So, you’re thinking about studying overseas? How exciting. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to study at some of the world’s leading institutions, or to immerse yourself in a new culture and gain invaluable life experiences. But studying overseas isn’t the right option for everyone: you’ll be a long way from home in unfamiliar surroundings, having left behind family and friends, so you’ve got to be sure this is right for you. Check out our tips for studying abroad.
Know what you’re planning to achieve
Do it for the right reasons, not just because you ‘might as well’ or because it just sounds like a ‘cool idea’. Know what you want to get out of it and how doing so will enable you to further yourself when it comes to your future career. It should fit in with you as a person; your interests, your personality, your goals. Consider actually writing your goals down, then set out to achieve them while you’re out there – whether it’s becoming fluent in a language, or meeting influential people – the act of writing these down may focus the mind.
Getting on the program
Adhere to the procedures of your college or university with regards to studying overseas – these will probably include the application and acceptance process, program choice and credit transfer, amongst other things. Seek advice from organisations such as the Institute of International Education. Make sure you know what the program entails, and whether it will give you a qualification that will be recognized when you get back home.
Part of the whole reason for studying abroad is surely the opportunity to sample a different culture, so do your research. Learn about where you’re going, learn (at least some) of their language, prepare to speak to people about where they live – your preparation will be appreciated.
How to pay for it
You’ll want to make sure the fees are paid on time, and securely. Companies that specialize in international wire transfers can provide that service, helping protect payments from fluctuations in exchange rates, transferring them directly to the school, university or your own personal bank account. Companies like www.worldfirst.com offer competitive exchange rates, and if you’re making regular payments, they can fix your rate for up to three years using forward contracts, so you’ll know exactly how much will arrive at the destination every term.
In terms of the day-to-day, set a budget and stick to it – it may take a bit of time to get used to what things are worth in another currency.
Play it safe
Know all about the good and bad areas of the place you’re staying – every place has them. Make the most of the resources available to you from both your home and host institution, and tap into any local advice you are given. Police, medical and counselling services are there for you, so make sure you know how to reach them.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.