For many students, choosing to study abroad is a question often met with confusion, a lot of excitement and a dash of nervousness. To study abroad – away from your family, friends and your home town – is a big, sometimes scary commitment. However, general student consensus often points towards this life changing experience being one of the greatest things a student could achieve, being well-worth the months of hard work and planning.
If you are a student interested in studying abroad, in a popular study destination such as Australia, check out these 5 crucial questions you should ask yourself before deciding to move overseas.
Q1. Am I comfortable living and studying in a foreign country?
If you are a student interested in moving to a foreign country to study you need to consider how comfortable you are living in a country that has a different language, culture and way of life. To weigh up these factors you need to know what you are looking for in an overseas study destination, and what to expect. Do you want to study in a country that has a different language to yours? Do you want to study at university that is rural or metro? Do you want to study in a climate that totally different? Do you want similar or different cultural values and beliefs? QS Top Universities released a report detailing the best student cities of 2017. Published annually, the QS Best Student Cities report highlights the best destinations for international students, based on a diverse range of indicators including university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity and affordability. QS Top Universities Report, 2017. Australia managed to break the Top 10! Take a look at the results here.
After evaluating the results, or weighing up potential study destinations, ask yourself – can I see myself living there? Can I see myself enjoying the food, weather and culture? Or developing a basic understanding of their language? How will I need to adjust? Is this something I can see myself doing, and am I prepared to make these changes?
Q2. Am I comfortable being away from family and friends?
Studying abroad means being away from your family and friends for a considerable amount of time. For some students who are close to their family and friends, this can be quite difficult. It is not easy being apart from those who have loved and supported you unconditionally. However, studying overseas is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, and make new friends. Extending your social network can help you achieve your goals in many ways – opening the door to a range of employment, travel and study opportunities. Students who choose to study overseas also gain independence, learning how to look after themselves for the first time in their lives. It is important to note that having yourself, and yourself only, to rely on enables you to establish a higher level of maturity, confidence and freedom. Students should also note that with modern technology large distances between family and other loved ones is essentially obsolete. Download Whatsapp – a messaging app used to send fast and secure messages for FREE all over the world, or Skype – a video calling app that lets you video chat. Home is never more than a phone call away!
Pro tip: To beat feeling homesick before you even leave your home country, look up the price of flight home. This will help ease feelings of separation, knowing home is only a short flight home.
Q3. What courses are available to me?
When deciding where to study abroad, students should also research course entry requirements. Entry requirements are the minimum qualifications, knowledge, skills, experience and attributes students must have in order to be considered for entry into a course or formal qualification. In some cases, not all courses will have entry requirements but instead prerequisites or mandatory English conditions. For example, to enrol at Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) at Queensford College, international students must meet academic and English entry requirements. International students must also provide academic evidence of satisfactory completion of Year 12 or equivalent. Where English is not the official language in the country of where students are currently residing, evidence of a valid IELTS 5.5 (no band less than 5.0) or any equivalent must be provided. Students will also need to complete an online English level placement test prior to enrolment.
Q4. Will studying abroad help me develop academically/professionally/personally?
Studying abroad brings a range of benefits that cover both academic and professional development. For students who want to progress academically, choosing to study overseas can show a great deal of academic significance. Academically, students who enrol in a course at international college can expect to have access to world class learning facilities, resources and trainers. Studying abroad can also help students by increasing their employment opportunities upon returning home. For example: a student with an international qualification on their resume can expect to go straight to the top of a recruiters hiring list. Showing potentials employers that you studied overseas shows you possess a number of professional qualities including academic abilities, self-discipline, dedication, passion, independence and a lot of real world experience. Personally, students might find studying overseas will help them develop emotionally – finding their own feet in a fast-paced world away from home, by making new friends, experiencing new things and pushing themselves out of the comfort zone. In addition, for many international students, studying abroad is also chance to develop language skills, either through studying in a second language or by practicing the language spoken locally. This new personal skill can also help students professionally, competing for jobs on a global scale.
Q5. What will I achieve studying abroad that I can’t in my home country?
Before enrolling in a course, packing a bag and flying to the other side of the world to study, students should identify what they will achieve, and how this would be different then if they studied at home, in their home country. Essentially students should work out: What is my study point of difference? For example: A student who chooses to study international politics might choose to study at a leading political science college in one of the top 3 major political capitals in the word – Washington DC, Berlin or London. Understanding what you study point of difference is a great tool of motivation to: 1. Help you decide where you want to study, 2. Remind you why you’re going to study overseas, 3. Keep you engaged and actively working towards your career goals when you are studying overseas.
Excited about the prospect of studying in Australia? Find the perfect course for you with a FREE career mentoring session with one of our Career Advisers today! For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you prefer to speak to a Course Advisor, call us on 1300 236 364.