time offs for Eid and Pujas. You need to be adaptable and flexible.

“Dealing with culture shock was a real challenge for me but thankfully my extrovert nature helped me adapt very easily. However, I’ve seen my introvert friends suffering to adjust so hard. It’s really important to prepare yourself first if you’re not extremely adaptive” said Dyuti, Auckland University, New Zealand.

4. Multitasking:

It’s impossible to adjust out there alone if you’re not a multitasker. Unless you’re living with family members out there, you will have to do all your household chores like cleaning or cooking for yourself while you excel in your studies and work after classes! Also, what’s the point of all the hard work to get there if you can’t plan a few trips around? Exactly. Multitasking is the key to surviving out there.

“I did my research before applying so I knew how it was going to be. It’s really helpful if you already have a little bit of part-time job experience besides your studies. That way, you’ll learn a little bit of multitasking and it will help you a lot” – Ananya, Technical University of Munich, Germany.

5. Know what you’re doing:

Seriously, if you’re planning to study abroad on a subject that you’re not good at, don’t go for it just because it gets you there. It will immensely affect your future. Sure, getting to experience a whole new place and cultures would be exciting but you’ve got a life to live after that. What happens next? Fine, we get that it will be a life-changing journey for you but you’ve still got to excel, you know? The degree will be useless otherwise.

“I was so good at Math back in school that my teachers recommended that I study economics and statistics in future, but I had my mind set on an independent life abroad. So, I wasted 4 years of my life on the wrong subject thinking it would eventually work out. Well, it didn’t”, said Fariha, a former Arts student at Monash University, Malaysia.

So, don’t just go for it because you want a new life-changing journey. Choose your program wisely.

Studying abroad can be a daunting and exciting experience altogether. It’s not impossible if you can push yourself in the right direction. As long as you’re choosing the right program for yourself and you believe it’s worth giving up a few things in life for it, you’re good to go.
Good luck!