Complete Guide for Your International Study Ambitions

We live in a rapidly changing world, and globalization is continuously opening up new opportunities. Today is a time of new perspectives, the interaction of different cultures, and innovative solutions. All this is impossible if you stay in one place and use long-outdated solutions. It is why an increasing number of American students are choosing to study abroad.

Whether you are a future philologist or physicist, engineer or journalist, teacher, or politician, you need a unique experience that will make you competitive and help you choose a direction for further development.

More than 300,000 students from the United States apply for study, internship, or volunteer abroad every year. No matter which college you choose, the international experience opens up new facets of yourself and gives the green light to your hidden talents.

Sounds attractive?

Let us provide you with the essential information you might need along the way.

Pros and cons of studying abroad

Comparing the advantages and disadvantages, we can say that the former looks more attractive. But a lot here depends on what kind of person you are. If you are an adult and responsible, know how to make decisions, and understand their consequences, you can gain invaluable experience. But if you lack confidence, it is better to put this idea aside for a couple of years. Getting out of your comfort zone can be painful.

How to find a perfect place for you to study abroad

On the one hand, the variety of choices gives you a considerable number of options. On the other hand, this makes the final decision very difficult. Make a list of your priority criteria and evaluate all the options available.

Language

The idea of studying a new language is lovely. But are you ready to waste your time and energy? If you go to the United Kingdom or Australia, you only need to deal with specific accents. But in Germany or Switzerland, you WILL need German. Of course, there are bilingual programs, but the longer you stay in the country, the more crucial it is to understand and interact with the local people.

Culture and climate

You will have to spend several years in a foreign country with completely different traditions, ethics, stereotypes, everyday life, attitude to religion, cuisine. While you’re traveling, everything seems funny and charming, but living in an unfamiliar environment is a challenge. The climate is no less important! If you cannot live without the sun and the sea, don’t choose the Nordic countries. 

Budget

You can find the cost of study programs on the official websites of the universities. But you should also take into account the costs of living, food, entertainment, travel. In some countries, students from abroad can study for free and even earn extra money; some universities provide partial or full scholarships. It is better to contact the education abroad consultant to find out all the details and calculate the total costs.

Your career ambitions

The choice of university and program, as well as further steps after graduation, depends on who you want to become and where you’re going to work. This aspect may be the most important if you’ve decided on your future career. But you might just want to have fun. And then make sure that the living and studying conditions in this country are as comfortable as possible for you.

Most popular destinations and fields to study abroad for US students

Students from all over the world travel to the United States to get a decent education. Statistics show that American students are no less willing to take part in partner exchange programs and international language courses. Many of them move to another country for several years to better immerse themselves in culture and gain a variety of experiences.

Here are the top 10 countries that American students choose according to US News Best Global Universities:

  • Japan;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Australia;
  • China;
  • Ireland;
  • Germany;
  • France;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • The United Kingdom. 

You may have several for your further decision: choose a country that you like, choose a specific university, choose a specific program for study in exchange. Some students just want to go abroad and expand their perspectives. Find out what opportunities your college offers and use them to your advantage.

The cost of study abroad

It isn’t easy to determine the average cost of higher education in each country. It depends not only on the type of program but also on the major you choose. In many states, future businessmen or doctors pay more tuition fees than those who want to become a sociologist or to study preschool education. Students whose programs involve working in laboratories (biologists, chemists, engineers, programmers) will also have to pay so-called laboratory fees, which increase the final cost of the course.

In some European countries, free higher education is available. However, there are severe restrictions on these programs: for example, in Germany, you can study for free only in German, and you should speak it very well (at least at the B2 level). In this case, the student has to pay administrative fees and purchase textbooks only, but it is also essential to take into account the other costs.

Location

If you are planning to visit family and travel, you should think about the location. For example, tickets to Australia will be costly. Yes, you can visit different places on this continent and see kangaroos. But you definitely won't be able to get into the car and go to Paris for the weekend.

Europe, in terms of location, is the most convenient and profitable option. Prices are lower than in the US, and the distances are relatively short. You can study in one country you choose and travel by car or by bus a lot. 

Accommodation

There are several options here. You can live on campus with other students, rent a room or bed, rent your apartment.

On the one hand, living with other students is cheap and fun. On the other hand, you are deprived of your personal space and comfort.

Short-term exchange programs include homestay accommodation. It is a great opportunity to integrate into a new environment, practice the language, learn more about the culture, and save money.

Food

Visit the student canteen, cook yourself, or dine in the best restaurants.

In most countries, food prices are lower than in the United States. In doing so, you get the opportunity to learn more about other cuisines and expand your gastronomic knowledge.

