10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding To Study Abroad
Studying abroad is an exciting way to add to your educational experience, but like everything else in life, you’ve got to prepare yourself for it. It’s an eye-opening and life-changing venture that lets you gain a lot of worldly experience, but it may take you a while to actually settle into the groove of that particular life if you’re unprepared. This is why we’re listing 10 questions you must ask yourself before deciding to study abroad.
- Which course and Uni is the most suitable for you?
Researching programs and all the different courses that are available is the most important part of studying abroad. You cannot simply pick a major that would accept you based on grades because this will have a lot of impact on your future performance. Therefore, you must take a closer look at all the programs that fit your grade level and success you had so far, but also that fits what you want to do in future. Take your time during this initial step and pick the one which might benefit you the most.
- Are you prepared for the culture shock?
You’ll literally be moving to a whole new country (perhaps even different continent!) for the duration of your study abroad program and it’s important that you understand beforehand that it’s not all going to be fun and games. Not all countries are the same and there’s always going to be a massive culture shock that you have to prepare yourself for. You’ll have to lean new languages, interact with people who won’t understand what you’re saying, be surrounded by unfamiliar places and people. Of course, you’ll get used to it with time, but the initial transition phase is always going to be rough!
- What’s your budget and how will you manage it?
Budgeting and money is a major aspect to consider before deciding on your study abroad program. Even when you’re going on a scholarship, you’ll have a difficult time managing your budget at first. You’ll see so many new and interesting things that you’ll want to try and might even get scammed if you’re unlucky.
You’ll need to know the exchange rate of your home currency, get acquainted with the international aspects of your home banks, and try to understand the monetary system of the new country. Remember to always expect the best, but also be prepared for the worst. And don’t forget to restrain yourself with the money. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Find a program that provides foundation classes
Aside from the massive culture shock, you’ll also need to prepare yourself for the language barrier. But the thing is, you cannot really study something in a language you don’t understand. This is why you should try to find a program with foundation courses. They help you get caught up with the basic language skills that you’d need to navigate the rest of your educational career in that particular study abroad program. It’s important to know that campuses can help you with such things, so find one accordingly.
- How long do you think your stay will be?
Understanding the terms of your stay is also an important factor to consider before deciding to study abroad. How long would you be staying there? A semester? A year? Your whole educational career? If you’re not ready to make long-term commitment to this venture then you can also check out short winter term courses or the summer ones that are offered in certain institutions. However, if you’re dedicated and ready for a long-term studying, then you should definitely go for it!
- What’s the best mode of communication?
So, every country has its own peculiar mode of communication – and yes, these include apps. For example, China only uses WeChat app, which is not so common elsewhere. If you’re decided where you’re going, it’s best to do some research on basic communication modes so that you can easily keep up with your family and friends at home.
You should also search the best phone plans and get one as soon as possible when you land. You never know when you’ll have to make a call. While you’re at it, it’s also best to look at which search-engine is most commonly used in that part of the world to make your life easier!
- Will you be going alone?
For most people, studying abroad is a solitary venture. But for others, it means leaving behind your parents, single parents, spouses, and sometimes, even children. So, if you have a family or a partner that you’d want to bring with you and you’re still in the deciding phases of your study abroad venture, it’s best that you also take a look at some programs where you could bring one or more of your family members along. This will help you in the long run.
- Can you keep up with the climate?
You might think that you’ve researched everything you’ll be facing in your new environment, but have you considered the weather? It’s literally quite impossible to track all the local climatic happenings of a country/city just by doing an online search, no matter how thorough it is. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself borrowing sweaters from your neighbors/dorm-mates or investing in a whole new cheap and unnecessary summer wardrobe. It’s best to ask a local person for help in this regard.
- Where would you live while studying abroad?
Deciding where you’d live in the city you choose is also a question that you’ll have to ponder carefully before you pack off to study abroad. Student housing is a popular choice, and many people prefer to live in university dorms. Alternately, you could also find a good share house or even look for a host family. You could also rent a room or an apartment if you’ve got someone you know to split the rent with! Pretty much all the information is available online but you should definitely consult your study abroad advisor as well, or ask the university you’ll be attending for their own recommendations.
- Do you have too many expectations?
So here’s the thing: having to many expectations is basically like setting yourself up for disappointment. Your new country is just another part of Planet Earth. Don’t expect too much. Just go with the flow and enjoy the charm of unexpected adventures on the way!
All of these questions are a good way to prepare yourself for a life abroad. It’s definitely a good experience and it’ll absolutely become an intrinsic part of your life story!
With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita has a ‘super-power’ of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she’s also including her own experience from student and business life.