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How to prepare for university abroad

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Graduating from secondary education feels great! You toss your cap into the air and daydream of all the future possibilities open to you. Soon after the ceremony, though, it’s time to begin thinking about grad school.

Which university offers the best studies for your chosen field? Do you seek a little adventure in your life? Would you love to be around different cultures and immerse yourself in a brand-new social environment? You may have asked yourself these questions while looking at brochures for universities. After a lot of debate, you’ve decided the best university is one that’s in a different country.

There are a lot of things you need to consider when seeking an education at a foreign university. You’ll need to learn the customs of the new country, obtain the right visas, arrange for moving your things to your new home and dealing with how your family will feel about you studying abroad.


Talking with your family about your move

The hardest part about your decision to move away will likely be leaving your family and friends. You may discover hurt feelings, disbelief you want to travel abroad and even the misconception that you believe local universities can’t offer the same education as a university outside your home country.

Sit your loved ones down and explain the reasons for your decision. Show them information about the university you want to attend. Let them know about your professional dreams and why you believe the university you’ve chosen can give you the education to achieve those goals.

If it’s in your financial means, have your family visit the university and talk with faculty members. Once your family sees how committed you are in receiving the best education, they’re more likely to calm their fears and accept your decision.


Preparing for the journey

Going to another country means more than just hopping on a plane. You need to do a lot of work in learning the customs, cultural traits and even language of the country. Read e-books to help prepare you for life in your new home and consider using language instruction tapes to help you get ready.

Apply for a student visa well in advance of your departure; the process can take several months to complete. Be sure as well to obtain your immunization records so you won’t have any problems moving into your new country.


Packing up

Once you’ve secured all your documentation, it’s time to pack. International moving companies can assist you with your personal items. You’ll have to do some research concerning the country you’re moving to regarding whether you’ll have to pay a duty fee for certain items, such as household goods. Also, there will be special regulations regarding bringing medication and pets into a different country. Do your research to avoid any hassles come moving day.


Obtaining financial assistance

Several financial programs can help fund your education abroad. Amounts will be based on what type of financial aid you seek and the disbursement channels the university uses. Types of funding available include:

  • Federal Stafford loans: More than 400 universities worldwide accept federal Stafford loans, which are ideal for students. Most are eligible for the loan program no matter what type of credit history they have. Stafford loans also have low interest rates so students aren’t plagued with high loan amounts they have to repay.
  • Individual loan providers: Consider seeking an individual loan if a federal loan won’t cover all your educational expenses. You’ll have to contact each loan provider and find out if your university is qualified to take individual loans.

Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to prepare for your trip to a foreign university, you can concentrate on making new friends and immersing yourself in a new culture. Don’t forget to call, email or Skype your parents and friends to give them status updates on how your classes are going and how you’re enjoying your time abroad. Just because you’re out of sight doesn’t mean you have to be out of mind.

This is a guest post written by Cameron Tyler. You can contact Cameron by writing an email to