Picking the right destination is key to making the most of your experience. Luckily, there are thousands of fantastic countries, cities, and towns to choose from. So, whatever you’re looking for, you won’t be short of choice.
Thinking about the following factors can help you work out where is best for you.
Where do you want to travel?
Thinking about the countries or cities you’ve always dreamt of visiting is one of the best ways to shortlist destinations. This is your chance to tick these places off your travel bucket list while earning a top-quality education.
Better still, you could wind up living and working in this country after you graduate. If you’re torn between going traveling or heading straight to university, studying abroad offers the best of both worlds.
What do you want to study?
Knowing what subject you’d like to study can make really help you narrow down your shortlist of study abroad destinations.
Some countries are renowned for their expertise in particular fields and industries, so you’ll know where to go for world-leading teaching and research.
What are the career opportunities like?
Whether you’re planning to stay overseas after completing your degree, or think you’ll be heading back home, it’s still wise to look at the career opportunities in different countries.
Look at the graduate employment rate in your subject area and explore the industries you could apply your skills to.
Where are you from?
It’s possible to study almost anywhere in the world, no matter your nationality. However, international agreements between your home country and other nations could make the application process much easier.
For example, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can study in other European countries at a fraction of the cost, or sometimes for free. They’re also exempt from some visa requirements and can move freely between nations.
What languages do you speak?
Studying abroad is a fantastic chance to master a new language. However, immersing yourself in a new environment with no native language skills can be frightening.
Consider choosing a destination where you can already speak some, if not all, of the local dialect. You’ll be able to interact with people more easily, and carrying out daily tasks will be simpler. You’re also less likely to experience the negative effects of culture shock.
Remember that some countries and universities set language proficiency requirements for international students. You might be asked to sit a test, like the TOEFL or IELTS, as part of the admissions process. If your skills aren’t up to scratch, you won’t be offered a place.
What are the costs?
Figuring out your budget can help you cut down your study abroad choices. You’ll have to find a destination that works around your finances, so it pays to look into typical tuition fees and living costs.
If the costs of your first choice location would clear out your savings, you should probably consider some more affordable cities and countries. You’ll often have to provide proof of sufficient funds when applying for a student visa too, so be realistic about what you can and can’t afford.
With such a large number of universities offering international study, there’s something to suit every budget. Some countries even offer the chance to study abroad for free, while others offer generous scholarship and grant opportunities. Set aside some research time and you could strike gold.
Urban or rural?
Capital and large cities are popular places to study because of their impressive universities, vibrant nightlives, and unlimited recreational opportunities. However, the hustle and bustle of city life could be overwhelming for some students.
If you’d prefer a slower pace of life, you might be happier in a more rural location. You’ll become part of a close-knit community and will have more chances to explore the great outdoors during your free time.
Hot or cold?
Climates differ tremendously around the world, so your preference for warmer or colder weather can help to narrow down your search.
If you’re a sun worshipper, you’ll love the hot temperatures of countries like Italy, France, Spain, and Australia. By contrast, it’s always sweater weather in nations like Finland, Russia, and Lithuania. So, if winter is your favorite season, it’s worth checking these destinations out.
Will you have a support network?
Moving to a new country can be daunting, but having access to a friendly support system can help you settle in.
By choosing a country with a high population of international students, you know you’ll find people with shared experiences and interests.
If you have friends and family members dotted across the globe, consider picking their home country. They won’t live right on your doorstep, but you know they’ll always be there if you need them.
What is the culture like?
Studying abroad will expand your worldview, but some countries’ social, cultural, and political values may be completely different from your own. For instance, the rights of women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community vary hugely across the globe.
As long as you feel safe and comfortable, no destination is off-limits. Nonetheless, it’s still worth doing some background research so you can make an informed decision and know what to expect when you arrive.