Study abroad guide

If you yearn to study abroad, this is your opportunity to realize that dream. There are lot of potentials and resources in developing countries. Much potential remain dormant or passive because they lack the opportunities to showcase their skills. Illegal migration seems to be another way of escaping the insensitivity of administrators in developing countries. An ultimate chance however is studying. However, how many people know this?

Studying enhances your opportunities in the labor market; studying abroad further enhances your skills and experience. Due to the experiences I gathered during my study and stay abroad. I would disclose some major facts needed when you want to study abroad. I would reveal the basic things you need to know by asking relevant questions.

 How do I Start?

This is a crucial question as many people fail in their bid to secure a visa to study abroad. Like a mother preparing for the delivery of a new baby. There are several things she gets ready before the delivery day. Let me start by disclosing major things that are needed:

 First and foremost is a burning desire.

 Qualifications and certificates; for undergraduate study you would need your GCE or other relevant certificates, an experience in some fields such as Nursing or technical qualifications. A TOEFL certificate….which depends on the university. For a Masters degree you definitely would need your transcripts and other certificates.

 You would need a valid passport.

 You would need academic references (references from professors) or otherwise.

 You would need to certify most of your documents (this is done by taking the original and photocopies to the court or notary public institution to certify it. This also depends on the requirements of universities.

 If you are studying without scholarship; you have two options. The first is showing or depositing the required financial proof in the foreign countries bank which ranges from 8,000 Euros as minimum requirement for one year. The other option is getting a sponsor in Europe; for instance if you have a relative or friend that is stable financially in Europe. He/she could act as a sponsor throughout your study by going to the home office to pledge his support for your study and through that you get a document.

 You must have access to Internet; define the perimeter and base of your search for a programme in most case. You could narrow your search to advanced countries in Europe or the least developed.

 You must be ready to learn the language of the country you want to study; as it is most times difficult to get a part time job without proficiency in the language.

 Language requirements are important for some fields of study or some countries in Europe. More so it would be an added advantage to be proficient in several foreign languages.

Deadline and Applications

You must be observant when it comes to the deadline. Several Universities have different admission deadlines. Another crucial issue is reading the instructions on the webpage as regards admission requirements carefully. After that, issues such as relevant documents, exceptions and forms are important. Applications sometimes require a brief view of your future aspirations, the relevance of the study to your future aspirations.

For Master’s degree programme, you need a well written CV and a submission of intent. Most people do not get admitted to Foreign Universities in Europe, because of grammatical errors in the short essay. Some Master’s programme even requires you to write a short proposal of what your Master’s thesis topic would look like. This is all aimed at understanding if the applicant is fit enough for the study programme. Remember some courses in European Universities may require you writing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or TOEFL.

Letters of Recommendation

In most cases, the Master’s programme requires academic references from professors, senior lecturers at the home University you obtained your first degree. Exceptions to the foregoing occur only when you applied to a professional degree, which requires the Manager or director of your company to make recommendations.

Which Countries in Europe are suitable for studying if I don’t have enough money?

Many are ignorant of the opportunities that exist in European Universities. In countries such as Sweden and Finland; you can study without paying tuition fees but you must declare that you have the financial strength to sustain yourself and study. Norway is another country without tuition but I would advise you to seek scholarship by checking the Quota scholarship programme.

In which Countries in Europe can I study at a cheap rate?

Generally, Europe is expensive but you can still study in some countries . Countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland were not mentioned because of the cost of studying over there is high. From my experience Germany is also another country that might be a less expensive place for a foreigner to study. You can contact me for more information.

Well countries like Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania all have English programmes and a cheap living cost. Your country of destination depends on your financial status, so you need to think very well before embarking on a campaign to study abroad.

What are the financial commitments?

Planning to study abroad involves commitment both mental and financial. You need to think about several costs; cost of transportation and logistics within your country in preparation for studying abroad. (Visiting your home universities, transport cost to the embassy etc). Another form of commitment is the flight ticket, health insurance fee which is monthly, accommodation, feeding, clothing, transportation, books to mention but a few.

Contacting the University as a prospective student.

I would advise you to visit the university’s home page, see what they have to offer before applying. You must also ask several questions before you travel. The embassy might also be a good source of getting information; this is possible when you have an admission letter from the University.

Visiting the embassy

Visiting the embassy is one hurdle you would need to overcome. However with a genuine reason for visiting such as enquiry about visa requirements after you have your letter of admission or letter of admission with a need for finding out about scholarships. The aforementioned is more official and guarantees you entrance into the embassy. The visa requirements for one European country differ from one country to another. It is important that you find out what is required.

 Interview at the embassy.

This is yet another stage where many fall by the road side. Adequate preparation is needed. All the documents required must be available, you must be prompt and Endeavour to wear a reasonable clothe. Your look and composure is important. Be relaxed. If you are studying economics for instance in the prospective foreign Universities; the official interviewing you would ask about the relevance of the course to you and your future plans, why you want to study that programme abroad and not in your home country. Lots of questions would be asked, this is the point most people fail. Be precise and don’t adopt the strategy of storytelling.

(1) Question from Official; why do you want to study M.Sc environmental engineering in Finland?

Answer from prospective student A: I would like to study M.Sc environmental engineering in Finland because it’s a new course not available in my country and it gives me the opportunity of visiting the country alongside making new friends. Answer from prospective student B: I would like to study M.Sc environmental engineering in Finland because it is a more practical and innovative course which allows me to gain more experience and contribute to the development of my country.

(2) Question from Official; after your programme in Finland what would you do? Would you go back to your country?

Answer from prospective student A: I would stay in Finland to look for a job. I would not go back to my country; I would get a job in Finland.

Answer from prospective student B: I would look for a job or further develop my potentials and skills by doing a PhD or going back to my country to utilize the knowledge I gained in Finland.

Analysis of the Questions: positive –negative response.

Remember the questions asked are more psychological, emotional and there are always loopholes for the officials to deny your visa application. For instance; Prospective student A clearly declares his/her intention but creates a picture of been desperate. Prospective student B is straightforward and declares his intention although in a diplomatic way, not making emotions or intention known. Prospective student B eventually gets the visa, while prospective student A is rejected. I do hope from the examples below, you should be able to figure out you could scale through the visa hurdle.

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