The Good Part of Starting Out
Study abroad is completely about you. You are going to have a bunch of new and interesting experiences. After all, you will get an intimate view of your host country most tourists will never see and meet most people that other tourists would never have an opportunity to see.
Basically, your experience will be totally different and much more intimate than someone who is just there for a few days.
That isn't the only benefit to studying abroad. Some more benefits include:
- Understanding and learning to appreciate other cultures
- Gain a sense of independence that you can't achieve while living at home
- Make lifelong friends from everywhere around the world
- Learn a new language, which may make it easier for you to get a job
- Build a professional network of contacts. This may allow you to go on to graduate study or even make getting a job easier for you.
- Gain valuable work experience or do an internship in your preferred area of study
- Earn credit towards your degree
As you can see, there are many different benefits for you. You can get something out of it both professionally and personally. If you are not sure how it would benefit you in particular, you may want to make your own personalized list. This personalized benefit list will give you an idea of where to start!
So, how and when do I actually start?
This is an easy question to answer, and you may be surprised why. Just start as soon as you can!
A good idea is to start planning up to 18 months beforehand. If you want to cut it close, you can take a year. Cutting it close could mean issues and delays.
Why plan so early?
Planning early means that you get to choose the best program for yourself. You'll have plenty of time to get your finances ready.
You will need to ask yourself a bunch of questions. Remember, you will make a lot of decisions. It may seem a little intimidating, but take the following things into consideration:
- What are you going to study?
- Where are you going to study?
- Are you going to go through an organization like International Student Advisors or go straight to your institution?
- How are you going to pay?
Should you study abroad though?
You step out of a plane into a totally new place. Once you do that, you get to experience a new university, a new culture, and a new way of life.
You are going to make new friends. Maybe you'll learn a new language. You'll try food you have never tried before and slowly start getting used to living life in your home-away-from-home country.
So, you know that studying abroad is hugely beneficial, but it's not for everyone. It may not be for you. The first step thing you need to decide is whether it is right for you.
Answer this simple questionnaire to make sure you are ready
Is studying in another country right for you? Only you can answer that question. You should answer once you take a close look at your circumstances and your desires. Once you get past the initial excitement, you have to start being very practical. The following questions can help you find your answer.
- Have you been away from home for a while? Did you like it? Was having your phone on you enough?
- Have you travelled abroad in the past? Did you like it?
- How are you with change? What about when the initial excitement has worn off and you are left with your new reality?
- Are you an adventurous person?
- Can you take care of yourself? Are you comfortable doing so?
Studying abroad is a huge decision. It's an expensive decision. You need to make sure you think it through. Is it something you really want to do? If you are not sure, make sure to reach out to friends and family. It can be important to hear their feedback. The decision should ultimately belong to you, though.
If your parents are a bit concerned, don't worry, that's normal. Get them to register for their own copy of our Study Abroad Guide for Parents. This guide answers should answer a lot of their questions.