Studying Abroad

Logistics

As intimidating as packing your life into a suitcase and jetting off to indulge in some international studying can be, the rewards and fulfilment it can provide offer ample incentive to do so. This isn’t to say that it is all tapas, pasta and sightseeing, and before you go shopping for a new camera, the logistics of studying abroad must be considered. This should be done around 18 months prior to the start of the course, in a bid to ensure all bases are covered.

One of the immediate concerns that will need addressing is that of finance. This may not be as straight-forward as it is for studying in the UK (said with a wry smile), as tuition fees and the support on offer varies between countries. It is therefore essential that you make an early note of the financial process you will need to go through in advance to your intellectual travels. In terms of tuition fees, studying abroad may present a cheaper alternative to studying in the UK, with some countries offering cheap, and occasionally free, education. Popular destinations such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain provide notably inexpensive options, and if UK universities have campuses abroad, they may provide study at a reduced rate. Checking with the university or relevant local power regarding scholarships and bursaries should be done around a year in advance of the proposed commencement of study, due to the competiveness of such funding.

Maintenance loans

Maintenance loans carry similar importance to the funding for tuition, as you will need to find accommodation, not to mention the numerous other costs incurred by university and studying away from home. Again, availability of these differ between countries and research into what is offered through the relevant institutions, embassies and governments, is vital to ensuring that studying abroad presents a viable option. UK research councils, trusts and charities may be able to offer some form of support, however instances of this are limited. Similarly, schemes such as the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan may offer some financial support, however this is primarily aimed towards postgraduates. If, however, you wish to study abroad for a year as part of a UK-based programme, Erasmus offer grants in addition to loans from Student Finance.

As well as finance, various other considerations need to be made. It is an important starting point to ensure that the qualification you are planning on working towards when studying abroad, is recognised outside of the country it is achieved in. Contacting UK NARIC in advance will inform you as to the international recognition of your the qualification in question.

Finance

Remaining faithful to the other aspects of the studying abroad process, submitting your applications varies between countries. Researching into the deadlines and processes is therefore essential.

Applications are often submitted directly to the institution, often through their websites, however, you may have to sit a language test if the course is taught in the native language. Alternatively, applying to study in Australia can be guided by education agents, who assist prospective students through the full process. It is also important to looks into any visas which may be required to study in Non-EU countries. Similarly, if you plan on working abroad to help fund your studies or maintenance, a working visa may be necessary.