This article deals with attending a foreign institution for all of your undergraduate years. For study abroad programs, click here.
Deciding where to go for college is one of the most pivotal decisions in your life, not just professionally, but also to develop the path of your life. If you are exploring going to foreign institutions for the length of your undergraduate career, you should have a clear idea of what you are after and consider the following factors.
This is a major factor in considering where to study even domestically, so it stands to reason that you should refer to it even when it is on a larger scale. However, some of its aspects may change. For example, some programs in the United Kingdom may be cheaper than those in the United States, but this is evened out by the high cost of living in the U.K. Additionally, some schools do not offer financial aid to international students or are not need-blind when considering international students. Make sure you are completely educated on the details and give yourself an estimated cost that includes factors such as tuition, housing, food and if needed, transport.
Some colleges allow you to complete your degree in three years, like certain institutions in Canada and Australia, if you have completed the Internal Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Conversely, certain programs at some colleges could be more time-consuming than the average four year course. This also ties into the price aspect, because graduating earlier or later can add or subtract a whole year’s tuition.
3. Transfer options
If you decide that you want to switch from an academic institution in Australia to one in the United Kingdom, you do not want to find out that they will not accept any credits from your prior institution and that you have wasted a year.
4. Professional goals
Do you wish to settle in that specific region abroad after you complete your studies? Some programs are tailored to the region, such as some Political Science programs that may put emphasis on the structure in the home country. You may also be offered job placements, or at least a grace period to look for jobs in that country, after college. Another good reason would be if the particular program you wish to study is not offered at any institution in your country.
5. Quality of education
Consider if the quality of the program you are applying to is better than any of those in your country. If you are applying to the program as a safety and do end up going there, reevaluate all the factors to make sure it really is the best fit for you.
6. Personal factors
Is the most commonly spoken language in the country English, and if not, can you speak the language fluently? Are you used to the local cuisine, and if so, do you love or hate it? Are you familiar with the differences in their culture and behaviors? It is important to note these seemingly trivial factors because the transition into college life is always hard, and the added stress of not fitting in can make it worse.
7. Specific policies
Acquaint yourself with your countries policies. Do you need an i-20 and a Visa to study in the country you have chosen? Some believe that visiting certain countries may lead to others prohibiting you from entering their country. This is not a situation you want to face at the last minute!
To conclude, as long as you know your preferences and have given them enough precedence in your decision, you should do great. This could be a great learning experience that changes the course of your life.