You will get a lot of advice from all and sundry when you decide to move abroad for the sake of your education. Though all of it is well-meant and supposed to be helpful, drowning under a deluge of information doesn’t exactly help the student who is focused on his own problems, and with the massive change that is about to take place. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind even before you move abroad. Certain helpful guidelines for when you are in the process of applying to study abroad.
Here’s a list of 5 things you must heed:
1. The Program Details & School Ranking
A lot of people consider everything else to be secondary except the country they are moving to. Most justify it saying things along the line of, ‘It’s always been my dream to move to the USA,’ ‘Australia, the party scene there is amazing,’ or some such silly reason.
Remember, the social reasons are secondary. Choose the school with the best ranking and career guidance centre. Also, don’t just depend on the ranking. Sometimes, the best ranked program may not be the one you are looking at, or the course may be different from what you envisioned it to be. Always, always check the program details properly before making the call of whether you want to apply to a certain college or not. Otherwise you will just end up wasting your time and money.
2. The VISA Rules
If you plan on working in the same country after graduation, then you really should know the VISA rules of the country. With growing xenophobia and incidents of racism in many places, getting a job isn’t easy.
On top of that, certain countries don’t even give you enough time to search for a job. UK has scratched its post-study work visa a few years ago, and since then, getting a job has become a mighty difficult task – especially since you only get 2-3 months after graduation to land one.
The USA has the horrible H1B1 VISA lottery, which means even after landing a job where the employer is ready to sponsor your visa, you must clear the lottery, and sadly, there’s only 85,000 visas available every year, while applicants are 3-4 times that number. (Unless you’re in a STEM field, in which case you get 3 years and 3 attempts in the lottery).
Spain and Singapore on the other hand, don’t even offer that time-period to land a job.
When you move, you will have to adapt to a new country, a new way of live, an entirely new culture, and a new way to do things. A lot of things will be better, but some of them will be bad as well, or not what you expected. And once you’ve made the leap, its either sink or swim. Consider if this is your cup of tea.
You will be living on your own, without the comfort of family and age-old friends. You will need to be fiercely independent. Make sure you are ready for it, when you think of applying.
5. The Fees & Scholarships
Check the fees out and whether they are in your reach. If they aren’t, check out loans, and see the Return on Investment. Plan wisely so that you are debt-free at the soonest. Look for scholarships, often overlooked, a good application can land a good scholarship and reduce the burden on students massively.