Planning to study abroad? Points you need to consider.
In the last few years, the number of students looking to study abroad has increased manifold. If you are considering USA as an option, your chances of scoring well professionally are bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39,000 jobs were added to the business and professional services industry from March through April, 2008.
Though the major attraction for studying abroad is a better job scenario, there are many other reasons that encourage students to explore overseas education options. An overseas experience helps in your personal enrichment and development. It helps you develop cross-cultural skills and knowledge needed to enhance your global competitiveness. The list of benefits of studying abroad is endless, but before you plan to enrich yourself with an overseas experience, you need to plan your study abroad options in detail and well in advance. Let us look at some of the key aspects that will help you to plan and make most of your study abroad programme.
How to choose the right education programme and destination?
What to study and where to study are perhaps the most difficult questions to answer. It is the most critical decision that will shape your career. You need to research and shortlist various study options available to you. The following questions will help you to research and analyze information and take a better decision.
- Is the programme going to add substantial value to your career?
- Do you have the fundamental aptitude for the course?
- Is the course you have chosen well recognized by the industry?
- What are the chances of getting a good job in India or abroad after you get your certificates?
- Does your choice of study programme allow you to get a job in the country you plan to study?
- Is the programme offered in English ?
It is a good idea to do some basic research on your own, like talking to your peers, attending study abroad fairs, interacting with college representatives and alumni, so that yours is a well thought out decision.
After you decide on the right programme, you can go ahead and explore the countries that offer quality education in your area of interest. If needed, take professional help; speak to the consultants and counsellors , experts in study abroad programmes. Some questions that can help you decide are given below:
- Is the programme offered by your choice of institutions is accredited or recognized globally?
- Does the cost of study match your budget?
- Does the college allow you to work part time to fund your education?
- Does the country you plan to go allow you to work there after completing the course?
- What is the duration of the course?
- What are the living expenses and cost of study?
Research and collect as much information as you can. Speak to alumni of the programme or institution, take professional counselling, and then decide your study programme and institution.
Getting admission in a university abroad
Once you decide on the study programme and the country you can go ahead and apply to the institutions that offer your preferred education programme. Getting admission in a foreign university or institution is not an easy job, but you can make it easier if you plan in advance and focus on the key aspects of the general admission requirements and procedures. The general admission requirements to study abroad are:
- A good academic record,
- Your scores in standardized tests such as GMAT, GRE, SAT, and TOEFL . These play a significant role in your selection for a specific programme,
- Your statement of purpose and letters of recommendation are important as well. Statement of Purpose is one of the most important components of the application procedure. It comprises your personal details; factors that have defined your career path so far and your aspirations.
- Your Grade Point Average (GPA),
- Your work experience and summer work experience,
- Degree you intend to work towards Ph.D./MS.
- Personal qualities, motivation, reliability, sincerity, maturity, integrity, communication skills
- The degree of your participation in extracurricular activities
Studying abroad: Know about the country
Knowledge about the destination country is always helpful in adjusting to the new environment and culture. During your stay abroad, initially you may be confronted with some difficulties, such as problems in adjusting with new culture and society. Some of you may also face difficulty in understanding the accent or language, but, if you prepare yourself in advance and learn about the culture and people of the country you can overcome these problems in no time.
You must consider your suitability to the course and colleges and your adaptability to the culture of the country. You should gather as much information as possible about the country and its education system. Be ready to adapt to the change in environment, style of education, language, food and your routine life in the country you plan to study in. Be prepared to adjust to the cultural differences, bouts of homesickness, and the pressure of studies. If you plan to go to a country where English is not commonly spoken, try to learn the native language before you leave. This will help you in adapting to the new culture and environment.
Funding your study abroad programme
Studying abroad often requires financial assistance for extra expenses such as travel, accommodations and materials. Though studying abroad is comparatively expensive, you can reduce your expenses to an extent. A number of universities and colleges offer financial aid in the form of scholarships , tuition fees waivers and part-time work options. However scholarships are usually numbered. It is recommended that you start the search for aids early, if you want to seek admission to a program that is not within your budget. Many countries like the UK and Australia allow you to work part time on your study visa. You can work part time to fund your tuition fees.
You can also look out for an education loan for studying abroad . Many public sector banks offer loans up to Rs. 15,00000 for studying abroad.
Making the most of your stay abroad
You plan to invest substantially in your study abroad, so make the most of your stay abroad. Some countries like UK and Australia may allow you to work there for 1-2 years after you complete the course. If you get the opportunity, make most out of it. Meet people in your industry, network with alumni of your institution and gain as much global and cross cultural exposure as possible. This will boost your career tremendously.