A Complete University Application Guide: More Offers, Less Stress

University Overseas: Why to Consider Studying Abroad

A recent study found that 33% of students studying overseas were inspired through an appetite for adventure. A further 26% cited their motivation as the desire to build an international career.

You may be interested in applying overseas for these common reasons, or perhaps you're enticed by lower tuition fees or the prospect of year-round sunshine. Whatever your motivation, we're here to break things down for you.

Already know exactly what you're looking for? Jump to: 4 reasons you should consider studying abroad, 3 things to bare in mind before you consider studying abroad, Studying abroad checklist, Example study abroad process: Australia.

Top 4 reasons you should consider studying abroad 

1. It's not as expensive as you might think!

With the price of tuition fees rising in the UK, and a plethora of exciting courses on offer in universities across the world, it is worth weighing up whether you’ll be able to afford to study abroad, and whether the choice may even end up saving you money.

In fact, a recent HSBC survey put the costs of studying in Germany at just over ÂŁ4,200 per year - significantly less than an average of ÂŁ15,600 a student in the UK spends on tuition fees, accommodation and daily living expenses. France was the next on the list, with overall spending averaging at just under ÂŁ5,300.

2. There are some brilliant universities overseas

You’ve heard of Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and maybe even MIT. However, there are many more top ranked universities you've probably never heard of before. Take ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) for example, the tenth best university in the world. The majority of UK students we spoke to had never even heard of it!

In a recent survey, many students cited how well known a university is for their reason for application. The fact that a university doesn't ring any bells shouldn't put you off applying. 

All it takes is a little research to know whether the course, university, and city are a good fit for your studies. There are many resources to help you with this research. Check university league tables and worldwide subject league tables to inform your applications. 

3. You will learn... a lot

Did you know that living abroad is one of the best ways to learn a new language from scratch? 

Yep, that's right - there's no need to worry if you gave up on French in Year 9 and could only manage to grasp hello, red dress, or turn left. Immersing yourself in different cultures with little grasp of the language can be tricky at first, but with the right social opportunities and an open-minded outlook, you can learn a great deal. 

Many universities offer entire courses in English these days, so a simple enquiry to admissions departments could help you identify the courses that fit best with your language requirements. 

4. Employers love it

"It'll look great on your CV!" You've heard it all before, but this time it's true. We spoke to 10 different employers, and 80% said they'd look favourably on an applicant who studied abroad. 

Not only is this a great selling point for employers, it'll actually help you once you get a job too. Studying abroad gives you life skills that are sometimes out of reach for students who study in the UK. Throwing yourself into a completely new environment will help you to figure out what you’re good at and those things you really need to work on. 

3 things to bare in mind before you consider studying abroad

1. Student Loan Availability

Despite the fact that overall costs of living, tuition and accommodation is significantly lower in many European countries, student loans for international students are scarce. This means that despite the opportunity to lower your debt, upfront fees will amount to much more.

There are some scholarships available for international students, but undergraduate competition is fierce. These can be awarded on merit or need and vary in the level of assistance provided.

2. Brexit

At the moment there is some financial support in some European countries for UK students. For example, there are student loans that will cover the full tuition costs in The Netherlands and EU students in Italy can access student loans just as they are made available to home students. Although these are based on both merit and means-testing and don’t cover as broad a range of people as the loans system in the UK.

As with most Brexit-based conversation, no one fully knows how the new policies will affect these arrangements. It is likely that the availability of loans for UK students in EU countries will become more sparse within the next couple of years.

3. Part-time work overseas

As a student, you aren’t always entitled to work while studying in a non-EU country, so it’s worth checking out what kind of work you’ll be allowed to do and what type of extra permission you need when considering foreign study destinations. Here is a list of some common destinations and conditions for working whilst studying as an international student.

Study overseas: A checklist

1. Choose the university and course

With all of the above taken on board, pick the university and course that best suits your personality, requirements, and bank balance.

2. Apply to study abroad

Apply as soon as possible! As an international student, you’ll have a lot more to organise prior to starting your studies.

In some countries, a specific online platform gives you the possibility to apply to more universities at once - in a similar vain to UCAS. However, it is more common to be required to apply directly through university websites. 

Take a look at these 8 effective ways to make your university application stand out.

3. Get a visa (where required)

If you’re an EU citizen thinking about studying overseas but within the EU, you do not need a visa (though Brexit may affect this in the future).

As a general rule of thumb, if you are from outside of your chosen country’s continent or region, you'll probably need a student visa. If you’re participating in an exchange for less than three months, you may only require a tourist or visitor visa.

4. Organise accommodation

It is best to do this as soon as you have received your offer and your student visa has been granted so you can secure your preferred accommodation. 

Make sure to do your research and choose somewhere within a reasonable distance to the university campus, and which ticks all your boxes in regards to dorm size, catering, and even the friendliness of your fellow peers (Facebook groups and pages are great to gauge the kind of students you could be living alongside).

5. Book health cover

We've underlined and italicised this one just to make sure you don't ignore it. 

You may have heard the horror stories about students who failed to organise appropriate health insurance prior to their travels, to find themselves in thousands of pounds worth of debt following treatment. 

Don't let this be you. Book early, make a note of the emergency contact number, and keep all your documents safe!

6. Book your flights

Try to book your flights nice and early, especially if you're planning on moving in a peak time like the summer holidays. 

There are plenty of great flight price comparison sites. We recommend Skyscanner which lets you choose and compare the cheapest dates to travel in an entire month.

7. Luggage

Getting all your stuff to your chosen university is a common worry for students who have more than 20kg worth of belongings. 

You don’t need to fork out on extra suitcases on your plane, luggage shipping sites will ship your belongings direct to your university accommodation. 

Out of all the baggage shipping companies we compared, Seven Seas Worldwide came out as the cheapest and was the highest rated amongst university students.

Example study abroad process: Australia

Patrick Evans is an international study expert from Studies in Australia, he takes us through the process for those planning a trip Down Under:

1. Choose a course and a campus

There is plenty to consider when deciding what and where to study. If you have a specific sector of industry in mind, identify an institution that offers a specialisation that will help you navigate this career path. 

Depending on your personality, you might want to study at a massive, urban university, or alternatively, enjoy a different type of experience at a more intimate campus in a rural setting. 

The size and location of the campus are important factors, as are the type of facilities and level of support offered to international students.

2. Apply and wait for your application to be processed

Before you submit an application, check the academic and English language requirements. 

If you don’t meet them, you might consider bridging study to improve your chances, or opting for a different course entirely. 

You can either download application forms from providers’ websites, request they be posted to you or hire an education agent to look after this process on your behalf. Most application forms will require personal details and certified proof of your level of English.

3. Accept the offer and prepare for departure

A successful application will result in a letter of offer and an acceptance form, which you should read thoroughly before signing. 

You will then receive Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which may include a request to pay a portion of your tuition up front. Now it’s time to apply for a student visa, which you will require you to present your CoE and organise plane tickets, Overseas Student Health Cover and accommodation. 

Most providers distribute an admissions package with additional information.

Know that it's okay to be indecisive - don't get caught in the habit of thinking you need to know your entire life plan at this stage. If you choose to study abroad and realise it's not for you - that's okay! You can learn from the experience and know what to look for next. Life is just a big learning curve after all. 

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