Study Abroad – A Complete Guide

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Study-Abroad-Complete-Guide

Thoughts on visiting abroad have excited you, didn’t it? Then how exciting it would be if you get a chance to study abroad.

The following reasons will help you understand “Why it is a good idea”?

  • It opens so many opportunities for various kinds of courses, languages, cultures, people, etc.
  • The degree you earn from a foreign university just enhances your resume.
  • Students who study abroad uniquely mold themselves. They take up new challenges like never before, it, in turn, broaden the scope of the subject pursuing.
  • Students get better exposure to different kinds of situations and resolve them at their level. Also, you get a chance to know other countries which wouldn’t have been possible with studying in India itself.

Some suggestions and tips for abroad education

  • You need to choose the right college for yourself to study abroad. Keep in mind the course you wish to pursue, the university you want to go and the costs that need to be covered. There are a wide variety of courses that are offered abroad – MBA, Engineering, Medical etc. Many people go for MBA in abroad to get a better learning exposure.
  • Scholarships are the best way for abroad education which can be partly – funded or fully – funded scholarships like in the case of Sweden.

Some perks of foreign education

  • R&D facilities and the faculties of different universities are way too advanced and better.
  • Many students try to get to the US to study STEM subjects. If you wish to pursue engineering in the US then you never know the opportunities ahead. You can even secure a job in Google or other big MNCs like Microsoft, Wallmart, Oracle, etc.
  • Foreign education also helps students to learn a new language.
  • You get to learn to live alone without a proper home and be independent by earning your living.
  • Increase the scope of job employment in your home country.

This brings me to an interesting story of Tom Stagliano’s son, he says, Highly recommended for at least a term

  • My son (graduated from Villanova in Business in 2014) attended the University of Melbourne in Australia for January through June of his junior year. Villanova put together this program and emphasized international business and the coursework towards the core requirements of his major.
  • WPI, a technical college on the quarter system, has every undergraduate spend a quarter with a group of WPI students in a foreign country working on a unified project (new sewer system or enhanced transit system, etc)
  • The University of Richmond in 2008 announced that they wanted every single one of their undergraduates to spend at least a term abroad if not a year.
  • I spent a month abroad as part of an extended Co-Op program, working with a British aircraft company.
  • MIT now has a full exchange program with the University of Cambridge in England.
  • It is a connected world. One needs to get out and explore and learn with others.
  • However, to spend all four years abroad in a foreign college…. no. No need for that.”

So you see, it’s not even necessary to complete all 4 -5 years to study abroad, you can even give it a try for a semester or term and decide whether abroad education is worth it or not. It will also answer questions about how much capacity you’re staying alone and away from your family.

The questions of studying abroad which may arise after 12th class

  • What is the reputation of the university I am applying abroad?
  • Do I wish to come back to my home country after the course or get a job there?
  • What are the various job prospects in my field? Where would I get good pay – my home country or abroad?

The answers to these questions

  • The reputation of a college you choose to study abroad is important to your career, as a good university can give you better placement, and it is only possible when the college is reputed. You can either opt to go and study abroad right after your 12th standard or you can even go for a specialized post graduation program.
  • There are a lot of good job opportunities abroad than in India if we take it as a home country but still have a background of foreign education is always preferred in India for jobs and businesses.
  • This is related to the above answer that if a student after graduating gets a job abroad, they will earn more than how much they will in India. Hence you need to choose what kind of career you wish to pursue.

Certain international exams you need to qualify

1. GRE

Graduate Records Examination, graduate students give this exam who wish to pursue MS in the US. Many universities there ask for GRE general test score excluding some universities who ask for the GRE test score.

2. TOEFL

Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a compulsory general exam for international students. All the students who belong to a non-native English speaking country are required to give this test, India being one of them. You can obtain special classes for this course available in different parts of India.

3. IELTS

International English Language Testing System, it is a similar test for the English language, for students whose native language is not English, many universities see this score along with TOEFL and only focus on either one of them.

4. MCAT

Medical College Admission Test, is a test for students who wish to pursue medical studies in countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands.

5. LSAT

Law School Admission Test, those of you who want to pursue law abroad must give this exam.

Along with the exam scores, the universities see several other things

1. SOP

Statement of Purpose, it is a major document if you want to stand out in the rat race to get your favorite university. To be in line with the competition and eligible for the MS application in the US, you must write the best SOP of all.

The SOP should be to the point and what are your expectations from the course and university and why you want to study abroad.

2. LOR

Letter of Recommendation, it is often obtained from the university you previously studied in, it gives the abroad university a personality picture of you by the eyes of someone else.

An exciting LOR gives students a better chance for selection in the university. Most universities prefer two to three LOR.

