Study Abroad Guide For Students

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Study Abroad Guide For Students ,

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I am writing this blog/entry/article whatever you call it, because I see a
lot of people confused before making their decision to go abroad for studies,
and in this confusion take decisions that they later regret. I have been through
the same, so I am writing with my own experience. I study IT in Australia, but
most of the stuff should also work for any other country you want to go.

Below are some set of Questions you should ask yourself before making a final
decision, to embark on your new journey

Why do you want to go abroad for studies ?

Just because its cool or you think you will have more fun in the new country,
shouldn't be your final decision factor

Its fun, but its the same fun you would even get in a university in your home
country, even more, I am sure of that.

They are a lot of things you will miss once you are in a new country, but
there is nothing that can take place of home. You will end up being limited to
people from your own home, and thats not fun, thats not even life.

Below are some critical reasons for you to really decide that you want get

Critical Decisions

»» There is no better university in your home country

Have you researched every university in your country ?

Have you looked at all the options.

Do you know how they rank?

Have you tried all the means to get into it

- Marks

- Exams

- Interviews

If you have done , all the above, and still there isn't a equally better or
better university in your home country, start looking outside

»» The course isn't available in your home country

o Have you sat in a net café, went to and searched for the
course in your home country. Eg. Event Management in India.

If you don't have the course in your home country, that a great reason to
look outside of it

»» Scholarship

o If 2 above not meet, and the university is giving you a good
scholarship, something even cheaper than a university in your home country, take
it asap, don't miss the opportunity at all

Which University ?

If you are here you have decided to pursue your education abroad. Here I put
the RCC technique. Whenever you hear about a university, get to know its RCC.

Whats RCC ?

R – Ranking

C – Course

C – Cost


How does the University rank globally. Most of the people forget to research
, how good their university rank. Yes , you want to go where your brother or his
friend is studying already, because you know them etc. But at the end of it it
will be your life, your career not his, and you have to enjoy it , not them.

Below are some websites which give you a glimpse of the ranking of the top
universities abroad. If your university doesn't appear in the top 500 globally,
or in its field, or top 100 in that country, there is not use of it, until you
are just to desperate to get into them, as I said before there would be better
universities in your country then. Ranking matters, it really does at the end of



o Times Higher Education Supplement Full List

§ Needs You to Sign Up

§ Gives ranking globally

§ Gives ranking according to field

§ Student Satisfaction Ratings


With the course, what I mean right now is. Look at subjects of the major you
want to do at these universities.

»» What all subjects you will have to do

»» How flexible is the course if you want to change in between

»» If you think the subjects are cool with you and you know you can do good
at it, only then take it

»» More details on this as you scroll down


Cost, ah. Decision time :

»» Can you afford

o The Tuition Fees

o The Books Fees

o The Living Fees – Hostel/Apartment

o The Money For Food

o Extra Money to enjoy and part

»» Most people take loan for the tuition, which is cool, as you can pay it
off after you start working anyways so that's not a problem.

»» Don't be a miser and come abroad, you don't know the economy, the
inflation rate, the rate of living etc before coming. You should be comfortable
enough to handle the worst case scenario

»»Remember a University in a suburb is less expensive (tuition + living), that the one in a main city. eg in USA , Georgia is cheaper than New York , in Australia UNE is cheaper than UTS

»» More as you scroll

RCC can be read in anyways, CCR, CRC, etc depending upon
your needs, but the three initials should be always counted

Which Course?

»» Check all the subjects, in the course you want to do, don't take it
because it sounds good or is in demand

»» If you are abroad, at least do what you love or are naturally good at.

»» Most of the people take courses which are in demand.

o Eg Australia has a Immigration list of people
they want here

o Even out of these courses, take the course you
are naturally good at.

Why do I emphasise take up something you are good at , rather than what's in
demands or looks good, coz first you are paying so much for your course and most
of these universities abroad, have a different policy if you fail a subject.

Most of the people fail a subject that they aren't good at. And to earn money
from this , most of the foreign universities, require you to do the whole
subject again, which involves paying the whole fees for that subject again. So
choose wisely.

What Country ?

This could have been further up, but I guess after you have worked on your
university with the RCC in mind, you can make a wise decision. But then again
below are the way I read the way countries according to their education should
be ranked

»» US – No#1, Multinationals, you will have to hear about the US, if you are
in one of the other countries.