The best option is to cook on campus with other students, occasionally visiting bars and cafes for fun and new experience.

Length of stay

At first glance, it seems that everything is obvious. The longer you stay in the country, the more you pay.

On the other hand, short and long term apartment rentals differ in price. If you stay here for a year or more, you can get a good discount from the landlord. Student campuses are also mainly aimed at those who prefer to play the long game. 

Additional expenses

It can be public transport, mobile communications, and the Internet, clothing, educational literature, health insurance, etc.

Planning your study abroad, think about paying for your education, accommodation, as well as a part-time job. If you’re going to Europe, 15-20 hours per week is sufficient to cover student needs. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan are a bit more expensive. That’s why you should think about additional financing as well.

Financial help for abroad students

US Scholarships

Merit-based

It is financial support for students with outstanding academic success. When you think about it, your grades come to mind. But this is not the only thing that can affect the result. Some universities appreciate students with athletic, musical, and other talents. These scholarships almost always cover only or part of the tuition fees.

  • Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship - The AAJA Sports Journalism Scholarship equals to $2,000. If you are a current college student interested in a media or sports journalism career, this award is a great chance to help you succeed. In particular, this scholarship is aimed at Asian Americans and their presence in the media. This award also provides several related career opportunities. 
  • Charles l. Hebner Memorial Scholarship - It is aimed at U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens enrolled full-time at the University of Delaware or Delaware's State University. Your GPA must be at least 3.0 with at least a 1000 score on the SAT. The preference is given to students majoring in Political Science. Remember to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 
  • Fulbright Scholar Program - Offering awards in over 125 countries, the Fulbright Scholarship provides research and study opportunities in various subjects that range from creative arts and journalism to administration, the Law, and the science. The 2021-2022 applications are currently open. If you are not the U.S. resident, your application will be reviewed based on country, academic credentials, and a personal statement letter. 

Student-specific

These are grants that are issued depending on the students’ life circumstances. 

There are different types of student-specific scholarships:

  • under-represented population grants;
  • international student grants;
  • survivor grants;
  • non-traditional student grants.

Usually, you should write a letter of motivation to tell your story and impress the scholarship committee. Read all the information available about educational programs because institutions have different priorities. For example, some of them support people from abroad, while others are looking for black women or students from low-income families.

Destination-specific

These are scholarships awarded by the United States to students who plan to study in a country. It is the case when you can go to Havana or Costa Rica because your government has entered into a corresponding agreement. Find out what programs are available to choose the most attractive option.

Program-specific

Program-specific scholarships are created for qualified candidates who have academic and personal achievements in the industry. The direction of the grants, their number, and size depend on the current priorities of the United States. The country regularly identifies industries that require investment and support. If it's yours, take your chance.

  • AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants - AIFS Study Abroad stands for over 13 various scholarships that are perfect for students who plan to study abroad. From Generation Study Abroad Scholarship of $1,000 to the summer awards of $500, you are free to choose relevant scholarship based on location, academic achievements, institution, or a specific award of $5,000 given for the study in the UK. 
  • IFSA-Butler Study Abroad Scholarships - The general IFSA award for summer programs are $500, while per semester scholarship equals $1,500 and $2,500 for full year course. If you are a student belonging to an underrepresented group, you can receive up to $10,000 per year or $5,000 for semester. The study abroad award includes $2,500 assistance for underprivileged students. 
  • USAC Scholarships - Aimed at study abroad expenses, the USAC provides assistance for students enrolled in USAC programs. Their awards include program-specific scholarships and aid for-first generation college students, regional, or the military service help. The amount varies from $750 to $1000. The minimum 3.0 GPA is required. The regional scholarships include Middle East, France, Thailand, and many other country-specific scholarships. 

Subject-specific

These scholarships resemble the previous type, as they are awarded to students who choose a specific major of study. It is necessary to support and develop particular industries. Be prepared for particular requirements in return for funding, such as conducting a case study in the country where you will be studying.

  • Video Game Design Scholarship - Providing $1,000 award, all currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible. You must provide proof of acceptance to a recognized US college, university, or vocational educational institution. The application includes a 1500-2000 words essay. You have to explain your vision of Mixed, Virtual, or Augmented Reality and how it will influence the future of the gaming environment.
  • US Army Health Professions Scholarship Program - This award helps pay for an advanced degree in the field of Healthcare. The benefits include full tuition payment, books, equipment, and the $2,400 monthly stipend. By signing in, you receive a $20,000 bonus with the monthly allowance for food and housing needs. The requirements include enrollment in a graduate program in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. 
  • Annette Urso Rickel Foundation Dissertation Award for Public Policy - This $1,000 scholarship supports dissertation research on public policies. Your research must have the potential to improve services for children and families facing psychological issues. This award is aimed at graduate students in Psychology that are enrolled full-time at American or Canadian university. IRB approval must be received prior to application if any human participants are involved in your research.

