THE BLOG

A 360-Degree View on Studying Abroad

06/20/2014 01:41 pm ET | Updated Aug 20, 2014

Moving beyond borders for a novel experience can be the solution to your post-teenage existentialist crisis; discovering yourselves in different environments is both challenging and bold. What better way to do that than, pick a spot on the map and starting looking for an exchange program at the Universities offering such an alternative. So long, crazy boring routines and nosy parents that only want the best for you; one hell of an adventure will be waiting for you on the other side where supposedly grass is always greener.

Why study abroad? 

A lot of people might wonder, why go through all those tiring procedures so you can end up in a strange environment full of unknown people you know nothing about? Is the degree more valuable or in fact the experience is one of a kind? Precisely.

  • Study abroad is the optimal way to learn a language.
  • Study abroad provides the opportunity to travel.
  • Study abroad allows you get to know another culture first-hand.
  • Study abroad will help you develop skills and give you experiences a classroom setting will never provide.
  • Study abroad affords you the opportunity to make friends around the world.
  • Study abroad helps you to learn about yourself.
  • Study abroad expands your worldview.
  • Study abroad gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine.
  • Study abroad enhances employment opportunities.
  • Study abroad can enhance the value of your degree.
Where to study abroad?

Sky is the limit when trying to figure out WHERE you want to study abroad which makes it pretty difficult to decide nonetheless. Is it cultural diversity you are after, or maybe just some loud and crazy metropolis that never sleeps? Are you trying to find you spiritual inner self or you are here to have some fun? Are you scared of being on your own or in fact you do appreciate some peace and quiet opposed to the past lifestyle? It's common for people to seek the total opposite of their home country when engaging in a study abroad program. The idea of change at a certain age becomes somewhat of a necessity.

Germany is becoming one of the most desired destinations among international exchange students. It has some world class Universities, a ravishing history and an interesting perspective on lifestyle. People are friendly yet mind their own business, rent is cheap and living is quite affordable. Berlin, its capital has become a cultural icon in the past few years gathering people from all around the world to enjoy its transcendence. On the other hand the German education system would be favorable for any international student regardless of their origin.

Studying in the U.S. is known to be quite the expensive treat, however there are like a gazillion scholarship opportunities that will make such a problem disappear. Of course you would have to earn them. America is supposed to be the land of opportunities and new beginnings; it's full of life and energy and dangers so for thrill seekers it would be ideal. If you are not fluent in English, this would be the golden chance to change that, as well as meet new people with new perspective on the matters you are interested in. Studying and working simultaneously is Americas most wanted and very probable dream.

If you are more of a cultural hub, all chic and classy Paris would be the ideal destination. However there is more to France than Paris. Quantitatively you would be surprised by the small number of prestigious universities, however if we talk quality... Living like in those old movies we so much look up to, in and around the cobblestoned streets of France, enjoying wine, cheese and some random hook up sounds cheesy yet never dull. In France you will never get bored, if you know how to have fun and manage your funds.

England however can be one hell of an adventure, even if you'd have to listen to that ridiculous accent all the time. Its London baby and much, much more. Studying in the UK can be a bit tricky due to the complex application process, but once you are in you wont regret it for a thing. Due to their long and prosperous tradition of producing experts in some of the most prestigious schools in the world, as an exchange student you shall be honored by such a grand opportunity and benefit from it. Try to make the best of it, each second that passes by coz time flies in this country.

Studying in Spain will most definitely be a cultural roller-coaster no matter where you come from. First of all, Spanish is one poetic language to master, people are super friendly and welcoming and the tuition fees are a joke.  Art thrives around the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, and art shall follow you wherever you go in this beautiful country. Humanities are common and popular in this country, so if you are looking to engage on some social sciences, Spain is the place to be.

As interests and expectations may vary and be quite personal, here is another view on what the trendiest places to study abroad might be nowadays.

How to study abroad? 

Moving to another country for the purpose of studying is no rocket science really. There is a chronological range of events need to be taken care of and in no time you'd be living in your dream city. If Europe is your target, first of all you have to get the Schengen visa in order to enter the designated country on the majority of occasions. Nevertheless, this doesn't really apply to all the citizenships, so you might wanna check Schengen Visa information before you make any further plans. Living in America also requires a student's visa to be legally eligible to enter the country; therefore there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled before you apply.

Of course, all these bureaucratic procedures come after, you've applied for a study abroad program, you've chosen the University and got the cheerful, optimistic acceptance letter. This can all be done through the internet sitting on your couch at home.

After taking care of all the formal procedures with the government of your new reality, you shall start looking for some decent and affordable accommodation. Whether its University dormitories or a private apartment bear in mind that you will be spending a year in the city and you can't afford moving all your stuff around whenever you are not pleased with the choice you made. Staying in a hostel for the first few days is a wise idea, or friends and family maybe? Just until you find the apartment that meets your standards.

How to fund my studies abroad?

Firstly, you can apply for a scholarship online and work hard to get it. Secondly, you can apply for a study loan at the bank that has the best offers, and repay it slowly once you've finished your education. Financial aid is not much yet, is always better than nothing.

Otherwise, in many countries you are allowed to work as you are studying, some part time job that doesn't require all of your attention and allows you to focus on your studies which no doubt are a priority. The salary in most of such countries the minimum of what there is; however it can alleviate the financial burden for sure.

What can happen while I am studying abroad?

Anything can happen while you are studying abroad, so if you don't pay attention to your life it might get out of hands. First of all, the change of the environmental factors can directly affect your health, and hospitals in the developed world cost a fortune so might want to purchase a decent health insurance policy.

When you are young you are also stupid and that is totally acceptable; otherwise learning would be a totally odd concept; stupidity in this case being the equivalent of lack of experience.  However, this doesn't allow you to be reckless and careless, especially in a totally new environment full of predators and strangers.

Don't forget that you are here to LEARN and have fun; both of them go hand in hand. Once you neglect one of them you'll be losing the other one as well. No PAIN, No GAIN.