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4 Tips to Follow if you want to Study Abroad - From Ales Jug

When asked "where’s home?", Ales answers, "it's where the family is". This is because Ales has been for years commuting between the city he's from in Slovenia to Boston, where he is currently doing his second Ph.D. degree and teaching, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. With 5 degrees in fire and health safety, maritime, transport and entrepreneurship, it's quite clear that Ales has hacked the code to gettinginto basically any program he wants. After hearing about his impressive journey, we decided to expose some of his tips and get a true professional's insight into how to do it like a pro. 

One of the qualities that make Ales so inspiring is his view on opportunities. He believes that the path that he took of going abroad to study happened to him by chance, after an opportunity showed up. When he finished his first degree in Slovenia, he happened to bump into one of the deans in his university at a coffee shop. After introducing himself, the faculty member convinced him that it would be a good idea for him to do his second degree in fire and health safety  in the United States. He saw this as an opportunity, and went on a quest to finding the right program in the States. 

Back when Ales decided to study in America, the internet wasn't very developed and other than a few brochures he received, he didn't have a lot of information on how to study abroad. He took a flight to the States for a congress, to search for the right program. He scheduled a meeting with one of the professors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute when he arrived. He was surprised by the extent to which that professor helped him, and the amount of time he spent talking to him. He recommends others to not be afraid, and do the same. Personally go talk to a professor and see how they can help you. 

Personal contact has always helped Ales. He finds this the most effective way to gather all of the information that you need when trying to do something you've never done before. Before studying abroad, it's impossible to know about all difficulties you will face, but if you talk to someone who has already done it, they know exactly what you need to expect. 

Ales found that personal contact allows you to get information, but it also allows people to get to know you and want to help you. When a professor meets you and knows who you are, they would probably be more interested in having you on their team in comparison to someone they haven't met and don't know anything about. 
To go through the process of studying abroad is kind of like entering a dark tunnel. You don't always know what to do, and the path isn't always bright. Don't be scared of the unknown! Try to embrace and enjoy the feeling of figuring out what to do along the way. It's kind of like a puzzle which you need to solve, and every step of the way you get another piece to complete it. Ales also believes that the best way to deal with this feeling, is just to dive into the water and start swimming and learning as you go. 

Ales is also an entrepreneur himself. After finishing his Masters, he realized that a big problem in the world is that research in universities isn't effectively distributed to the masses. To solve that problem, he founded a startup which brings health and fire safety to people in different parts of the world like Africa and East Europe. Ales has a true passion for entrepreneurship, and is also helping students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute develop their own ideas, and succeed in their fields of study. 

If these tips helped and inspired you, help others too, by sharing. 
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How to Calculate the Living Expenses and Tuition of Studying Abroad in the United States

So you got into Columbia University, Princeton, Stanford or your dream college school, and now you are finally going to make your dream come true and move to the United States. You say goodbye to your friends, kiss your parents goodbye and you are ready to pack your bags and get on the first flight to New York, San Fransisco or Boston. Just as you are about to walk out the door, you realize there’s only one question that’s holding you back. How much is it going to cost and how will you pay for it?

Whether you want to study law, engineering, mathematics, science or art, it is no secret that studying in the United States isn’t very cheap. On the positive side, international students can apply to student grants and scholarships that can cover these expenses or use other tricks to save money while studying abroad
How much will it cost to Study in the States?
American schools can be divided into three main categories according to the cost of their tuition and living expenses.  
1. The Ivy Leagues: 

These are considered some of the best universities in the world because of their excellent study facilities and professional reputation. MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia University are just a few famous names that fit into this category which attract thousands of international students from China, India, Europe and basically everywhere in the world. If you are not sure which one would fit you best, take the personality test to find out. These universities have the highest tuition costs, but also offer their students, the best financial aid. So if you rocked your GRE tests, you have an impressive statement of purpose and you are talented enough to get accepted into one of these schools, the tuition costs shouldn’t hold you back.

Let’s take Harvard for example. According to them, their yearly standard student budget for 2016-2017 is estimated to be around $63,025 without taking personal spending into consideration. This includes $43,280 for tuition, $3,794 for additional fees, $9,894 to rent a room at the university and $6,057 for the board. But don’t let these numbers scare you. Talk to former international student at the university of your choice to figure out how to get a fully funded scholarship at the top university of your choice. 

