How To Study Abroad And Make The Most Of Your Experience

Get your passports ready because today we are going to pump you full of everything you need to know about how to study abroad. You’ll be ready to pick your destination, pack your bags and wave to your parents from the boarding gates before you know it. Let’s get right to business because we’ve got a lot to cover!

How to Study Abroad

Grab your notebook and a pen. Here’s what you need to know before you can start collecting passport stamps and souvenirs on your trek across the globe.

Step 1: Get your parents on board.

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles you will face when gearing up to travel abroad is likely going to be convincing your parentals that it’s a good idea. Many parents have a series of concern whizzing through their brains upon even hearing the words “study” and “abroad” mentioned in the same breath by you, their most cherished child. There’s a way to combat their rebuttals and the power to do so lies in your hands before you even start trying to convince them.

Convince parents to let you study abroadThe power you wield is all in how prepared you are to answer their questions and how convinced they are by your presentation of facts. So, get locked and loaded with all of the possible information that they may need before you say a peep about your passport plans.

The top two things your parents are going to be worried about are: your safety and the expense. Cover those two bases first. Assuage their fears for your safety by outlining some potential programs, give them access to reviews and pull any other stats off the web you can.

They’re not going to let their little lamb wander into the lion’s den, so show them that you will be fine by showing them a healthy serving of facts. Be completely transparent in your findings, though.

Now for price. Let your parents know that your traveling abroad will not send them to the poor house. Drop all the info you can kind about scholarships, grants, work-study programs and anything else you can get your hands on.

The rest should be pretty smooth sailing for the most part once you’ve put out the flames of these two major parental concerns.

Step 2: Research your options and choose a program.

This is likely one of the few times in your life when you’ll be totally gung-ho about doing tons of research. This is a super important part of the process, too. Do yourself a favor and do not slack on it. Spend loads of time looking at different programs offered to students wishing to travel abroad. Look at courses available, countries hosting students, cost and of course, financial aid options.

The first place to check for study abroad programs is certainly going to be your high school or college. If your school offers a study abroad program, that can make the whole process a bit easier, maybe cheaper and your ‘rents might feel a bit more at ease.

How to study abroad

Don’t get discouraged if your school isn’t offering a program because there are a ton of other options out there. All you have to do is know where to find these programs, which is going to be super easy for you since we’ve already taken care of that for you below. Here are some places offering legit programs for students wishing to travel abroad:

  • Academic Studies Abroad: They have been helping students earn their passport stamps for over 15 years in London, Paris, Dublin, Lima, Madrid and beyond.
  • IES Abroad: The world is your oyster when you travel abroad through one of the many exciting programs offered in India, New Zealand, Morocco or Germany (just to name a few)! IES Abroad offers many different programs and is totally invested in the students they work with.
  • Higher School of Economics: If science, technology and innovation are your cup of tea, then look no further than HSE. This program sends students to Moscow for a program designed to provide invaluable insight into global perspectives of key subjects from a social, ethical and relevant way.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the program options out there, so start your search for the right one for you.

Step 3: Make travel arrangements and create an itenerary.

Start planning and preparing as soon as Mom and Dad give you the thumbs up and you’ve decided on a program. This means making your travel arrangements, learning about the place you’ll be traveling to and getting your ducks in order, so you’re confident and ready to fly the nest when the time comes.

The first step is to make your travel arrangements. There are a few things to consider when doing this and they are important, so listen (or read) up!

Make sure you do your research before buying your plane ticket. Read all the fine print to ensure that you’re completely aware of the extra fees you may incur for extra luggage or luggage that is too heavy.

Look at where your flight is scheduled to land. A lot of the budget airlines are prone to landing in the middle of nowhere, which means you’ll have to travel an additional distance to get to your final stop. This means more money will be spent and more exhaustion will set in.

It’s always best to really compare all of your options and see which one makes the most sense in the long run. Cheaper upon first glance is not always cheaper in the long run if you’re paying an arm and a leg for extra bags or a bus ticket.

Next, learn a bit about where you’re going. Really go to town on your research and try to cover as much ground as possible before you leave. It’s hard enough to be away from home and even harder when you’re in a foreign country where everything is different.

By now you’re just about ready to kiss your homeland “goodbye” and begin your exciting adventure! Make sure you’ve got your passport, money, emergency contact information and medical history prepared. Pack properly and tie up any lose ends, too.

Step 4: Adios, Au Revoir and Auf Wiedersehen

See you later, alligator! You’re now ready to board your plane and begin your journey to unseen lands, new experiences and priceless memories. Enjoy yourself and soak up every experience. Don’t forget to send us a postcard, too!

