Where should you study abroad?
From eating croissants in Paris to celebrating carnival in Rio de Janeiro, studying abroad can be the ultimate adventure. It's the chance to explore a different culture, make new friends, and enjoy a truly international experience—but how do you choose where to go when there are so many amazing options?
Before you start packing your passport and imagining all those envy-inducing social media posts, have a think about what your study abroad could potentially do for you and your future career. Have a look online for universities renowned for teaching and research for the subject you want to study. Universities tend to have lists of the classes available on their websites so you can see exactly what would be available to you if you were to go there.
Remember to talk to your university about possible funding opportunities for different countries and schemes. Some countries and universities offer generous funding or bursaries for study abroad students, and in Europe, the Erasmus program helps support many students realize their dreams of a foreign study experience for free. Aside from considering the general cost of living (much higher in places like Australia and the USA than many Central European, Latin American, and Asian countries), take into account the potential for a part-time job in your chosen location, with big cities usually offering more local working opportunities than small towns.
It’s also essential to consider your motivations for going abroad—do you want to learn a language, improve a skill, or experience a totally different way of living? For some, a relaxed beach lifestyle in San Sebastian might be the ultimate goal, while for others an exciting semester of exotic foods, language classes, and modern living in Tokyo could be the ideal experience. Distance from home and friends is also a factor for many international students, and don’t forget to consider things like traveling while you're there—for example, Europe is better located for affordably exploring other countries than Australia. You need to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime experience!
Once you've decided where to go, don't forget to sort out any documents you might need such as photocopies of your ID, your travel insurance details and health history. You should also make sure you have plenty of time left before your passport expires to avoid a last-minute (and possibly very pricey!) trip home to renew it. Have you considered visa requirements for different countries? If you have a passport from certain countries outside of the EU and you're going to study in the Schengen area, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa. You can easily check if you need to apply on the Europ Assistance website.
So where will you be applying to study next year?