2. State Universities:

As their name suggests, these universities are usually public institutions that are funded by the state or district which they are located in. To study in one of these universities costs less than in the ivy leagues because they get subsidies from their state to encourage students to enroll, making the tuition significantly less. Some of the top public schools that attract international students from all over the world include the University of California (Berkeley), University of California (Los Angeles), University of Virginia, University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

The tuition at these universities vary according to the applicant's background, study program and the school of choice. The University of California for example, requires a student to have a yearly budget of $32,384, which includes $13,518 tuition, $14,992 room and board costs, $2,612 for a student health insurance plan and $1,262 for books and supplies.

3. Community colleges:

These colleges offer students an associate’s degree which is a two-year program, counting as the first half of the bachelor’s degree. Students can later complete the degree after transferring to a university. Out of the three categories, this is the easiest to get into as well as the cheapest option. Some of the best community colleges include the Gordon Cooper technology center, Knox County Career Center and Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center.

At the Gordon Cooper technology center for example, the average yearly study budget is $23,247, which includes $5,697 for tuition, $300 for books and supplies and $17,250 for room and board costs.

Now that you have an estimation of how much it will cost to study in the States in different universities, find out how you can study for free by reading our blog and talking to a coach who will help you get all of the information about getting a scholarship, a grant or a loan. 

Salman's best tips to succeed in studying abroad

Excited about his new research position at the University of Louisiana, one of the first things Salman said in his video interview with GradTrain was “welcome to my new office!” 

Out of millions of prospective students, who dream about studying abroad, Salman made his dream come true last summer. He sent six applications to different universities in the United States, got accepted to 5 of them, and started his masters at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he now studies with a full scholarship. Here's your chance to hear his success story, get inspired and get tips for studying abroad.

Salman has been to over 6 countries but still characterizes himself as being raised in a very typical Bangladeshi family. He believed that after finishing his first degree in engineering, in Bangladesh, he will go on to find a typical job in the field, and pursue a “normal life” in Bangladesh. Fortunately for him, things went better than planned.

During his undergraduate degree, Salman started working in a lab in Bangladesh, to gain work experience. He worked in research with Dr. Nadim Khandaker, who completed his PhD in a reputed US university. Although he wasn't a straight-A student, he was very dedicated to his research and his team was very happy with his work. When he finished his first degree, his professor inspired him to get his advanced degree in the United States. Salman's professor knew from experience, that Salman’s career can take a huge leap if he did his masters in the US.

Starting the process

Salman started the process by searching the web for programs of his interest and figuring out the requirements necessary for applying. He found out that there are a lot of parameters to take into consideration when applying, and that it really isn't an easy task. He needed a strategic plan! 

First of all, he found out about the GradTrain admissions predictor, that anlayzes you background automatically and helps you choose the right school that you can get accepted to. He put in his required field of study and schools. He found and was able to significantly narrow down his choices.

Next, instead of spending many more hours researching what he should do to apply, he started finding out who can help him. While all his friends were signing up to agencies which filled out applications for them or helped them retake their tests, Salman decided to try something different. He found GradTrain, and began taking video sessions with a GradTrain coach who went through the study abroad process who could help him.

Salman had many questions, which only someone who went through the process would know the answers to. One of the main things that Salman needed advice on, was whether he needs to retake his tests to have a higher chance of getting accepted to a university. Now, when asked to give advice to international students, he says: "Don't waste your time on redoing tests."

His coach helped him create a strategic plan to focus his attention in the direction that best fits his background and ambitions and with the coach’s guidance, Salman upgraded his application package. Salman advises to look at your overall profile, and find out what your weaknesses and strengths are when applying. The coach also helped him better understand what US universities are looking for and what to emphasize or de-emphasize in his essay. 

Following his success and based on his positive experience with GradTrain, after getting accepted to the university of his choice, Salman requested to become a GradTrain coach himself, to help the future generations of international students who want to follow in his footsteps.. You can get advice from Salman by scheduling a 1:1 meeting with him.