»» Britain – Best Universities in the world

»» Singapore – Choose the best

»» Canada – Nearest to the US, just about it

»» Australia – Immigration laws, good universities

Canada and Australia are in the same boat, according to me.

All ready , set ?

You have made your decision, now you have to apply at these places. Below are
some list of exams that most of the universities in developed countries want

»» SAT

o SAT 1 or SAT Reasoning Test
: The new SAT contains ten sections
and a total length of 3 hours 45 minutes; with the additional writing section, a
"perfect" score on the new SAT is 2400 .Scores are calculated by the addition of
the score on each section; thus a score of 800 on the Critical Reading, Math and
Writing sections are needed for a perfect score.

o SAT 2 or SAT Subject Tests : 20 one-hour multiple-choice tests
given in individual subjects. A student chooses which ones he or she will take,
depending upon individual factors, such as college entrance requirements

o Visit
for registration , details, sample papers etc

o Accepted by Universities in USA, Singapore


o The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (or TOEFL, pronounced
"toe-full", or sometimes just "toffle") evaluates the potential success of an
individual to use and understand Standard American English at a college level.
It is required for non-native applicants at many American and English-speaking
colleges and universities. A TOEFL score is valid for 2 years, and then is
deleted from the official database.

o Also accepted by Universities in Australia, but again you will have to
give the IELTS , for Visa purposes



o International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test of
English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge
ESOL Examinations, British Council and IDP Education Australia. Candidates may
choose either the Academic Module or the General Training Module:


o Accepted in Britain, Australia and even in some
Universities in the US


Graduate Management Admission Test. A computerised examination created and
administered by the Educational Testing Service on behalf of the Graduate
Management Admission Council. Virtually all good-quality business schools in the
world require it for their full-time MBA programmes; many require it for other
business programmes as well. GPA Short for Grade Point Average, GPA ordinarily
refers to the grades (or marks) received in undergraduate degree programmes.

»» GRE

The Graduate Record Examination or the GRE, is a standardized test taken in
order to get into graduate school in the United States. In many ways, it is
similar to the SAT. Both are administered by the Educational Testing Service and
have similar question formats, though the latter is designed by the College
Board and is intended for a different level of education.

All ready set to apply ?

You have given your exams, and now want to apply to the universities.

2 ways :

1. Go online, use the search engine on the right, if you want to
know, the URL of the University you want to apply for.

a. Apply Online

Most Universities have an electronic method of application submission, they
then later ask you by email to mail(post) them copies of other documents

2. The Best Method I guess Is to approach the embassy. Most of the
countries have offices in every country, just to attract people and make
application submission etc very easy. But remember these are Sales Person, they
are sitting there to sell the universities. Your decision should be yours not
theirs. Just use them as a way , for a smooth application and visa process.

a. Eg IDP For Australia

3. Apply to a list of top 10 universities, you have chosen. I forgot
to mention this, but filter out atleast 10 universities, if you are not sure you
will get in or not and then apply to all of them. Start with most difficult to
the easiest to get into

So you got in ?

If you didn't get in the top 10 universities, try again with you exams, if
you keep on failing, seriously forget it and look for options in your country.

But if you got in, great.

What to get ?

»» Go to the countries website, check out the weather, this will help you
decide, the kind of clothes you want to buy or have before you go etc.

»» Take everything clothes, hats, caps, sunglasses, for all season

Dont Forget : Your traditional cloth (for
function), a black suit, black pant and white shirt

»» Necessary things to take

o Laptop : You can't do without a computer now, you are in a
foreign universities, technologically advanced, and everything from lectures to
assignment submission is done online.

§ Don't get a PC, please waste of money , no flexibility

§ Research how much it would cost you in your home country and in the
foreign land, most laptop companies have different websites for different
countries, so you can research online what will be cheaper for you. Where to buy

§ Why Laptop?

»» Read lecture slides as you go through them in the lecture on the laptop.
You save money not buying printed lecture slides

»» You make notes as you go along, has a perfect picture for you

»» Keeps you connected, a great way to get out from initial home sickness.
MSN Messenger

»» A great way to communicate with your fellow students. No more asking for
telephone nos.

o What's your email address?

o Or are you on facebook or orkut

»» Most of the people use the Universities Internet on their Laptop anyways,
for this check with your universities IT department as you get there

o Mobile Phone

§ You can't do without it.

