The most important questions students ask about studying abroad

Studying abroad is often someone’s first experience with long-term international travel. In addition to all the questions about student life and university-level courses in another country, traveling in general can be intimidating. We’re here to help by answering some of the most common questions people ask when deciding whether to study abroad.

What is the cost of studying abroad?

The cost of studying abroad varies greatly depending on the path you are taking and the destination you choose. The three main pathways to study abroad are direct enrolment, cultural exchange and scholarship programmes. There is no right or wrong choice between these paths, but each choice comes with advantages and disadvantages.

University study abroad

Going indirectly to a university abroad, which means getting a cultural exchange, is generally the cheapest option, but it requires a great deal of work and independence from the student. Exchange programs vary in cost and are run through a collaboration between your home university and your host university. This means that you will likely owe tuition fees to your home university while you are abroad, in addition to any program fees. On the other hand, your student loans can be used for these expenses as well. Finally, studying abroad through a third-party program provider will usually be the most expensive option, but the benefits outweigh the additional costs in many cases.
Pro tip:  exchange currency before leaving your country, and exchange any leftover currency before returning home to get the best exchange rates.

How to budget for study abroad

The actual budget for your study abroad experience varies greatly depending on your circumstances, including the cost of living in the host city, the type of program, and the length of your trip. However, here are some questions you need to answer before setting your budget:
  • What are the accommodation options?
  • What are the daily transportation requirements?
  • What is the exchange rate?
  • What are your extracurricular goals while abroad?
  • How much travel will you do outside of the program?
  • Are there additional expenses not covered by your program fee? This may include textbooks, visa fees, health insurance requirements, etc.
Once you have a rough estimate of all of the above, you can calculate the budget. Numbeo is a great resource for estimating various expenses, including food and rent, to determine the cost of living based on location. Make sure you choose the correct currency to use to build your budget. It’s a good idea to exchange a few hundred dollars for local currency in case of emergency, and have access to a few thousand dollars in a bank or credit card (this may be a requirement for a student visa as in Germany for example.).  Read more about how to open a bank account in Germany. This amount varies depending on where you study, how long you plan to stay, and how much support you will get when you get there.
Pro tip:  Find a local student or student who has studied abroad before you and ask what their expenses are like and if they have any budget advice

What are the factors to consider when choosing a country to study abroad?

Choosing where to study abroad is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make, and with so many great choices, it can be challenging. To help you with the decision-making process, answer the following questions:
  • What languages ​​do you speak? Are you comfortable living and studying in a country that does not speak English?
  • What is your estimated budget?
  • Is there a particular topic that you are interested in gaining experience with?
  • What are your extracurricular goals while abroad?
  • What level of course or degree are you currently working on?
Even better, Study Shoot has a study abroad program search feature that allows users to filter programs based on their goals and circumstances. Using this feature will help inspire your decision by showing you thousands of possibilities around the world. In the end, the decision is entirely up to you, and there is no wrong answer. No matter where you decide to study abroad, you will be pushed to be more independent, gain culturally immersive experiences, and broaden your perspective. If you’re having a hard time making a decision, the best place to start is to ask friends and family who studied abroad what I like (or dislike) about where they studied.

How hard is it to pack up to study abroad?

If you’re new to long-term international travel, packing for an entire semester can seem an almost impossible task. Fortunately, in fact, it’s just as easy to pack up to study abroad as it is to go on a week-long trip, or at least it should be. I know it may seem like you need more stuff because you’ll be away for longer, but one of the most common mistakes people make while traveling abroad is actually overloading, not overloading. Here are some basics:
  • 7-10 days of clothing, ranging from warm to cold to wet weather options
  • Versatile shoes
  • Large backpack or duffel bag
  • Smaller day bag
  • Chargers, Power Adapters & Converters
  • Prescription
  • Travel size toiletries
  • Essential documents in the travel file, including passport, visa and proof of return flight (if required for entry)
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccine etc.
  • Cash for emergencies

Will studying abroad delay my graduation?

While there are exceptions for some degrees that have intensive courses, studying abroad will not inherently delay your graduation. Even in the case of STEM degrees, there are ways to mitigate the effects of studying abroad to prevent relapse. Even better, there are some circumstances where studying abroad may speed up your degree pursuit.
STEM is a term for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors.
However, even if your trip abroad makes your way to graduation slower, it will do so in the most important way possible, giving you valuable career and life skills along the way. You will end up with a broader skill set and more experience than your peers, so it will be worth it.

How difficult is it to study abroad?

The difficulty of your courses while studying abroad will depend on a few factors, including the program you are studying abroad in, the courses you need to progress towards graduation, and how willing you are to challenge yourself. Some programs, for example, university exchange programs are academically rigorous and some universities even have accredited research and training programs that may be more challenging.

What is the cheapest way to study abroad?

Direct enrollment in universities is the cheapest way to study abroad (when it does not include scholarship opportunities). To successfully enroll at a university abroad, you will need to do the research and coordinate the entire experience yourself. It is hard work and will take much more time compared to exchange programs and third parties. One of the main costs (and benefits) of study abroad programs is help and advice throughout the semester. If you can do this work yourself, you can save a significant amount of money. Do you want to get a scholarship?

Can I study abroad virtually?

There is no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has prompted software providers to adapt to the complex international travel environment we are still living in today. One of the ways that service providers continue to provide beneficial experiences for students is through distance education programs.. Check out our guide on the topic of distance education and the most important universities. Virtual study abroad programs (also referred to as online study abroad) provide students with exposure to diverse communities where they will learn about international issues in a global classroom environment. Virtual programs are very different, like traditional study abroad, so finding a program that fits your goals and expectations is essential to having a meaningful experience. The most difficult step to take is the first, which is to commit yourself that you will be working on spending a semester, summer, or year studying abroad. Personally, my first attempt to study abroad failed because I could not afford the program. Then, I learned my lesson and spent countless hours researching and applying to scholarship opportunities, building my savings, and eventually being able to take my dream class at the University of Bochum in New Zealand. In the end, all the time, energy and work  was worth  it.

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