Choosing which College to Study Abroad in

When you are planning your study abroad, you would no doubt have to make a decision on where you want to go and which college or university to attend. Many of the factors that would help you determine which college is right for you is similar to that of choosing your college at home.

The first step is to get to know yourself. You need to ask yourself, “why am I going to study abroad?” You will need to think about what you expect to get from your experiences.

Are you looking to just have a lot of fun on your trip and use the opportunity to travel to other countries around the region? Are you looking to learn a new language?

For example, if you are looking to have a lot of community support while you are abroad, you might want to consider joining an exchange program that your University has already set up. This gives you the advantage of knowing that many students have already been there – or perhaps there is a sizable community of people from your own country that would be able to help you adjust to the new environment.  But if you are confident with your ability to do things by yourself without much hand-holding, you are freer to choose to go to school where there is relatively few people from your country so you can focus more on your other goals like learning a new language.

Choosing a location

This step is obvious if one of your goals is to learn a new language. If you want to learn Chinese don’t study abroad in Spain and if you want to learn Spanish don’t study abroad in China! Additionally, there are also other considerations when choosing a location. Do you enjoy a big city with a lot of people even if that means your living space may be small? How about the traffic or commute? What is your budget keeping in mind that the cost of living is higher in big cities?

How long is your study abroad trip? Will you be abroad for over a year or just one semester? If you are planning to study abroad just for one semester in the middle of the winter, you might want to reconsider going to study in places like Finland (unless you really enjoys the cold).

Consider your financial need

Many colleges and universities offer scholarships and grants for international students, you would just have to look and apply for it. Not only do you have to consider the tuition costs, you will also have to think about your cost of living; living in London is going to be more expensive than living in rural China.

Many countries especially in Europe like Finland, Spain, etc. also require international students to buy health insurance to get a visa. Most universities in the USA also have school’s specific insurance requirements for their student. So it is important to choose an insurance plan that would provide you with good coverage in addition to an affordable price.

What do you want to do afterward?

Lastly, if you are going to be studying abroad as a full-time degree seeking student, you might want to consider where you want to work after your graduation. Most universities usually have connections to companies or specific areas in which they are located in, therefore if you want to work in the USA or Europe after graduation it may help if you graduate from college in your area of interest.

Posted by ahoontrakul

Originally from Thailand, Apinant grew up in the United States and has extensive international experience traveling throughout Asia, Australia, North America and Europe. He has lived, studied and worked abroad in China, England, Taiwan and Thailand. Apinant is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Masters in International Business and a Bachelors of Science in Business Management.

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