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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

All your study abroad questions answered

Deciding to study abroad is a major step filled with many questions, but it doesn’t end with your first day at university. We take you through all the steps on your study abroad life.

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Anyone who wants to study at university will naturally have many questions. For international students, even more so. Deciding to study abroad isn’t just about what course you want to study, but also what university and country you want to study in. It involves so much more. Here we take you through the main questions you may have and offer you information and guidance on what to do next.


Courses and universities?

Which country is best for me?

How much does it cost to study abroad?

How can I pay for my studies?


Life as an international student


Courses and universities


infographic question ‘Do you know what course you want to take?’ Yes/No both lead to the Hotcourses Abroad course matcher tool.



Knowing what course you want to take is your first step. You’ll probably already know the subject area you want to study, such as lawengineering or business.


If you’re unsure about the exact course you’d like to take or need a little more information before making up your mind, then using the course matcher tool (in this link) will be the first step. Follow the eight steps in the tool to find the right course and university for you.


You may have a specific subject area in mind, like environmental law or robotics engineering. If so, use the same course matcher tool to find the universities around the world offering the subject you want.  


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Which country is best for me?


Infographic question ‘Do you know what country you want to study in?’ Yes arrow leads to Find visa information. No arrow leads to Find information about study destinations.



Maybe you already know which country you would like to go to and want to know what universities there are in that country. We have a list of universities in some of the top study destinations:





If you already know which course, country, and university, then the next thing you will need to know about is visas. Each destination has very different visa requirements. We’ve put together very detailed guides to help you find what you’re looking for:



Information about study destinations

If, however, you’re not sure which country you’d like to spend your years of study in, perhaps it would be a good idea to find out a little more about each country.


  • Australia




Why study in Australia?


  • Canada




Find out more about the Canadian higher education system


  • Ireland




Explore why to study an undergraduate degree in Ireland.


  • New Zealand


What are the most popular undergraduate and postgraduate courses in New Zealand?

What about university culture New Zealand?


  • UK




A beginner’s guide to studying in the UK


  • USA


Read more about why you should study in the USA? You can also discover what the USA offers international students?


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How much does it cost to study abroad?


This is probably one of the most important questions international students ask. That means the answers are essential.


When considering the cost of studying abroad, remember it isn’t just the tuition fees for the course that you must consider. You also need to know how much applying for a study visa costs and the cost of living.


Infographic question ‘How much does it cost’. Box below reads: Information you need to answer this question. Three arrows each one leading to: Application fees and costs; Tuition fees and Cost of living.


Application costs and fees vary depending on your chosen country. Let’s take a closer look.


Tuition fees

These depend on the country, course, university, and degree level of your choice. Generally, fees for postgraduate courses are more expensive per year than undergraduate degrees, as are STEM subjects and those that require practicals or work placements such as medicine or law. 


You can find all the information about tuition fees in the different destinations here:



Cost of living


It isn’t just tuition fees that you need to think about. The cost of living includes a range of things from accommodation costs to how much you’re going to spend on a broadband connection, books and travel – for pleasure and to return home for the holidays


The cost is different depending on which country you choose, but it also depends on the area in the country or even the city you choose. 

Here’s a complete guide to how much it costs to study in the main study destinations:



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How can I pay for my studies?


Now that you have an idea of how much studying abroad will cost, you can focus on the question of how you will finance your studies. Other options are available, apart from relying on parents and relatives to help fund your studies abroad. 


Infographic question ‘How can I pay for my studies?. Box below reads: Here are some ways you can fund your studies. Three arrows each one leading to: Family and relatives; Student loans and Scholarships.




The first thing to do is check to see if there are any scholarships or bursaries that you can apply for. Use the Find a Scholarship tool in the middle of the page (below the scholarships map). Firstly, you must add the subject and level of study you wish to study. 


The tool will give you a list of universities that provide scholarships in the given subject. Once you have found a scholarship for the course and university you would like, your next step is to complete a scholarship application form. 


Knowing how much studying abroad will cost and, if you’re fortunate enough to earn a scholarship, knowing the total amount you’ll receive, you’ll then be in a better position to know how much money is required. In other words, if the scholarship doesn’t completely cover the cost of tuition and the cost of living, you’ll need to find finance for the remaining amount. 


Student loans can help fill this finance gap. As with all loans, you will need to pay them back over a specified number of years and pay back the entire amount plus interest. It's important to only ask for a loan on the minimum amount you will need to live and study abroad. Remember, in some destinations you can also supplement your income by working. 


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Infographic question ‘How can I apply?. Box below reads: Find information on now to apply for: Two arrows each one leading to: Study visa and University.


In terms of applying to university, the application process is very different depending on the country you have chosen. In some destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada, you’ll apply directly to a university. In Ireland, you apply through the Central Applications Office for undergraduate courses and directly to each university for a postgraduate course. In the UK, it’s similar but you apply through UCAS.


Your study abroad journey doesn’t end when you have received your acceptance letter. This is just the beginning. There will now be a whole new range of things to learn and think about.


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Life as an international student


Infographic heading ‘Life as an international student. Box below reads: Find information about: Three arrows each one leading to: Academic Life; When your course ends and Living abroad.



Once you start university, you will have to learn a new set of study skills, such as how to take notes and academic writing. You’ll also have to learn to deal with feedback and disappointment. All of these things will help you develop the skills employers will be looking for. 


In addition to life at university, you’ll also be learning to live in a multicultural environment and a culturally different world, where differences are to be celebrated. You’ll have to learn life skills such as opening a bank account and finding your own accommodation and work. 


When the university phase of your life ends, a new phase will begin. Here you’ll learn to identify what career you’d like to pursue and how to apply for a job and attend job interviews. You’ll develop from being an international student graduate to being a professional in a global market. 


Studying abroad isn’t just one decision or one step. It’s a choice that will help shape your future for many years. Good luck!


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