§ Mobile Phone costs should be researched like laptops also cheaper , the
better. Eg. If you coming from India to Australia, you would rather buy the
phone from india and get a prepaid card from like Telstra for your phone when
you get here.

§ Go Prepaid , until you are a very very heavy user

o Mp3 Player/ IPOD

§ Not yet a necessity, but helps you get over
loads of time and things

§ Australia : Necessity

»» Sports

o Don't forget your sport gear

o Get your whites, your jersey, your bat, your racket or your basketball

o Don't let go of physical activity

o This also helps build social network

What to do before you leave ?

»» Know people who are going with you to your university

o IDP Australia gives you a list of email address of people who are
leaving with you for the country.

o Join Facebook

§ Why facebook – Online community for universities, lets you get in
contact with people

»» In your university

»» In your course

»» Even who are doing the same subject as yours

»» Helps you create groups , for people in common fields

»» Social Invities – Parties etc

§ Invite all the guys in your list of email address to facebook then, to
discuss, to meet up before leaving

»» Know people who are already there in your university

o – helps you do this,
once you are registered with a university and have a valid email address with
them, you can see everyone from that university, course etc as mentioned above
and talk to them to help you out

»» Renting a place

Be a "Backpacker", no need to go and live in a hotel. If you arrive in
your alien land without any preparation, and have no one to recieve you, goto
one of the backpackers, where you can temporarily stay at a cheap rate, while
you search for friends and people to stay with

Best way is to google the place and address for the backpacker places before
you come. eg if you coming to sydney, google, "Sydney BackPackers", and choose
the cheapert one , or the one you like. eg for Sydney I found
to be
a pretty nice website, where you can book , or just know about the rent, and
where the place is located. Also this gives you an idea of how the rent at
places around your area are.

Get to know the places where most students live in your country, if you
thinking of living off campus, arrive on a weekday early morning so that you
have the whole day to goto this area, meet the real estate agents and see and
rent the place

1. Living Near The University : Help, you don't spend on transport
money which is expensive in some countries, save time , also you can access your
uni computer the whole day, and meet up with university people, get your
problems to uni. But living near the university can be expensive, specially if
its in a city

2. Living away from University : Cheaper. If you have a timetable of
going to uni less than 4 days, its cheaper , as you do save on transportation.
But do have a laptop.

o This doesn't apply to you if you are going and living with your relatives

o Meet up with people who are going with you in your home country

o Tell all of them to research online for houses to rent. Google it
people eg. Rent an apartment in Sydney

o Decide upon it, even book it online

o Don't over crowd it because you want 2 live cheaply. Get a life. I have
nice rap for you later if you don't want to live

o What could be better if you book it online?

§ Fly down with the guys you have decided to live with

§ Go straight to the apartment and start living, why spend money living in
a hotel or motel and spend another month finding one, and waste money in the
motel/ hotel

§ But look out for cost, contacting people already in your university
helps here

§ Get to know what a good cost of an apartment should be etc

§ Most of the agents should reply you online, tell them you are already
there, and want to shift in (whenever you arrive)

§ Don't sign contracts as you come, you never know you may not like the
place at all

»» Jobs

o Register for online jobs a month before you come, put the address of
your university as the current address. They contact you by email anyways

o Where to apply

§ Initially for low end

§ Google for McDonalds Australia, Supermarkets USA etc , wherever you are

§ Go to their websites and register beforehand

Boarding the flight

»» Don't forget your passport

»» Contact no of university

»» Contact no. of other people going with you or already there

»» Money extra in hand

You have got here

Now that you have arrived and set to goto university

»» Get to know people

»» Ask for their email address

»» Invite them to facebook

»» Go for parties

»» Hold Parties

»» Watch movies

»» Please live life , don't be a miser, if you are its better to live in a
home as a king than a miser in an alien land

I have tried generalizing most of the stuff. For any other specific question,
related to Australia, click here for the discussion board

Links to Some Websites Mentioned Above


Times Higher Education Supplement Full List

Immigration List - Work in Demand List Australia

Collegeboard - SAT

- Test of English as Foreign language

- International English Lang Testing System



For Australia

Backpackers Australia

Discussion Board

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