Language &,College Study Abroad, International Studies Abroad

By: Dori Kelsey

Travel expands the mind and so does education. Little wonder then that many young people dream of combining the two and studying abroad. International studies not only confer a prestigious or unusual degree but also expand your horizons-literally and otherwise! Being in a college abroad lets you soak in the atmosphere of an alien place until it becomes your own. Living in a place thousands of miles from home increases independence and self-reliance and meeting other students from diverse countries and cultures broadens your understanding about the world.
Studying abroad is no impossible dream. All it takes is some careful planning and preparation. Here are some quick, simple tips to help you on your way:

Research! Research! Research!
Knowledge is power-and in this case even more so. In most cases, you will not be able to visit the colleges that you want to apply to. The best way to know more about them is to read as much as possible about international studies. Most colleges abroad have websites that you can visit, which give extensive information about admission procedures, fees, scholarships and specific subjects such as math, science or language study programs.

Plan meticulously
Once you've read enough, chart out a plan for studying abroad. Treat it like a special project because it will probably require as much time, energy as one. Zero in on the colleges you want to apply to. Identify what the pros and cons of each college is. Create a spreadsheet timeline or calendar with important dates and deadline marked out. International colleges usually require extensive documents. Prepare lists of everything you will need and tick off items as they get done.

Prepare for the tests
Many international countries will require you to sit for special exams to be eligible to study in their colleges. Find out what tests you need to sit for and where you can take them. Explore the possibility of attending special classes or language study programs to prepare for the tests. It's best to prepare for at least a period of three months before attempting the tests because a low score will affect your application. Put aside some time every day to study.

Organize your paperwork
International studies require a lot of documentation. Make sure that your passport and other documentation is up-to-date and valid. Keep everything in one drawer or folder so that it's all in one place. Keep photocopies of important documents because you may need them for multiple purposes. Some colleges abroad may require recommendations from old teachers or managers. Approach those who are likely to give you good recommendations and keep these ready.

Keep an eye on finances:-Studying abroad can be expensive. Many colleges abroad, however, do offer scholarships and other kinds of assistance. Sometimes, this will finance only a part of your education abroad and you will need to arrange for the rest. Explore multiple options for financing your international education. Do the banks in your country give education loans for international studies? Are there organizations or trusts that help deserving students? What criteria do you need to meet to apply for these?

Get ready to fly!
Once all the details have been ironed out and it is definite that you will be studying abroad, start preparing for your stay in a new country. Read up as much as possible. Finalize your living arrangements. Talk to people who are already there and find out what you need to take with you. Tie up loose ends in your home country. Decide what you want to leave behind or give away. Spend time with family and friends-you may not see them again for a while. And most of all, be excited; you're finally on your way to being an international student!

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