4 considerations before applying to schools abroad
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest post by Brooke Chaplan
Attending school overseas is an exciting idea for any prospective student. But when push comes to shove, there are numerous practical decisions you have to think about before applying abroad. From the travel, cost, and even just the application itself, going overseas can mean a lot of time and work put in from you. Considering every detail is important to getting the best deal and finding the perfect program for you. Of these numerous considerations, the four most important are listed below.
Consider the Cost
Analyze the marketability of the degree you’re thinking about, the chosen school’s prestige, the availability of student loans for foreign students, and the exchange rate between the local currency and the currency used in the country where the school is located. If you fail to factor in the financial burdens associated with going to school abroad, you may be financially crippled for life. Keep in mind that many foreign locales have excellent programs for a fraction of what a degree would cost elsewhere, you just have to be sure. If your degree program isn’t going to guarantee you a job or internship back home, the cost of going to school may not be worth the reward. Look at students who have succeeded in the past and talk to faculty who can help you find out where you can use the degree to your advantage.
Consider the Housing
Specifically, does the university provide housing for foreign students, what is the cost of living on campus vs. off campus, is it safe to live off campus, and what type of public transit is available to ride to the school? If you find an economical apartment in a nice neighborhood but with no access to public transportation, then living there may be impractical. If they do provide student housing is it included in tuition costs? Are there any ways you can save money or get financial aid here as a foreign student. Look at all your options and find out what you can live with.
Consider the Travel
A U.S. citizen will need a passport to leave the U.S. and vaccinations for local diseases may be needed before you can safely enter a foreign locale. Certain students may need a student visa in order to enter a foreign country as well. For example, if you wanted to attend medical school in an exotic location like the Caribbean, a visa would be required for those staying in the country more than 90 days. Schools like St. Martinus University often offer a lot of student financial aid for travel and visas as well. If you are going to a more exotic country you might need to think about language barriers. If you will have a lot of fellow foreign students to help you around and if you are familiar with the culture it may not be such a shock.
Consider the Local Government
Utilize websites such as the CIA World Fact Book to evaluate the governmental stability of the country in which the school is located and research how locals are reputed to treat students of your own nationality. It would not be ideal to attend a school in an area where you don’t feel safe or welcomed. Look at reviews of the school from alumni and past foreign students. They can help you navigate your way in how life is after graduation and during the school semesters.
Wherever your educational goals take you, the most important thing to remember is to work hard and enjoy the country you’ve chosen to visit. Immersion into a foreign culture exponentially broadens your horizons and will provide you with a completely different perspective on life.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.