FAQS About Study Abroad Programs

Here are some frequently asked questions about study abroad programs

Flickr user the LEAF Project

Study abroad programs offer participants an irresistible combination of experiencing a new culture, and gaining a new global perspective, while at the same time obtaining a high-quality education. It opens your eyes to a whole new world out there. The type of experience and the quality of education you will get will depends on the country and college that your choose.

Which is the best place to study abroad?

There is no one option that is best for everybody. The country and college that is best for you will depend on what you are hoping to get out studying abroad and the experience. Your major can also play a big role, depending on the program’s focuses. You should also consider language fluency. The cost of tuition and the cost of living will also influence your choices.

What are the admission requirements for a study abroad program?

Admission requirements vary widely from one country to another and also from one university to another. Checking out the entry requirements for one college in one country and presuming that all colleges have the same admissions criteria can end up being an expensive mistake. When short-listing colleges, you must take a look at their admissions requirements and make sure that you meet all criteria before you spend any time or money on the application. If you are unsure whether your qualifications or grades are in line with those required by the college you would like to apply to, email the admissions office and get all the clarifications you need before you apply.

How do I get started with exploring study abroad programs?

When you look up study abroad online, things can get confusing very quickly. With hundreds of study abroad programs in destinations around the world, it can be difficult to know where to start. Before you start looking for study abroad programs, think about what you are hoping to get from the experience and also how much you can afford to pay towards this experience. Once you have a clearer picture in your mind about your academic goals, personal interests and financial limits, you will find it easier to narrow down your choices to a more manageable list. You can then start short-listing from there based on facilities offered, local area, lifestyle, and other factors.

Will I be required to attend admissions interviews in person?

Very colleges if any at all expect prospective international students to attend admissions interviews personally. Those that do want to interview applicants will generally schedule an online video interview using Skype or some other similar software. Some colleges also schedule interviews in various locations around the world. They will give you ample time to make the necessary preparations to attend the scheduled interview.

Will I need to submit any supporting documentation with my application?

Most colleges will require you to submit supporting documents with your application. The only difference lies in what documentation you are asked to submit. You can expect all colleges to request applicants to submit a copy of your passport, letters of recommendation, secondary education transcripts, a statement of purpose, and standardized test (SAT, ACT) results. Depending on where you are applying, you may also need to take another language test.

Are there any formalities I need to complete before leaving for my study abroad program?

As soon as you receive your study abroad acceptance letter, the first thing you should do is start prepare your travel arrangements (here’s our guide to help). This can take time so the earlier you get started, the less stressed you will feel as the departure day looms closer. Start with your visa application. Most countries require students to have a student visa in order to study in their country. Find out the visa requirements for the country you are going to and apply for it right away. This is usually peak period of student visa applications and getting a visa to some countries can take as much as 5 to 7 weeks. Meanwhile, also look into airline tickets. Find out which airlines offer student specials either on their air fares or on the baggage allowance. You will be carrying extra baggage if you are going to be staying away from home or a year or more and getting additional baggage allowance can make a tremendous difference.

Is fluency in the local language necessary to study abroad?

This again depends on the college you are planning on studying in as well as the program you are attending. Many colleges around the world use English as their medium of instruction but that’s not a hard and fast rule. If you are enrolled in a program that is being taught in another language, the college will require you to prove that you can speak the language of instruction to a fairly high level before they accept you.

Can I expect to get any type of financial aid to cover my study abroad studies?

Fortunately there are grants, scholarships, even sponsorships to help cover your study abroad expenses.

Where will I live while I am on a study abroad program?

You can apply for campus accommodation same as you would when applying to any college within the United States. Most colleges around the world also follow the system of first-come-first-served with regards to accommodation. If you are among the last to apply and if the rooms are all full up, you will have to make your own accommodation arrangements. There are also options to live with a host family during your stay.

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