Hey you, welcome to our study abroad guide.
So you are curious about studying abroad and wondering where to start your journey?
This is a big choice in your life and we would like to help you make that journey smoother. In this article, we will explore the world of studying abroad and how it can be a life-changing experience
Understanding Study Abroad
Studying abroad is the pursuit of academic excellence in a foreign country. It typically involves enrolling in a Bachelor’s program away from your home country. It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons, experience different cultures, and gain a unique perspective on education and life.
How long is a Study Abroad
The duration of a study abroad program can vary depending on the country, the program, and your personal preferences. Most Bachelor’s programs typically last three to four years. However, some may be shorter or longer, so it’s essential to research and choose the duration that suits your goals.
Benefits of Studying Abroad
As someone who has studied abroad I can assure you that there are many benefits to studying abroad as well as challenges. Let’s look at what is awesome about it first.
One of the significant benefits is personal growth. This is my favorite, because it happens to everyone. Just due to the fact that you live in a foreign country you are forced out of your comfort zone, and naturally become more open to make new connections. Next to that, living on your own teaches you independence and self-reliance. It’s an opportunity to build lfe skills, such as adaptability and resilience.
Academically, studying abroad can be a game-changer. It exposes you to different teaching styles, perspectives, and academic challenges. I had to readjust to how somebody can be graded from 1 to 10, and the practical way of studying in a so-called “applied university”. For me this experience was in the Netherlands, for you, it might be somewhere else, but thanks to going through this switch you are able to acquire knowledge in different ways and become more capable of dealing with new situations, which would be a valuable asset in your future career. For example, if you switch countries again, the second time around you would be well prepared on how to tackle uncertainty or new ways of thinking and executing.
Cultural exposure is another remarkable aspect. This is my second favorite. Imagine learning firsthand about someone from the other side of the world, about their traditions, how they grew up. Imagine all the different cuisines you will try or learn to cook. Also living in a given country gives you the opportunity to learn a new language. Trust me when I say that, because it is so different from learning it in a classroom, the process is exponentially faster. All of this combined creates a new fosters a new feeling inside. After completing my bachelor’s and master’s studies in the Netherlands, I felt more like a global citizen, and I’m sure you will too.
Challenges of studying abroad
While studying abroad is rewarding, it comes with its set of challenges. I would like to be honest with you, it’s not easy, I have a number of friends who decided to go back to their home country during their first year of studies. But don’t worry there are ways to mitigate those challenges and come on top!
Homesickness is a common challenge, and perhaps the biggest reason, for the people I knew to go home. Mostly it was hard to establish a good rhythm of life and not having a strong social circle around them made it difficult. Staying connected with loved ones through regular calls and messaging is key. But you should also focus on making new friends.
One thing that helped me the most during my first year in university was that I had a roommate. We both went to the same university and we became best friends. This made it easier for me to go through some more tough times. It depends on your individual preferences but I would highly recommend living with someone during your first year at least.
Language barriers may be intimidating, but they are also a great opportunity to learn a new language. Language classes and interacting with locals can help you overcome this hurdle. This also depends significantly on the country you choose to study in. For example, for me, it was the Netherlands, and here literally everyone speaks English, which made it easier to deal with this challenge. I can imagine that in other countries like Germany for example, this would be harder, but on the other hand, then you will learn German faster.
Finances can be a significant concern. Tuition, living expenses, and travel costs can add up. Scholarships, part-time jobs, and careful budgeting can make studying abroad more affordable. We have more resources and information related to finances and scholarships on our main page and also other blogs.
Financial student benefits
As a student from the EU, pursuing your studies in the Netherlands, you have access to numerous advantageous opportunities and financial assistance programs.
Student Funding Options
To finance your studies at Haarlem Campus in the Netherlands, you have several options available. One of the main sources of funding is student finance provided by the Dutch government.
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How to Prepare for Studying Abroad
Research and Planning
The key to a successful study abroad experience is thorough research and planning. Explore different countries, universities, and programs to find the right fit for your aspirations. If you have some specific countries and universities in mind, they also have open days, other physical or online ones, where you can get more insider information. Next to that, every university offers the chance to schedule a call or connect you with a student. Make sure to take advantage of that, because that is why the student advisers are there.
Visa and Documentation
Visa requirements and documentation can be complex. Make sure to start early, I cannot stress this enough. Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork, such as passports and student visas. Again if you don’t know where to start with this, the university website usually will have more information on what the specific steps are for that country and you can always check the governmental website of the country of your choice.
Keep in mind that most universities will apply for a visa for you. Usually the student can send their documents to the university and they will either do it themselves or they have a company that will help them with that.
In this way they make sure that your process of getting to your destinations is easier and smoother, so make sure to check with your universities about this matter.
Accommodation and Travel
Finding suitable accommodation and planning your journey is vital. We will talk further about this in our other blogs, but some universities will offer housing on campus, such as Haarlem Campus for example. In considering where to study I think checking out how the transportation in that country is can be important. For example, the Netherlands is super bike-friendly so that was a strong factor for me in picking my country, because I knew I would have no problems getting around.
Studying abroad is an exciting and transformative journey. While it presents challenges, the personal and academic growth, as well as the cultural exposure, make it a truly rewarding experience. If you’re considering studying abroad, take the first step towards expanding your horizons.
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