Study Abroad: Tips to look out for before embarking on higher education journey – Hindustan Times

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In 2022, we witnessed a substantial uptick in the number of Indian students venturing abroad for higher education. Roughly 750,000 individuals from India embarked on their study abroad journeys, marking a notable milestone in the nation’s pursuit of global learning opportunities.
Among the favoured destinations for Indian scholars, Australia, Canada, and the USA stood out prominently. This surge in enthusiasm for international education highlights the paramount importance of meticulous planning for those harbouring aspirations of studying abroad.
Within the following piece, we shall delve into pivotal advice to enhance one’s readiness for international universities:
The initial and most critical stage in preparing for foreign universities involves selecting the ideal destination. Each destination boasts distinctive cultural encounters, educational structures, and immigration regulations.
Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Singapore, China and the USA are renowned for their varied offerings, rendering them as preferred options. So, prior to reaching a decision, take into account variables like living expenses, prospects for post-study employment, and educational standards.
The financial aspect of studying abroad is often substantial, so it’s crucial to undertake careful financial planning. Develop a comprehensive budget encompassing expenses such as tuition fees, housing, daily living costs, and travel expenditures.
Take time to research scholarships, grants, and part-time job prospects to alleviate the financial strain. Moreover, delve into student loan possibilities and international banking solutions to effectively manage your finances during your overseas education.
Many international universities mandate standardized test scores as a component of their admissions criteria. These standardized assessments encompass examinations such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, and language proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
It is advisable to initiate your test preparation with ample lead time and contemplate enrolling in a preparatory courses or consulting with seasoned mentors. Achieving high scores on these tests can substantially bolster your prospects of securing admission to your preferred institution.
Scholarships are highly competitive, so start your search well in advance. Many scholarships have early application deadlines, often a year or more before the academic term begins. Scour university websites, external scholarship databases, and government-sponsored programs for opportunities that match your profile.
A strong academic record plays a pivotal role in your application. Sustain impressive grades during your undergraduate studies and contemplate enrolling in supplementary courses or obtaining certifications that showcase your dedication to your chosen field.
Confirm that your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose (SOP) eloquently convey your academic accomplishments and future aspirations.
Creating a well-organized application package is crucial. Pay attention to deadlines, gather all required documents, and proofread your application thoroughly.
The application typically includes transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, SOP, and a resume. Tailor your SOP to each university, showcasing your genuine interest and compatibility with their programs.
It’s advisable to seek guidance from educational consultants or agencies with expertise in international education. These experts can offer valuable advice on the application procedure, visa prerequisites, and available scholarships. Moreover, they can aid in preparing your application to align with the unique criteria of your selected universities.
Dealing with the visa and immigration procedures can be intricate, so it’s crucial to begin well in advance. Conduct thorough research on the visa prerequisites of your chosen destination and make certain you fulfil all the eligibility conditions.
Get your essential documents ready, which should include your acceptance letter, financial documentation, and passport. If necessary, reach out to the embassy or consulate for assistance, and stay informed about any changes in immigration policies and criteria.
Cultural adaptation is an integral part of studying abroad. Take the time to learn about the local culture, customs, and traditions of your destination country. Understanding cultural nuances will help you integrate better into the local community and make your overseas experience more enriching.
Besides academic excellence, soft skills like communication, adaptability, and problem-solving are highly valued by universities and employers. Engage in extracurricular activities, internships, or volunteer work that allows you to develop these skills. They will not only enhance your personal growth but also make you a more attractive candidate.
Staying informed about current affairs, both in your home country and abroad, is essential. It helps you engage in meaningful discussions, broaden your perspective, and adapt to changing situations. Knowledge of global events can also be valuable in your academic pursuits and future career.
Moving abroad can be tough. Have open conversations with family, reminding yourself of the brighter future ahead. Stay connected with friends and family, and give yourself credit for your courage.
Take it one step at a time, and you’ll adapt to your new life at university in a new city. Remaining mentally prepared is essential for a fulfilling experience abroad.

(Authored by Piyush Bhartiya, Founder at The Big League. Views are personal)

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