Friday, April 29, 2016

THINK YOU CAN'T STUDY ABROAD? THINK AGAIN!

Initially, the idea of studying abroad might seem liberating. Leave home, see the world! Gain independence, life skills and a great education! It is the stuff that dreams are made of; something that thousands of young people wish they could do.

But then you start looking into the whole process – the visa applications, the fees, the entry requirements – and realise that it’s not quite that simple. Studying abroad takes time, focus and preparation, often well in advance of the big event. Add that to the idea of leaving your family, your home and everything familiar, and the dream starts to become just that: a dream.
But…before you abandon the idea, ask yourself one question:

‘If other students from my country and background can study abroad, why can’t I?’

The chances are that whatever obstacle you are facing, someone else has faced it too. In this article we’re going to look at the most common problems that hold people back from studying abroad – and how to overcome them.

Money
For many people, the idea of paying for university courses and the living costs that go with them is simply too off-putting.  We all know how expensive the fees in popular study destinations like the US and the UK can be; it is easy to conclude that only the rich can afford it. However, with a little more research, you can find great universities that are much cheaper. Many European countries, like the Netherlands, are undercutting university prices considerably, and rising stars like Turkey are famously good value for money.
In addition to shopping around for lower prices, you can also look for scholarships and grants. You may think that only geniuses can get scholarships, but some are also awarded to students from specific countries, disadvantaged backgrounds or to those studying sought-after subjects. Check out our Scholarships page for more info, and get applying.

Confusion
Sometimes the world of study abroad is just too confusing. There is so much research to do, so many options available, that it can be overwhelming. The best thing you can do in this situation is find someone to talk to who can confidently answer your questions.  They might be someone you know who has already studied abroad, or you could go along to a convention or fair where representatives from universities are waiting to help you.
If you can’t attend one of these you can try contacting universities themselves via email, or use an enquiry form to speak to one of our Universities. Schools around the world want international students to study with them, remember – it’s their job to help you find your way.

Language barrier
Many courses have language requirements as well as academic ones, and this can be a deterrent for those who want to study abroad. You may worry that you won’t achieve good enough results in your exam to go, or that it will become difficult to make friends. The only solution to this is, unfortunately, practise. Practising your language skills need not be boring, or a source of stress, though: there are plenty of fun ways you can learn in your spare time. It takes commitment, but it is possible – even if that means taking some additional time to improve.

Fear
If you’re still feeling apprehensive about studying abroad, even after finding ways through all these issues, don’t worry: this is completely normal. Moving away from home is a huge change, and if home is all you’ve ever known it is natural to be scared. Astudy by Go International found that the fear of isolation and ‘culture shock’ were significant challenges for international students. However, the same study also found that 95% of students liked overseas education, often because of these challenges. As one respondent puts it, ‘once you leave the comfort zone it’s the best feeling you can get’.
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