Here is a quick guide of five Do’s and Don’ts to consider when thinking about leaving the comforts of home for your study abroad adventure. 

 

Five Do’s

  1. Plan Ahead: Wanting to continue your education after secondary school should never come as an unexpected surprise. Do, take the time to plan ahead by researching the college and university options available in the region and abroad. Make a list of your top choices regarding programs, tuition fees and work-study options before making a final decision on a college or university.
  2. Hunt for Scholarships and Bursaries: As an international student, you are often paying some very high fees in tuition. Fortunately, many institutions offer a variety of financing options through scholarships and bursaries. It is also worthwhile to hunt for scholarships and bursaries through community organizations, student clubs, volunteer opportunities and/or through work-study programs. It helps to become familiar with the international student office at your school. There are numerous financial resources available to you while studying. 
  3. Strive for Balance: It takes time and practice to create a balance among your life, work and studies. When you go abroad to study at a university or college, it is easier to divert from your studies, especially when you are doing a part-time job. It is important to organize your life to make the most of your time abroad. Consider creating a schedule to factor in the responsibilities that require your time. Remember, your priority should always be your studies- set the biggest portion of your time towards it. 
  4. Work After Graduation: If you would consider living temporarily in your country of study, take the time to find out more information about postgraduate opportunities for employment. Many universities and colleges help their new grads to find employment opportunities in their various fields of interest. Explore the opportunities provided at the career centre in your institution to help prepare for life after graduation
  5. Document Your Experiences: Write about your best encounters and the things that you learned from those memorable and challenging experiences. The new experiences that you will have and the people that you will meet will create some of the most unforgettable moments in your time abroad.

 

Five Don’ts

  1. Don’t forget hidden costs: Studying abroad can become extremely expensive if you have not planned for expenses outside of the cost of school fees. Remember to research the cost of living for the city/country where you decide to study. Expenses such as immigration, rent- if you live off campus, telephone bills, groceries and laundry, can eat away at your budget if you haven’t fully prepared for these expenses. 
  2. Don’t get overwhelmed by immigration requirements: A lot of students can become overwhelmed by all the necessary requirements needed for applying and maintaining your immigration documents such as your study permit and visas. If you prepare early, meet your application deadlines and stay on top of the expiration dates for your passport, study permit and visas, your immigration owes won’t weigh you down. 
  3. Don’t forget about language barriers: If you have chosen to study in a foreign speaking country, remember that there will be a learning curve to not only studying in a different language, but also communicating with residents. Learn the new language as well as the lingua franca (lingo) in your new space to keep informed of the slang and dialect that can help you to navigate your everyday world.
  4. Don’t Befriend Just Anyone: As you are not familiar with people and situations of the country, you need to be careful while making new friends. Remember, new students are more susceptible to scams and being taken advantage of in new environments. 
  5. Don’t forget to become familiar with the laws of your new space: Every country has its own set of laws that you should abide by. Get to know the legal age for drinking, the regulations about driving as a foreign resident and your rights as a temporary resident in your new space. If you decide to live off campus in non-student housing, familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant. Keep abreast with any changes in laws that may affect your ability to continue to live and study abroad.

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