How to Prepare for your Study Abroad Experience

How to Prepare for your Study Abroad Experience

Matt McGinniss is the Founder of ClickStudies.com, the study abroad comparison and resource platform

In this short interview, Matt discusses some of the ways that students can prepare before embarking on their study abroad experience.

1. Tell us a bit about ClickStudies 

ClickStudies is an online comparison site for higher education that grew from the needs of international students these days. It provides clear information, so any student can understand which university courses and qualifications are available worldwide, as well as to best prepare them for studying and living in a new country. As a former international student myself, the concept was born from my personal experience and things that I wished I’d known before studying abroad. 

2. What do international students need to consider before they leave?

There are hundreds of decisions that need to be made before you arrive at your new campus. The following are some of the most important. 

Firstly, carefully choose the subject you wish to study and understand the qualifications you’ll receive upon graduation. The critical point here is how useful this qualification will be for future employment. For example, if you’re a business student and you choose to study in the USA or UK, it will make sense to study a more general course such as marketing or management, because you’ll learn transferable skills. On the other hand, studying law or accounting in a new country may not be such a good choice, as the accounting or legal frameworks will most likely not be applicable for work in your home country. 

“Always make sure your study abroad choices align with your future career goals.” Matt McGinniss

Next, consider the benefits of the destination country. A good way to choose a country is by thinking about the specific benefit a qualification from that country will have on your career. For technology students this may mean looking at study options in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Also remember, studying in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand will be seen by most employers as highly desirable, as university qualifications from these places are internationally recognised. 

Choose a city based on your interests and lifestyle. What do you like doing? How comfortable are you in crowds? If you enjoy the buzz of living in a major city, you might choose Singapore, London or Toronto. If you prefer living by the beach, you might choose Miami or Sydney. 

Prepare for study success before you leave home. If you’re studying an area such as Engineering, Nursing or IT, it’s a good idea to understand important concepts and the vocabulary of these subjects before you leave, because you’ll certainly be faced with fast-moving courses and heavy study loads soon after you land in the new country. If English isn’t your first language, you may need to demonstrate your English skills by taking an internationally recognised test such as IELTS, TOEFL or PTE. 

Start the process early because researching options, applying for universities and getting your visa organised can take several months. In many cases, an Education Consultant, sometimes known as an Education Agent, will be able to guide you through the process of applying to the destination college, as well as organising student visas that allow you stay in the country you choose. Other tasks include getting overseas student health insurance, arranging accommodation, opening a bank account and setting up your mobile phone. 

Research your daily needs at your destination college. As you get closer to the date of departure, you can start to prepare for life in your new city. This can be done using Google maps and college websites. It includes locating shopping centres nearby, knowing your transport choices, knowing how many hours you can work with your student visa and how to apply for a part-time job. 

3. What are the international payment needs for students studying abroad?

You’ll need to be super-organised when it comes to finances. Perhaps the biggest expense will be your tuition fees. These will often be required as an upfront payment, followed by ongoing instalments, depending on your college and length of stay. 

Another significant expense is accommodation. If you’re living on campus, it’s common that these expenses are paid for in advance. Alternatively, if you find your own accommodation near campus in an apartment or shared house, you may need to pay a lump sum deposit, followed by regular ongoing payments. 

Living expenses also need to be considered. These include spending on textbooks, food, transport, clothes, entertainment and miscellaneous expenses. 

Fees to pay a Migration agent may also be required, if you have used an experienced migration service to process your student visa.

4. How has moneycorp been able to help with these needs?

Whether its payments for overseas tuition, accommodation or ongoing living costs, moneycorp are able to help international students save on cost and time when they send money abroad. That allows the students to get more for their money and enjoy their experiences abroad without having to worry about their international payments.

5) Any last comments about study abroad?

Over the years, I’ve met so many international students who’ve said that the experience has changed their lives. That’s because it combines the best of both worlds - that of travel and education. If you have the chance to study abroad yourself, I say just go for it. You never know what amazing friendships and career opportunities it may open in the future.  

Matt McGinniss - Founder of ClickStudies

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