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What to Do If You Plan on Studying Abroad

Published by Afterschool.my on Dec 31, 2019, 11:49 am

Studying abroad is everyone’s dream, especially when it comes to applying to prestigious universities outside their home country. However, moving to a new country can be nerve-racking because you’ll be leaving your own comfort zone. But not to worry, moving to a new country can be exciting and there’s so much to experience and do in a country with new languages, people and cultures. It will leave you with good memories and help you grow as a new and more well-rounded person at the end of the day! 

However, there are things that must be done in order to ensure a smooth and easy process from moving out to adapting in the new environment. 

Step One: Finding the Right Place

Before doing any moving or any applications to your dream universities, first you’ll need to find out which university is right for you and which country is best for your particular course. Staying in your home country may be the best option if you wish to stay near your family and financial aid is required. But if you’re able to go out and explore, do it because it’s good to experience different countries, cultures and educational styles. 

After finding the right course and the right university to study at, it is recommended that you visit the countries that you wish to study at first so that you can visualise your future environment and your dream university before commencement. Go and see your university campus, see the different school buildings and facilities, accommodation options provided by the university and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Visiting the university can be expensive, but if you happen to go on a holiday to the country with your family or friends, do make sure to swing by the area for university pamphlets, booklets and tours made by the staff members. 

If travelling there first is not an option, you can also go on virtual tours on the university’s website or join virtual fairs in order to learn about your desired university. Virtual tours are convenient as you would be able to see the university campus as if you are on Google Maps on their website. The extension allows you to see the different buildings, offices, facilitates and many more without you actually having you go there. 

Virtual fairs are more helpful in a sense where they allow international students to go on virtual tours, see the different accommodations, ask questions about certain things like your desired course, and so many more. Virtual fairs have helped many international students decide on whether they want to attend the university or not and has gained much attention from students around the world because of its easy access and practicality. So, if you’re unable to physically go to the country and visit the institution, just know that you have the option to go on virtual tours and attend virtual fairs done by the universities online. 

Step Two: Looking for Accommodation

Now, after getting to know your university and finally applying to study there, it’s time to find a place to stay because you will be living there for the next 3 to 4 years while completing your bachelor’s degree. It’s best to get a place as close to the university as possible and also within your budget. 

Your first choice would be to stay at the university’s own accommodation in order to be in touch with your university and to make new friends along the way. Many students stay on campus in the first few semesters, as they are new to the area and it is the closest option in terms of distance. However, the university’s accommodation is quite pricey and can have its ups and downs; so, when you’re ready, you can find a new place out in the city after the first year. 

After a while, you could move into your own apartment in the city. It can be an apartment on a budget or if you wish to splurge, feel free to! Most students, however, choose to find apartments that are cheap or a place that they could share with a friend, so do keep that in mind because its best to move out of the on-campus accommodation as soon as you are able to. 

Step Three: Figuring Out Your Finance

While studying abroad can be fun, it does require a lot of money compared to studying in your own home country. Transportation, tuition fees, accommodation fees, personal spending, and healthcare are just a start. In order to be prepared for any financial issues  before it occurs, you can create financial plans and look for scholarships that can help you in many ways. 

There are many organisations in Malaysia that offer scholarships for students planning to study abroad and it has helped many of them who have been given the opportunity. For example, PETRONAS provided a full scholarship to Malaysian student Lisa Kamal to pursue geology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

So, if you are planning to study abroad, do have a look at available scholarships that could help with your financial state. 

Scholarships

Step Four: Preparing Your Required Documents

After getting an offer letter from your desired university, there are other steps that must be done before booking any plane tickets and getting ready to move. Applying for visas, making sure all health plans are settled, and ensuring that you have a health insurance and official documents are ready are all important before starting your university life abroad. 

These steps must be done because: 

  • A student visa allows you to study at the university of your choice and stay within the country; 
  • Health insurance ensures that if you have any sickness or injury that the expensive hospital fees can be claimed; and 
  • Any official documents ensure that if any issues occur in the foreign country, someone or something can help you with the situation. 

After your offer letter is submitted and accepted, these steps will be listed in your checklist so do make sure to check all of them off before travelling and moving to the country.  

Step Five: Understanding the Culture

The final task of studying abroad is understanding the culture before moving there. Each country has different cultures, customs and traditions, and languages. In order to be respectful when visiting or studying at the particular country, do read up on the culture there and understand it well before making the move. 

Not only is it respectful, but you will also get to learn from it. Getting to know the culture and language is quite an experience and it helps you gain more knowledge about the world. Not only would you also become a multilingual (depending on the destination) and a more well-rounded person, but you will also be able to tell people about your study abroad experiences and encourage them to do it as well. 

Studying abroad can have a lot of benefits for the student, even if the application and moving process is hectic. At the end of the day, you can come back from the experience feeling more accomplished as not only have you achieved your dreams of studying abroad, but the memories and experiences you’ve gained from the whole program can leave a positive mark on you. So do give the idea of studying abroad a try if you do get the chance to, because it’s much more than you can imagine!

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