How to Study Abroad with a Scholarship

We mentioned earlier that traveling abroad doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. There are a surprising amount of options out there for students who are interested in taking their studies to another country despite not rolling in the Benjamin’s.

There are so many scholarships available to students wishing to study abroad. Heck, we could probably write a whole post about just that and still miss a few. We’ll save that for another day and give you the quick and dirty version now. Start out by checking into the following types of scholarships:

  • Merit-based: This type of scholarship is geared towards students who have an impressive list of academic, artistic and/or athletic achievements under their belts. Each scholarship will have different qualifications required of the recipients, too.
  • Student-specific: There are a great many scholarships available for students based upon their gender, race, socio-economic background, religion and possibly medical conditions.
  • Destination-specific: Some students are able to snag a scholarship based upon the country they wish to study in. These scholarships are often found on travel websites affiliated with government agencies.
  • Program-specific and/or subject-specific: Similar to being awarded for studying in a particular country, you can also earn a scholarship for your chosen field of study. Colleges and universities are known to hand these babies out to qualified students who meet specific academic and personal accomplishments.

Check out these sources for study abroad scholarships in the U.S.:

How to Study Abroad for Free

Now let’s talk about how to study abroad for free. No, we’re not yanking your chain. Yes, this is totally possible and completely amazing. While students in the U.S. continue to find themselves buried under student loan debt, other countries are taking the burden off their students with the offer of free tuition.

We know you’re probably thinking, “Good for those lucky saps! Hope they enjoy their free degree while I work my life away trying to pay for mine!” Au contrair, mo ami! You too can study abroad for free (or nearly free) and earn a degree while doing it! There are indeed many countries extending this opportunity to students in the U.S.

Jump on these opportunities from these countries pronto and check out the other options here:

  • Grab your lederhosen and practice your yodeling skills if you’d like to study in Germany.
  • Say “bonjour” to France and to cute Parisian guys/gals in berets while you study in the City of Lights.
  • Brush up on your bike riding skills and prepare your feet for some clogs if you’re inclined to study among the tulips in Denmark.

Keep These 10 Things in Mind When Studying Abroad

  1. Budget: Definitely make a budget and do your best to stick to it. It’s no fun being stuck in a foreign country without enough money to participate in activities, buy souvenirs and indulge on amazing foods. Be a tightwad and manage those Euros so you don’t have to call home for a handout.
  2. Preparation: We spoke a bit about preparing for your time abroad already, but figured we’d mention it again to really drive the point home. Seriously, take the time to learn as much as you can, pack the right stuff and prepare some more. You’ll enjoy your trip much more if you’ve got some idea of what you’re in for.
  3. Language: It’s probably impossible for you to learn an entire language before you go abroad, but do try to learn the basics. Odds are someone you encounter will speak your language, but why wait to find the needle in a haystack when you’re totally capable of handling things on your own.Try to learn common phrases for food, bathrooms, hotels, help, directions and how to introduce yourself. You’ll pick up more of the language as time goes by and can continue your studies ones you’ve got the most important linguistic challenges mastered.
  4. Orientation: We know you’re going to be jet-lagged like nobody’s business and the last thing you want to do is sit through an orientation.However, try with all your might not to fall asleep during this very important introduction to your new home. There are extremely valuable things covered during orientation that your health, safety and even freedom may depend on. A nap is waiting for you just on the other side in a crowded Hostile with an uncomfortable bed and a roommate blasting German techno like he’s prepping for Coachella.
  5. Rules: Make sure you follow the rules and laws of your new home unless you’re a fan of shackles and jumpsuits. It doesn’t matter what country your a citizen of when you have to call home and ask your folks to bail you out of the slammer.
  6. Partying: You’re going to do a bit of partying while you study abroad. You’re likely to be in a country with a lower drinking age and on top of that you’ve met a ton of awesome people who you just want to cut loose with. Have your fun and do your share of pub crawling, but don’t go too crazy! You don’t want to miss out on all the amazing sites, food, people and experiences because you’re hung over and trying to remember your name.
  7. Packing: Try not to over do it on the packing. Remember that you are the only person who is going to carry all your stuff and too many bags makes for sore muscles. You can wash your clothes often and maybe even pick up a few things during your travels if your budget allows.
  8. Traveling: Do it! Explore your surroundings and really take full advantage of what’s at your fingertips. You don’t want to look back on your time and wish you would have done something or gone somewhere. Take the YOLO approach and live it up (safely).
  9. Flunking: Don’t forget that you are there to learn first and foremost! Make sure you attend your classes, do your homework, write your papers and study for exams. You can have your fun after all of that important stuff is taken care of.
  10. Culture: Don’t be afraid to fully immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are studying in. Eat the food, enjoy the sites, learn the sports and mingle with the people. This is an experience like no other and every second should be savored!

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