With a population of more than 1.2 billion, India is a leading contender to send its youth abroad for higher education. According to reports, in the last year alone, 3,40,000 Indian students made the decision to study abroad. However, when you consider the better standards of living, world-class opportunities, and higher-quality education, this does not seem quite as surprising.
Whatever be your reason to enrol for in a study abroad programme - a chance to study under a better pedagogical system, or the dream of landing a job overseas - if you are planning to make the move soon, then here some tips that are sure to make your experience memorable and easy.
6 Essential Tips For Studying Abroad
After finding an excellent study abroad programme and getting accepted, you are now eager to begin your international experience. Here are the 6 essential tips that will help you in making your studying abroad experience a breeze.
- Learn the local language
This is particularly true if you are travelling to a country whose local language is not English. While most universities that admit international students do have almost all instructions (including the largest international programmes) in partial English, you will still need to know the local language when socialising, at the grocery shop, or even if you decide to travel and explore the country. Also, keep in mind, that learning a language to the point of having conversational proficiency takes time, so this is one of the first things you should do.
- Apply for your Visa with enough time on your hands
Getting your visa should seem like a simple enough step, especially since the university you apply to will be providing you with the relevant documents you need. However, don't drag out the procedure or leave it for another day. It is known that student visas take a while, depending on your host country's passport and visa requirements and many a student has had to defer their tickets or join after the start of term because their visa was late. Avoid making this classic mistake and apply with ample time on hand.
- Prepare a budget and manage expenses
Prior to studying abroad, it's important to create a budget to make sure you have enough money for both the programme and living expenses. International universities where you apply will be able to provide you with some standard rates for living costs as these tables are prepared and revised for the benefit of international students. Reach out to your admissions counsellor and ask for the same.
Depending on your standard of living, you may spend more or less than the quotes - and it should only be treated as an average. Intelligent budgeting and researching the best options for housing, groceries and commute can go a long way if you are trying to save money.
Some programmes offer scholarships and grants, especially for international students. You can also apply for government grants or loans. Besides these, there are the options of taking an educational loan from your home country, or working a part-time job alongside your studies. If applying for a PhD programme, explore opportunities for fellowships that will provide a stipend to cover your expenses.
- Get to know the people
While this is something most people try to do after they arrive and start their programme, the secret to success here is to start ahead. Reach out to your admissions counsellor and ask for the best way to interact with current students and professors to get insights into your time there. Many universities like to encourage community among cohorts and will give you some direction. You could reach out to these people as well as those in your batch by email, or through social media and get the conversations started.
Studying or working abroad offers the chance to interact with and learn from people from various origins and cultures. Participating in activities and getting to know them ahead of time will assist you in making friends quicker and enjoying your time abroad.
- Get a local SIM card
The value of communication is something you start to understand only once you are far away from your near and dear ones. While you can use an international SIM card or a cafe's wi-fi when you first arrive, neither are these cheap or practical options. One of the first things you must do when you reach is to get a local SIM card. If you're unsure about what's best, ask for help from the international students’ helpdesk on campus.
- Make your experience memorable
And finally, remember to enjoy yourself and find a healthy balance between studies and fun things to do. For most Indian students, studying abroad usually takes a bit of getting used to as the method of instruction and pedagogy vastly vary from our curriculum. But if you make the effort and prepare to apply yourself, you will find it a breeze. When you are not studying or working a student job, find time to explore, travel or socialise with your new friends. Make time to share different pursuits or hobbies with new people.
It might not be quite as simple as it first appears, to study abroad. It can be difficult to leave behind your familiar surroundings, close relations, home and friends. However, know that these tips will help you make the most of your time there and effectively get over your homesickness. Also, from improved learning and research opportunities to lucrative professions and intellectual development, the advantages of enrolling in a study abroad programme far outweigh the hiccups you are sure to face.