Get on that plane: 5 study abroad application tips

With first semester in full swing, many first and second years will be thinking about applying for a study abroad placement. As I have now been on my year abroad in Canada for a month, I know how challenging and time-consuming the application process is; but I must say, it’s totally worth it. Thus, as a gift to you, I have compiled some tips to help you through the process. 

1. Work Hard in your First Year 

Some unis may have requirements for your first year grades to accept you onto the programme. For Leeds, I had to have a 2:1 average and then they’d place everyone into cohort rankings based on your exact grade, which would decide which uni you could go to. Because of this, I had to choose unis that I was eligible for based on my ranking, how popular it was with Leeds students and how many places were available. Therefore, I’d say if you’re a first year and you’re considering a year abroad, work hard; forget the ‘I only need to pass first year’ stigma, you have plenty of time to merely pass once you’re abroad.

2. Leave Yourself Time to research  

Researching can take up a lot of time but it’s so important. Give yourself some time at the end of the day to explore your options because it can be hard. For me, all of my study abroad application deadlines clashed with mid-term essays, so I had to make sure that I had the time to fit both in.

3. Research the Different Countries 

This sounds obvious but it’s important. Think about language barriers and ask your study abroad coordinators whether there are language requisites for your preferred country; you might have to take a beginners language course. Have a country in mind but explore other places which are similar and think about where said country is close to, and where you want to travel. Research the culture, food and weather (these are really important) and look into costs of living and flights.

4. Research the universities 

Again, obvious, but once you’ve chosen which country you’d like to go, research the different unis (remember, it’s not a gap year and you do actually have to do some work). Have a look at the different cities and what they have to offer; restaurants, shops and nightlife etc. Read any brochures you might have been given and investigate the different modules for your course and the workload. Some universities might expect more from you than your home uni does. Ask your study abroad coordinators to get you in contact with returning students or actual students from your preferred uni, because who knows better than someone who has actually experienced it?

5. Figure out what you want from this

Finally, work out what you actually want from the experience. This could be just travelling, experiencing a certain culture, getting a new perspective on your course or going to a country you’ve always wanted to go to. Once you know this, your decision making will be a whole lot easier.

Tilly O’Brien

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