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5 Ways to create a support system when applying to universities abroad

Job opportunities, personal development and interesting life experiences are a few reasons to study abroad leading prospective students to send online application forms to universities and colleges abroad. Millions of students are longing to make their dream a reality and study abroad in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Italy, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Russia as well as other destinations.

Gathering information and compiling all of the materials is the first step to setting a foot in a top university campus abroad. Emotional roller coasters and overcoming many challenges is also a part of the journey, so here’s how you can create a support system to help you through the hardships.

Find a partner to ride the waves with

When Jack Johnson wrote the song “Better Together” he probably wasn’t referring to a study abroad application process, but the saying works quite well in this case too. Sending applications to universities together with a partner with the same motives in mind is easier than alone.

Here’s how it can help:
  • Information gathering, brainstorming ideas and strategizing is more effective in groups.
  • Staying on track and reminding one another of due dates and application deadlines.
  • Studying for the TOEFL test, IELTS, GMAT exam or the GRE exam.
  • Motivation.

An average of 5 million students move abroad to study every year, so there must be someone who is trying to hack how to study abroad near you.

A few ways to locate someone near you include:

  • Attending study abroad events, seminars and conferences in your city.
  • Logging on to local portals and forums to ask around.
  • Writing a post on local Facebook groups and study abroad groups.
  • Asking your friends if they know anyone – word to mouth always helps.
If you’ve already done your Bachelors’ and are interested in doing an MBA, Ph.D. or a Masters’ program, linking up with another graduate from university can also help.

If you haven’t found anyone to partner up with, don’t worry. There are more ways to get valuable help.

Get help from alumni

Getting an alumni to help out is like finding a big brother figure who was once in your shoes and can help you grow from where you are to where you want to be.  Even Albert Einstein once said that the only source of knowledge is experience – so use this valuable knowledge.

Use your role model’s technical experience to understand the criteria and bureaucratic procedures when applying. Take advantage of their professional knowledge and ask them to review your application materials. You’ll probably also have many questions about how to get funding or a scholarship for your studies or how to get an auto loan as an international student.

Don’t forget to also ask:

  • What worked for them and what didn’t for them.
  • Their emotional experience through the process. What was hard to deal with and what was harder? It’s good to know in advance to prepare for the hardships and know what to concentrate on.
  • Where they got their help?
  • The chronological order of the application process and how to relocate.

Talk to faculty members in your target universities:

International students are a valuable group not only because of the economic growth they bring to universities and the countries they stay in but also because they create diversity.

Universities around the world have an interest to recruit international students – so use it!

Who should you talk to?

There’s office for international students on almost all campuses. Contact your target university’s consultants and get all of the information which you weren’t able to find online or were unsure about. Most faculty members can be contacted by mail or phone.

Before contacting the admissions office, check the admission criteria and see whether or not you have the chance to get accepted to universities abroad.

Talk to your professors

For those of you who have already completed your first degree and are looking to complete a higher degree abroad, talking to a professor can be useful.

You’ve probably noticed that most of your professors have some sort of studying abroad experience on their resume. This means that they not only have the experience to guide, but they also have amazing contacts and networks abroad.

Approaching a professor and getting guidance might not suit everyone. It’s a bold move and really depends on your prior relationship with them. If you worked with a professor you would probably feel more comfortable to do it, but if you have just taken a class with them think about how you can approach the issue without coming off as rude or inappropriate.

Contact someone in the country you are moving to for a smooth landing

Knowing someone at the location you are moving to is incredibly helpful, whether it’s an old friend, a family member, or a second connection who you haven’t met.

People who have experienced living abroad know what it feels like to be a foreigner and are usually open to make someone else feel less culture shocked and a little more at home.

Finding someone can personally ask your friends if they know someone, or write a public post on Facebook. If you have a hobby, like boulder climbing, biking or any other group sport, contact the local communities at your destination and ask how you can connect. There are also many Facebook groups and forums for students and expats from different destinations all over the world.

Ask them about choosing the destination, finding a job, the living expenses, finding an apartment and more.  These groups will allow you to connect and learn more about your destination.

Don’t hesitate to create your own support system to help you
study abroad and achieve your dreams.

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