3. Essays

This is another deciding factor for selecting students. The numbers of essays depend on university to university. The topics are generally of student’s interest, they need to submit 2 to 4 essays.

4. Academic Scores

Lastly, it is important to file all the academic scores like your primary, secondary, senior secondary, etc exam scores.

Documents that are required for the application form

  • Academic scores for the qualifications listed in the admission form
  • GRE/TOEFL/GMAT/IELTS score proofs
  • Recommendation letters from your previous universities ( minimum 2-3)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Photo Copies of your passport
  • Work experience and internship certificates, if required
  • Certificates for extra-curricular activities mentioned in the application form.
  • WES Evaluation documents, if asked by the college.

How to write an SOP?

  • The first and foremost term comes you’re writing an SOP for which stream? Eg. The SOP for MS and MBA will be very different and with different formats. Hence, it is important to keep in mind which stream you’re writing about.
  • An SOP should be a piece of writing which makes you unique from the others and doesn’t mistake it with a resume. Take your time and write it in a day or two.
  • Starting with you need to make a list of things you want to include in your SOP. It could include both short term and long term goals, followed by the next step i.e. choose the theme of your SOP. This means the sequence of your thought process and how you wish to design it.
  • The next step is editing what you’ve written which will need the previous list you’ve made. It will bring you the questions that you’ve to include in your SOP and what not to.
  • The next step is to research about the university you’re going to apply in. Writing various interesting things about the university creates a positive impact on the reader. Also, include the point of why you want to join that particular college.
  • The last step is to finalize your document by editing it or re-writing it. It is advised not to submit your first draft, try to make it your best piece of writing.
  • Some other tips are to check your grammar is flawless, the words are used carefully, highlight your extra-curricular activities and rewards. It adds up a positive impact. Don’t copy your SOP from any website, write it in the first person, keep it crisp and tidy below or maximum to 1000 words.

Story of a friend who shifted to Toronto, Canada to study

  • She said that she had to do all her work by herself right from washing clothes to buying groceries and cooking food, all the things which are mom used to take care of were gone.
  • Canada is a very cold country, and someone belonging from India would take time to acclimatize to the weather and so did my friend, she had a hard time getting used to cold weather.
  • She had a hard time talking to me and her family because of the different time zones.
  • Whenever I have visited a foreign country it has always been a challenge for the conversion of Dollar to Rupee. This is always a major concern for all the Indians. My friend often shared her stories of how she bought an expensive item for herself because of the conversion confusion.
  • In abroad universities, placements and internships are not found very easily. Now she tries her best to find good jobs and internships in Toronto to earn well and also get the right experience.

Follow the rules of that particular country

While living in countries like the US, the UK, Australia it is important to follow rules of that particular country, as the rules are very strict there.

  • Always follow traffic rules, these countries abide by it strictly.
  • Put on a seatbelt while traveling in a car.
  • Stay alert and trust your intuition – if you feel a busy place is much unknown to you, just make sure you’re aware of the surroundings and if you feel uneasy you can go away.
  • Keep your valuables safe with you as exposure to such contents may increase the chances of pickpocketing.
  • Keep a low profile by blending yourself with the surroundings and not draw immediate attention that you’re a foreigner.

A list of top colleges abroad

  1. Bangor University – is located in Bangor, Maine.

2. University College London – the university has the highest number of postgraduate students in the world.

3. University of St. Andrews – is located in Scotland and considered one of the top 100 universities worldwide.

4. Imperial College London – this college has ranked at the top in Times New York Times list of universities. The students in this college graduate to get high salaries in different companies.

5. The University Of Melbourne – it is the second oldest university in Australia and is among the top 50 universities in QS world ranking.

6. Pierre and Marie Curie University – it is the largest scientific and medical laboratory in Paris, France. It is named after the famous scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.

7. The University of Oxford – one of the oldest universities located in England.

8. Stanford University – it is a private research institute located in Stanford, California

9. Cambridge University – it is the second oldest university after Oxford University in England.

10. Harvard University – this institute is located in the US. It is one of the prestigious and oldest colleges in the US.

The requirements to get into these colleges

1. Oxford University

The last date of application every year is 15th October. The condition is that undergraduate students can’t apply to both Cambridge and Oxford at the same time. Shortlisting is based on achieved or predicted test results, school references, and, in some subjects, written admission tests or candidate-submitted written essays.

The colleges then invite shortlisted aspirants for an interview. In this, they are provided with food and accommodation for about three days in December. Those who live far away have their interview online. After the interview, the offer is sent in January where the selected candidates receive the offer letter.

The GPA required is 3.7 to 4.0. The official page of this university has further listed the other admission requirements like the documents needed.

2. Cambridge University

Undergraduate application forms for Cambridge must be made through UCAS in time for the early deadline. It is presently mid-October in the year before starting.

