How to Find the Right University Abroad

by Christine Chadwick

If you're feeling a bit of wanderlust as school comes to a close, you may be looking to find a unversity that will take you out of the comfort zone of your hometown. Applying to universities across the country is one option, of course. However, if your love of travel leaves you yearning for a more worldly experience that allows you to completely immerse yourself in a different culture, then heading off to study abroad may be the right choice for you. But where do you start?

Here are 4 tips on how to choose a university that best fits your interests, budget and personal comfort level.

Consider the Cost

In the past two decades the amount of students who study abroad has tripled, according to a study conducted by the Institute of International Education. Certainly, one of the reasons for this trend may be the rising costs of a UK university education. In searching out alternatives to pricey universities, students may have discovered that there are many well-respected colleges and universities abroad where tuition is either free or very low cost. If finances are a huge concern, looking into an overseas education may be the right choice. Keep in mind, however, that not all International universities offer free tuition. Additionally, even if you're able to attend tuition-free, you'll need to take into account all of the other expenses you'll incur, such as plane fares, daily transportation, housing expenses, stationery supplies and food.

Are You Looking More for a Degree or a Cultural Experience?

When considering overseas colleges, try to think about what you really want to gain from your time abroad. Just as in the U.K., each university you're interested in has a reputation for a certain kind of atmosphere. A university may not have all of the programmes or courses you wish to take, but maybe the culture and neighborhood looks interesting or stimulating. If you make a list of exactly what you're looking for in an overseas experience, you'll more easily be able to make a choice based on personal preference rather than solely on price.

Will Your Degree Allow you to Work in the UK?

Consider what you plan to do with your degree when it is complete. Does the degree you're getting overseas fit into those plans? How will an International degree be viewed by any jobs you might want to apply for? Some fields require you to take certification courses or exams prior to or after graduation. You need to ensure that any test or course that you take outside of school is transferable and usable in the UK. Alternatively, if you're planning to stay overseas after you graduate, you'll want to get clear answers on how to set up residency and secure employment in that country after you are no longer a student.

Know Your Language Options

Many universities abroad have courses that are taught in english, but some do not. If you know that you're looking to immerse yourself in a culture and want to take on the challenge of learning another language, choose a university that teaches courses in both english and other languages. You may also want to choose one that has a lower percentage of International students to increase your chances of making friends with native students who can help you to learn the target language faster.