“I’m flying to Canada for my PG Degeree!” Does that statement exhilarate you? Do you feel that thrill of traveling to a new country all by yourself? Of course you do. But it is peppered with doubts. You hesitate. You reconsider. That’s normal too. So here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you make your decision about whether or not to study abroad:
Will studying abroad benefit me?
That’s probably your first question and your first obstacle. Is it really worth it? Well, the most obvious answer to that question is that at the very least it will help you gain a global perspective.
How can moving from your own country to a new one give you a global perspective? Well for one you’ll learn the culture of the country you move to. Second, living alone will help you deal with difficult situations independently. Apart from this, you are likely to meet other students like yourself who have traveled from a different country to the same destination as you. With that common factor you’ll likely befriend such students and gradually learn about their country and culture too. You’ll also learn a few new languages – informally without paying for it.
Needless to say that in today’s globalized world, all these factors will help shape your future.
Still hesitating? Ask yourself these questions:
Questions every student should ask before deciding to study abroad in the post pandemic era
It is challenging. That’s unequivocally true. You’ll face quite a few obstacles even before you actually begin your course. For instance, gaining admission to your desired college or university in the country of your choice. Funding your college fees travel and stay. Obtaining your student visa. And so on.
With that here are the questions you should ask yourself before making the decision to enroll in a foreign university in Canada, USA, Finland, or elsewhere.
Why do you want to go?
Pat comes the reply, “to study of course!” But that’s not always the real reason. So take a minute to think it through. If you are here and already contemplating traveling to a foreign country to study, you’ve probably determined your career goal and chalked out your career path. If not, and you’re only considering the option because your best friend or older brother did it or because you’re not sure what to do next then you should think over your decision once again.
That said, students travel overseas for several reasons. Some of the more popular reasons include achieving their career goals, exeperincing a new life and culture, getting better quality education, for personal development, and with the ultimate goal of securing a job and making a new life in the destination country. With globalization being the new norm, many students who want to pursue a corporate career in a multinational company also travel overseas with the objective of familiarizing themselves with a new culture, new languages, and the ability to travel unhesitatingly to new regions.
Every individual is different and has different priorities. So consider yours carefully before you decide.
Are you ready to move out?
Eventually, everyone moves out and separates from their parents and family. But it is painful. And if it’s your first time away from home, it can be tough. Moreover, in a country like India, where joint families still exist, and even adult children are dependent upon their parents for sustenance, moving away can be really hard. Not only are you moving out of your comfort zone, you’re looking at setting up a whole new life in a place that is strange and unfamiliar. You probably don’t even speak the local language which means even day to day communication can be challenging.
So ask yourself if you are ready to face these challenges. Ask also how you can overcome some of them before you make your decision. For instance, you might want to learn the local language before you go. And read about the local culture. You may want to connect with an acquaintance who’s already there.
It’s a big decision so even if you are independent – both financially and emotionally – you should also consult your family members about your decision and seek their advice and help.
Can I afford to study abroad on a small budget?
That’s another important question. Whether or not you are dependent on your parents, going to a foreign country to study can be an expensive affair. Just setting up two separate establishments is expensive let alone the cost of living, course fees, travel and other expenses. So affordability is an important consideration. Remember that you will be away for the duration of the course – which may be one year at the very least and perhaps 4 or 5 years.
You should therefore estimate your cost for the entire duration. The first year or semester will likely entail the most expenses considering your shift and settling in. So if you spend X USD in the first year you can expect to spend 60% of that in the following years. If you are working you’ll have to quit your job which means no income – unless you plan to work in the destination country – and even then you’ll still have to survive the first month or two until you get a job. If your parents are paying, they’ll need to factor in the additional expenses into their daily budget.
What do I need to know about the process?
Relocating is difficult. Even within the same city it’s hard. When you are moving to another country which you’ve likely never visited before, it can be challenging. Even the first steps like securing admission, getting a loan, and procuring your visa can be difficult. The pandemic has posed a new and bigger challenge. So here’s a list of things you should research before you make your decision.
- Which colleges or universities offer the course you are looking for?
- How can you secure admission in the selected college or university?
- What are the migration laws of the destination country?
- What are the laws of your own country?
- What is the student culture of the destination country?
Answers to such questions will make the transition easier. You should also consider your chosen route.
For instance, if you are going on a student exchange program, your course, duration, and even stay may be arranged by your college. Your college may also help you to secure a loan and student visa as well as in other ways. If you plan to work and pay your way through college, you might want to research the part time job opportunities available in your destination or a WFH option that you can do from your residence there.
Process is not just about getting a visa or obtaining a student loan for education. It’s about all the little things that go to make your stay comfortable and education abroad fruitful.
Where should I go to study abroad?
That’s the million dollar question – and perhaps the first question you should be asking yourself. This is actually two or more questions bundled into one. So perhaps you should ask yourself – and perhaps you are doing so.
Well here’s what the answer to this question entails – assuming you have decided the course you want to enroll for.
- Will the course prove beneficial to me?
- Which countries offer the course?
- Will the destination be suitable to me personally?
- Will it impact my health?
- Can I afford to live there?
- Whom will I call in case of emergency?
- Am I prepared to meet new people, adapt to a new culture, environment, and place?
Globalization or not, traveling to a new country is difficult in the best of circumstances. If you are going as a student, it’s most likely the first time you are moving out of your home. So be bold, try it out – but take the decision with care. Make your to-do list early and begin checking off the boxes.