Scholarships provided by foreign countries

If you haven't found a suitable scholarship at an American university, there is no time to despair. Most international institutions appreciate the desire of foreigners to study here. It enhances its reputation in the global market and opens up new scientific opportunities. This desire, of course, receives financial support.

Each country has its government scholarship programs such as DAAD in Germany or FIPSE Fellowships in Latin America. If you start preparing for admission in advance, you will have time to collect the necessary documents and write a convincing motivation letter.

Private organizations funding and grants

Private organizations mostly unite for the sake of some common ideas. For example, if your parents are military, you can get a grant from a company that supports the military. Or you can convince your college alumni community that you are a worthy candidate.

It is the kind of scholarship where your rates may not matter. Much more important is your motivation, life goals, and plans. Not the case when you can write that you want to have great fun in Europe. But education for the sake of further volunteering in third world countries is another matter.

  • American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF)  - ASF provides various grants and awards based upon individual approach. The grants are given to students enrolled in American or Scandinavian universities, engaged in search or creative art projects. In 2018, the total funding offered equaled $630,900, providing financial assistance to 58 students. If you are a student or an artist thinking of studying in Scandinavia, consider ASF’s help. 
  • The Fund for Education Abroad Scholarships - FEA aims to provide financial assistance to the bright students who plan to study abroad. Those who pass the eligibility requirements receive a chance to become a part of any international education program based on a personal choice. The scholarship ranges from $1,250 to $5,000. The 2020-21 application cycle runs between November 16, 2020 and January 20, 2021. 
  • Go! Overseas Scholarships - If you like some fun and feel creative, you can apply and win your $500 scholarship as long as you are currently enrolled in any US institution. You must fill out an application and submit a creative photo with a short 300-words essay explaining what motivates you to study abroad. It increases your chances of becoming a lucky scholarship winner!
  • Humboldt German Chancellor Scholarship - These respective foundation awards are based on your current academic position, degree, and residence. Supporting over 140 countries, it has no quotas or limitations. All that matters is the educational qualities of an applicant. The unique part of this scholarship is getting your research published and promoted worldwide in addition to financial support.

Crowdfunding

This method of funding education has gained popularity in recent years. The bottom line is that you are agitating other people to help you. If hundreds of different people from all over the world contribute 10 dollars each, you will receive the desired amount.

How do you get them to do it? It is the question. You should tell your story: why you, why this country, why this program. Perhaps you have a touching dream or an ambitious goal. Or you’re ready to offer something in return for a contribution, such as your unique experience, original content, etc.

Ways to save money for studying abroad

How to make the most experience out of staying and studying in a foreign country

It's no secret that in the end, everything depends on the person. Some people get the most out of one small chance. Others have everything but take nothing.

Only you decide what kind of person you will be and how much you get from studying abroad. Here are some tips to help you.

Try to adapt

A new country is always a challenge and difficulty. But don't let yourself get stuck. Explore a new city, chat with locales, learn about the communities at your college and campus. The more active you are involved in local social life, the better you feel. If you need professional counseling during your onboarding period, ask your college tutor about it.

Make friends

People are an essential part of a new experience. You don't have to establish close bonds with everyone you meet. But make sure you know who you can turn to for a variety of issues, including support. Try to communicate not only with other foreigners but with locals as well.

Learn language

Even if your program involves teaching in English, do not limit yourself to this. First, you'll get more opportunities to interact with the locals. Secondly, this is an excellent boost to your future career. Thirdly, learning languages develops neural connections, do not miss this opportunity.

Ask questions

If you have some issues, ask. It is pretty challenging to be alone with your thoughts and questions. Remember that world is open to you, and the next stage depends on you. Communicate with different people to gain new insights. Ask your professors, fellow students, tutors, even random people on the streets. Be open and sincere. 

How to stay safe studying abroad

The first thing you should think about when moving to another country to study is health insurance. Make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations. Take with you the medicine you need daily.

Also, take care of high-quality mobile communication and the Internet. If you don't know the language yet, install the translator app.

Most universities have adaptation clubs for international students. They will share emergency contacts with you. Most likely, you will even get a mentor who will support you during the adaptation period.

There is no doubt that studying abroad is an exciting experience. Remember that you are in a different country with different traditions and rules. Respect this culture, even if you don't understand some things. 

Using our recommendations, you’ll definitely succeed wherever you’re going to study!

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