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How to choose your ideal university abroad

Studying abroad has many benefits. It’s an awesome way to develop new skills, make lots of friends, and boost your employability.

Choosing the right university is crucial to get the most out of studying abroad. With thousands of incredible universities across the world, picking the right one can be mind-boggling.

Think about the following factors to help choose the perfect university for you.

Choose a program to study abroad

Choosing a subject is a great place to start when deciding where to study. Think about topics you love, or skills you’d like to gain.

If you're undecided, many universities offer combined programs, allowing you to study more than one subject e.g. history and art, or business and finance. Studying can be challenging, so make it worthwhile by picking a subject you’re fond of.

Once you’ve chosen your dream course, you can rule out universities that don’t offer your program. The list of choices will be smaller, and it’ll be easier for you to make a decision

Pick a study location

Your study destination will be your new home, so choose somewhere you’ll feel safe and comfortable.

To help you decide on a location, think about your dream place e.g. a bustling city, a vibrant exotic paradise, or a peaceful scenic haven.

Also think about factors like:

  • Language
  • Local culture
  • Climate
  • Career opportunities

Check if you have a support network in the country you’ll be studying in e.g. caring friends or relatives you can reach out to if you need help. Also research the country’s attitudes towards certain communities and groups you’re part of, as your rights may be affected e.g. LGBTQ+ and women’s rights networks.

Think about extracurricular opportunities

Look into the activities, facilities, and services the university offers to work out if it's the best place for you. Find out what’s available in terms of:

  • Sports
  • Clubs
  • Societies
  • Events

Also, check what the university provides to help you achieve your career goals. Lots of universities have handy careers advice services that offer tips and workshops to help you find amazing internships, placements, jobs, and other types of work experience.

Check out the course content

The course content, teaching styles, and assessment methods vary between universities. Research what and how you’ll learn to ensure the university is right for you.

Check if the modules interest you. and find out how flexible your modules can be. For example, In the US, you can study modules unrelated to your major, giving you an eclectic learning experience. In Europe, most universities only let you pick modules related to your program.

Look at how the course content is delivered to check it’s what you’re expecting, e.g. lectures, seminars, and workshops. It’s also helpful to know how you’ll be assessed, whether it’s exams, assignments, or both.

Look at university rankings

Rankings help you compare universities. University rankings can show you how important or respected each university is. Universities are scored on several factors, like the quality of teaching, research, and reputation.

It’s worth checking how universities rank for your chosen program. Rankings based on the subject you want to study can be more useful than ones that rank universities as a whole.

Graduating from a highly ranked university can give your career a real head start. Companies may happily sponsor you to stay in the country to work if you’ve studied at a top institution.

Calculate the cost of studying overseas

Studying abroad can be expensive, so check if you can afford the tuition fees. There are also other costs to consider, like travel, accommodation, and day-to-day expenses.

Tuition fees vary between universities. To help you decide where to study, you can narrow down your choices by only considering the universities you can afford.

You may be eligible for funding, like scholarships, loans and grants. Financial aid varies between countries and universities, so read the criteria thoroughly.

Understand the application requirements

Research the relationship between your home country and your potential study destinations. The application process can differ depending on where you’re from. For example, if you’re from the European Union (EU), you can study in other EU countries without a student visa.

You may need to complete a language proficiency test, depending on where you choose to study. For example, most English-speaking universities require international students to pass the IELTS or TOEFL.

The way to apply also differs between nations. In the UK, you’re likely to apply through The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which involves writing a personal statement. In other countries, you can apply directly to your ideal university.

Get expert advice

To work out if a university is right for you, speak to current and former students, if you know any, and ask them about their experience at the university.

If you don’t know anyone, you can search online for reviews and testimonials. You can also speak to Studee’s student advice center. Studee’s friendly expert advisors will help you find the perfect university for you.