UNITED STATES—Deciding to study overseas can be both exciting and somewhat daunting. After all, you’ve decided to move across the world to a country where you might not even speak the language. If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to continue your studies abroad, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
Choose a Destination
Narrowing down where you want to go is probably the hardest part of the process. Even if you love the idea of a different country, you need to consider the cost, the visa requirements, and whether the language is easy to learn. If it’s a popular study abroad location like Italy, then you have several options in terms of English-speaking universities. They also offer Italian lessons on campus, so you won’t have to double down with additional courses.
Choose Your Major
Once you’ve chosen a destination, you need to select your major. Research whether the schools in that country offer you desired course of study. It’s probably better to combine this step with choosing your destination. The last thing you want is to be excited about moving abroad only to find out that you can’t study what you want.
Consider the Cost of Attendance
If you successfully check off steps one and two, the next step is factoring in the cost of attendance. It’s important to note that some American universities located overseas don’t accept Pell grants, simply due to location. If that’s the case, you can always search for scholarships online. With Going Merry scholarships, you can input your information and see what’s available.
Learn The Language
You need to learn the native language of where you’re going. You should be at least A2 to live in a different country. While it might seem like a stretch, being A2 allows you to communicate basic wants and needs in a different language. There are plenty of apps you can use to get up to speed prior to departure.
Decide How Long You Want to Stay
You also need to decide how long you want to stay abroad. Since traveling on a student budget needs to be considered, look to that element to help you determine the length of your journey. Some only go for a semester while others choose to complete their entire degree. How long you want to stay will determine how much money you need to show to the consulate when you apply for your visa. In most situations, your parents can also take financial responsibility for you, if you don’t have enough money of your own.
If you’re only going for a semester or two, verify that any credits you earn can be transferred to a different program back home. There are times when the credits might not be transferable for US credit.
Take a Video Tour
You should ask to take a real-time video tour of the school before orientation. This will help you feel less lost when you arrive. Also, ask to speak with current students who can act like a mentor for a few days.