Preparing for a period of study abroad? We’re sure that you’re excited—but it’s perfectly understandable if you are nervous too, and perhaps a bit worried…especially if it’s your first time away from your family!
Here are some questions that you must ask your study abroad adviser, to help you get prepared for this big change in your life, and make all the right decisions!
- Which stream should I pick?
Always pick a stream that interests you and which you are passionate about. Never make the mistake of choosing a subject that you have scored good marks in, but that you dislike. Your family may tell you to take Engineering because you scored 100 in Math in high school….but if you actually hate Math, then you are not going to do well in the Engineering stream! Look for your talent and aptitude, and follow your own instincts.
- What length of program should I choose?
You may choose a program that has a duration of one year, a semester, a summer, or you may choose to complete the entire degree abroad which could be a duration of three or four years. Look at all the options available, before you decide. Short term courses are also available. Remember, you should be prepared to spend this much of dedicated time in a foreign country.
- What will the financial implications be?
Once you have chosen your study abroad program, visit their website to check the fee structure and living costs. If you find you are not able to afford the costs, then do check out scholarships and tuition waivers, or work-while-you-study programs. Your study abroad counselor will be able to guide you.
- What are the things I must do before I go?
Each university and country may have its own set of requirements that you will need to comply with before you leave. There may be a set of medical immunizations and health records to send. You may need to send your marks transcripts. You will need to update your passport and apply for your visa. The college where you have gained admission will need to send you an offer before you apply for the visa. Financial papers will be needed, to show proof that you can afford the course of study. Language test scores will be required if English is not your main language in your country of origin.
- Can my credits be transferred?
This is an important point that you must check both with your native college as well as the college where you wish to study overseas. In most cases credits will be transferrable, but do read the fine print and check with both colleges.
- Is the country where I’m going safe for overseas students?
Check with past and present students, and find out what their experiences have been with respect to racism, mugging or theft, the weather conditions, and safety during travel. Find out what the student scene is like. Most colleges abroad offer an atmosphere that is inclusive and welcomes diversity, but do a thorough check of the actual conditions so that you can be sure.
All these questions, and more, can be best answered by a reputed student counselor who has the experience and the connections to help you make the right choices. Do contact someone who has the expertise to guide you along the right path. Good luck with your overseas study experience, and keep your fingers crossed!