  • Most candidates who are called for interview will have been expected at least three A-grade A-level qualifications related to their chosen undergraduate course, or the same in other qualifications.
  • Due to a very high proportion of candidates they receive of highest school grades, the interview process is crucial for distinguishing between the ablest candidates, so you need to buck up for the interview especially.

The interview is performed by College Fellows. They assess candidates on unexamined factors such as the potential for original thinking and creativity.

  • The documents required are academic transcripts. They assess the candidate on the written essays, interviews, and academic scores. The written assessment is subject-specific to what the students choose.

3. Harvard University

There is a requirement of SAT results and several other things like the exam results of secondary school, Midyear school report, etc. They also have two teacher evaluation forms where you need two teachers from different subjects to fill the form.

The acceptance rate at Harvard University is very less. So to make sure your selection if you’re exceptionally good with the scores.

4. Stanford University

They look up at the financial aid for the students. It is a criterion for all international students’ evaluations except the US and you can also get a scholarship on need-based. The SAT scores are considered, along with TOEFL or IELTS.

5. Imperial College London

The GMAT/GRE score is seen in the case of Management courses. Add awards and scholarships if you’ve had any. Since it glorifies your resume. Make sure your resume is strong and impressive, it makes your chances better to get into the college. As mentioned above for all colleges write an impressive SOP along with the recommendation letters and essays. TOEFL/IELTS scores are also considered in the process.

6. University Of Melbourne

This college also has the similar requirements of language test scores like TOEFL along with the essays and SOP, they’re open to all kinds of international students across various undergraduate, graduate programs.

Links to some application forms for studying abroad

Some case studies of students who went to study abroad, more of them sharing their experiences

1. Dan

A Duke University junior, majoring in economics and computer science, is at present studying in Japan. As a sophomore, he was as puzzled as most students about his final career direction.

He focused to become fluent in Japanese. So he decided to study abroad for a complete year, finding himself an apartment and blending himself in the local community.

  • In abroad people were very impressed with him that he could speak Japanese, English, and French. Then he realized that when you want to communicate despite a language barrier, you have to focus like a pro on what the person is trying to say.
  • Another key benefit of Dan’s study abroad is the growth of maturity and self-awareness. Dan is enjoying the freedom and responsibility that comes all by living alone, in his apartment, by his own rules.

2. Gagandeep

His story says that he is from Sonipat Haryana. It was not easy for him to go abroad and study. Middle-class people don’t think to go abroad for education as it is very expensive.

  • So he started shortlisting universities abroad under his budget along with the other requirements. He had met a counselor who had advised him to study in the UK as he chose to study MBA.
  • He suggests that counseling is very important when it comes to studying abroad. As there are many universities all around the world so one requires someone to guide the right path. He finally got into a university and had secured quite a good score in IELTS.
  • He shares his experience that he became more independent and got to know about different cultures in the UK. Also, he made new friends from around the world which in turn improved his communication skills.

3. Vijay

Vijay shares his process to study abroad. He had given all the exams like TOEFL, GRE after he had two failed attempts at Masters for 2 years. Then he researched the universities, courses, scholarships and short-listed them. After that, he wrote the SOP which he was confident about.

After all the submission of the documents, it was time to select the 2 universities, CMU, and TAMU which selected him. He had missed his family dearly abroad but also was thrilled with all the new experiences he got in this new world in the US ( he joined Texas A&M University )

4. Anirudh Chaturvedi

He has been to the US studying computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. He says that no one talks about grades there. Students keep quiet about their accomplishments and scores, unlike India. Here everyone flaunts their scores like anything.

  • We have seen in movies that people in America do most of their tasks alone. From adding fuel to the car to shopping, even the counters are mechanized sometimes without a person sitting for billing purposes. The students there are very hardworking and strictly follow deadlines for assignments.
  • So he shares another fact that thin and healthy people are rich and fat people are poor. As fast food is cheap there, the people there treat you based on your body shape. Thin people usually eat home-cooked food or from places where healthy food is available. Also, being healthy is very expensive in America.

So here you see, living in America and studying abroad makes you open to a lot of opportunities. For instance, meeting new people, cultures, languages, and one can understand different ways of living. Living in India is very easy if we see how the rules abroad are. Lastly, a few tips are:

  • Meet students in your college from various countries and be friends.
  • Choose your favorite stream and subjects.
  • Don’t be dependent on teachers for doubts when you have a big library filled with information.
  • Learn concepts through practical knowledge and not books always.
  • Get interactive in a class that makes you smarter.
  • Get a part-time job so that you’re able to spend your life abroad easily.
  • Also, portray your artistic skills as abroad creativity. It gets significant importance.

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