If you didn’t find time to study abroad as an undergraduate and are thinking about going to graduate school, now may be the perfect time to look into opportunities overseas. Plenty of prestigious universities around the world offer graduate degrees, and when you study abroad, you’re getting more than just an education – you’re getting to experience a different culture and gaining a broader understanding of the world.
Pick the right program: If you have already begun a graduate program in the United States but would like to study overseas, talk to your academic adviser and ask if your school has any partnerships or “sister” schools in other countries; if so, you might be able to transfer to an overseas university.
If you haven’t started grad school, ask your adviser about international schools that have strong programs in your field. Look at the credentials of people who are respected in your chosen field. For example, if you find that all your favorite scientists earned their master’s degree at a certain school, that’s probably a good choice for your graduate studies.
Get your finances in order: Some graduate students qualify for scholarships, but often, students must obtain loans to cover the costs. Another option is to set up a work-study program at the university abroad, or if you will be living overseas for a year or more, you could get a work visa and possibly pick-up a part-time job in your destination country. Take a look at exchange rates, so you can understand the buying power of a dollar. In many countries, the dollar is worth less than the local currency.
Finalize travel details: Once you know where you’re going and how you’ll pay for it, it’s time to make your actual plans. Plan to arrive at least a few days in advance of when your classes begin, so you can adjust to the time change. Find a student travel insurance plan, so you know you’ll have access to medical care while you’re overseas.
Set up a home abroad: The last step – and one you may have to wait a little longer on – is to find a place to live. If you plan your studies through a U.S. university, the staff will likely help arrange housing for you. If you’re directly enrolling in a graduate school abroad, though, you’ll be in charge of finding housing. Look into any on-campus options and ask the university for recommendations about nearby places to live. If you’re just going to be renting an apartment or flat, landlords will often not let you sign a lease more than a month or two before your arrival date. And once you find a place to live, make sure to ask whether furniture and appliances are included.
Although you’re going to a different country to study, take in the sights while you’re there. When you get your master’s degree and land your dream job, you may not have another opportunity to travel overseas for a while – if at all – so make the most of the experience.
The editor of Discovery News Journal, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.