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Study abroad : Applying to University

Top 5 questions you ask yourself about studying abroad

Studying abroad is a great challenge and it is just fine to have doubts. Our editor shares her top 5 questions and answers about the journey she was about to embark on.

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How to face leaving you friends and family for a new adventure abroad? What challenges will I encounter? Is it worth it? All these questions haunted me during the run up to my departure for London, UK. All I knew was that I was resolved to achieve my objective: getting a degree abroad. Now that I have achieved it, I look back to all those doubts and I can give a sort of answer to most of them. I want to share with you my top 5.



Top 1:  Will I be able to cope with the teaching disparities?

In education systems in the UK and US, particularly at the graduate level, you will be expected to have a more hands-on and interactive approach than what you've experienced in your home country, which could come as a shock to new students who haven't prepared beforehand.


I wasn’t equipped at all for the ‘shock’ that was waiting for me at university. I was expected to be very independent and to question not only what my sources affirmed but also what I argued myself!


My learning process was constant questioning, an approach new to me and with which I struggled throughout my year, but I still managed to successfully achieve my grades.


It is important that you communicate any difficulties you are experiencing. Channels for communication between the professors and students are very open and they are there to help you. So, make them aware of your questions and struggles, you are paying for your education, make sure you demand the best service possible.


Read about: How to create a good study plan


Top 2:   What would my new student city be like?

From the bustling streets of any big city like London to the spacious and open spaces in the Australian countryside, it is impossible to determine exactly what kind of city environment you will find just by the name.


It is important you get to know your campus as well as the city you are going to live in well in advance. I personally wanted to make sure my school was at the heart of the city but was really discouraging to find out how expensive living in the city centre can be, even in student halls!


Investigating the city you're going to will also help you get a rough idea of what you'll be paying for in terms of housing, food costs and entertainment. 


Top 3:   How am I going to get around this new place?

Once you find out more about your new home city, check what means of transport are available for you. Some cities like Amsterdam, Cambridge and many Australian and New Zealand cities are bicycle-friendly, so you might want to purchase a bike (second-hand if necessary) and save loads of time and money whilst getting the job done.


Otherwise you can always make use of the public transport such as buses, trams or trains. Just make sure you are aware of the costs involved and how you can apply for discounts or subsidised passes. Make sure you understand well how the payment system works so you can save as much money as possible.


Top 4:   Will I get along well with classmates from my host country? How about other people from around the world?

Something we cannot deny is that universities around the world are becoming some of the most cosmopolitan places on earth! You don’t have to be in the middle of New York’s Times Square to realise that you have as much chance of studying with someone from America as with someone from Mongolia. Thus, getting along with such a wide range of personalities and cultures can be difficult.


But you need to remember what you have in common with all of them: being university students. You are drawn together to a common subject, a common place and possibly many other common interests. Also be curious about your mates’ backgrounds, each of them can give you a glimpse to a world of new cultures, places and flavours that you might not know.

Learn more: Culture Shock


Top 5:    Will I be able to cope with homesickness?

The most important way to face homesickness is to remember what your goal is at your university abroad. You have applied, taken exams, paid for your tuition fees, worked hard to get where you are. It isn’t simple to just give up then. Be strong and try to keep your main goal in mind: getting your university degree abroad and work in what you have dreamed of.


Make sure you are surrounded by people; your friends will help you keep afloat of any sadness you might be experiencing. Bring from home anything that makes you feel at ease in your new home city so you have a bit of familiarity in your daily life. And, as always, speak to your university counsellor and make sure they are aware of how you feel.


And you, do you have any questions you want to ask? Leave a comment if you wish to share them.

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