Have you just graduated from high school or are you already a student and want to continue your studies abroad? You want to discover a new country, a new language, a new culture? Whatever your degree, don’t wait any longer. Here is a complete guide to help you enjoy this unforgettable experience!
How to study abroad?
Whether you’ve just finished high school or are already in higher education, going abroad is an experience you can’t refuse. You will have the chance to discover a completely different environment, to learn a new language and to use this experience to enrich your CV. Of course, these trips need to be organised in advance so that everything runs smoothly. Here’s a list of things to think about before you go.
If you are already a student and would like to spend a semester, a year or more abroad, there are several options.
Firstly, ask your school or university about the exchange opportunities they offer. Your school probably has a network of partnerships with other universities around the world, so take advantage of them. Ask for an appointment with the exchange department and ask them all your questions, they will be able to answer them.
On the other hand, if you are at a European university, you will have the alternative of doing an Erasmus. Erasmus is a European programme that allows students (from their 2nd year onwards) to go on a 3 to 12 month exchange in a foreign country. It networks hundreds of universities across Europe and allows many students to travel each year. The programme also offers access to a number of scholarships depending on your current situation. In the same way, check with your institution, they will be able to help you with the steps to be taken and the conditions to be fulfilled in order to be able to go and live an unforgettable experience in a foreign country.
If you are looking to study abroad after high school, find out about your dream destination first. If you are completing part or all of your education in a new country, you should be happy with it. Then, find out about the different schools that offer the degree of your choice. This can be done by talking to people you know, students who have already gone to that country or even by studying the national university rankings.
As you make your selection, make a note of admissions deadlines, fees, applicant requirements, recruitment processes, and the documents you will need to provide for your application.
After gathering as much information as possible about the institutions of your choice, compile and submit your application before the deadline. Be aware that in some countries the application deadlines close quite early in the year, so make sure you apply early.
Another possibility to study abroad are language programs. Indeed, many different opportunities of language exchange are avaible, especially in the EU. If you want to study at a university, you will have to enroll directly with them and send all the required informations for us to decide wether you get in or not. This is a perfect way for meeting people from all over the world while gathering around a same new language and culture. This year can always be a valuable experience when it comes to your resume, since it provide some proof that you can speak the language you chose to learn.
Other private organisations organize language programs in various destinations. This can be more expensive than public universities but it also often includes activies, sports, social events that help you with meeting new people.
These are a few website for famous language programs:
Wether it is mandatory in your degree our your own desire, doing an internship abroad is always a great experience. It allows you both to discover a new culture as well as learning new skills in a different evironment. This is also very valuable on your resume. Morever, you will have the chance to deepen your knowledge of the local language as well as meeting new people from different cultural backgrounds.
To apply, you will first have to see with your current university if it is possible to obtain an internship agreement and wether they have some websites or platforms that they recommend for you to chose. Usually, most schools have an Alumni network through which you could find an internship.
Here are some global website were you can find interships propositions:
If you are not convinced by either strudying or working abroad, you still have the opportunity to travel by volunteering. Indeed, more and more students are chosing to spend some time abroad dedicating their time and energy to a specific cause. It can be health care, education, child care, construction, animal health care etc. Many possibilities all around the globe. Chose a field of action that suits you and chose your destination !
Many organisations are offering different programs (even sometimes combined with language classes) depending on your preferences and your preferred duration of stay. Indeed, missions will vary wether you are staying a month or one year. Remember that some of the stays are not free. Indeed, the fees for travelling, housing, eating etc. Can be charged before traveling. These types of experiences are an incredible way to meet new friends, help a community, and live a memorable social experience.
Here are some useful websites where you can find volunteering missions:
How should I organise my study abroad?
Whether you are going for a full degree or just for an exchange, going abroad as a student can be confusing in some ways.
If you are an EU student and your exchange is in an EU country, there is no need to worry about this.
If you are not, you will need to find out about the conditions for obtaining a student visa. Each country has different requirements, so it is strongly recommended that you check the official website of the local government or go to a consulate or embassy near you. In this way, you will be able to obtain all the necessary information such as the documents to be provided, the price of the visa, the authorised length of stay etc.
Do not delay in finding out about the procedures to follow as some administrations may take longer than others when it comes to issuing visas. So to avoid missing the start of the school year, it’s best to be early!
If you are a member of the EU and your exchange is in an EU country, you will need to obtain a European Health Insurance Card to cover certain medical expenses on the spot. This has to be ordered over the internet, so make sure you order it in advance in case there are delays in delivery of the card.
If you are not in the EU or are going somewhere else, it is a good idea to check with your local health insurance company to see whether or not they offer cover abroad, whether you need to take out insurance in the destination country etc. Call your current insurance company and they will be able to answer all your questions.
In some cases, insurance is compulsory for entry and must be paid for with the visa. In this case, you will be told before you complete your visa procedure.
Finding accommodation is an important part of moving abroad.
First of all, you should know that most universities have residences that you can access. This is often the easiest and most economical solution. In addition, it will allow you to meet many new people and never feel alone. You should also know that these residences often organise many events for their residents to meet each other. In addition, they often have a canteen included in the rent. This is the best way to socialise and pay a reasonable rent.
If your university does not have any halls of residence, you can turn to inter-university halls of residence, the same principle with students from several different universities.
The last option is to look for private accommodation. For this, you can find a flat share or live alone, depending on your preferences.
Here are some website for private flatshares:
Make sure to check Facebook group by typing “Country of destination flatshare”. They often have interesting adds. Stay aware that some of it are scams.
Whether you go with your friends or on your own, living in a shared flat is also a preferred option for many students. Just like university residences, flatshares allow you to meet people of all nationalities and share unforgettable moments. There are many websites that list all the rooms available in a shared flat. When you visit, don’t forget to ask if utilities (electricity, gas, water, wifi) are included in the rent. If not, make sure the rent plus utilities are within your budget.
When you are abroad and want to communicate with your family back home, you will need a suitable phone subscription (European or international depending on your destination).
Home country subscription
If your actual forfait has the international option (no fees added for 4G, phone calls or text messages), this can be a useful solution since you will not have to go through the procedures to change operators. If your actual package covers all this, you’re ready to go.
Here are some of the main operators accross Europe that have international forfaits:
If it doesn’t, check out the different local phone operators to get the local network without excessive charges. You can then get a disposable reload card. This way, you will have no commitment in terms of duration, and will be adapted to your needs. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a basic package with one of the operators available in the country. However, be careful about the terms and conditions, especially when it comes to the minimum contract duration. You do not want to continue paying for your package after you have finished your exchange.
If you want a faster and simpler solution, you can also charge your phone thanks to Moneytrans Top Up service. Indeed, with your Smile Account, you can have instant mobile top-ups for your destination country. You will also benefit from very low prices for your top-ups under 100 euros.
What are the best countries to study in?
Chosing your final destination can be quite hard. Here are some of the most demanded countries by students going abroad. Indeed, all of them have different cultures, advantages and disadvantages so you will have to chose the one that suits you best.
- Spain : Low cost of living, great student life, very international, very friendly.
- France: Rich cultural experience with lots of museums and monuments to visit and lots of students.
- Belgium: Low cost of life, many students coming from all over the world, various EU institutions (for internships).
- Italy: Great food, interesting historical monuments and museums.
- UK: Expensive but friendly, great student life, very dynamic and lots of job opportunities.
- Germany: Great night life, international and friendly environment.
- Holland: High quality of living, safe environment, rich student life.
Of course, even if you don’t study in one of these cities, having an experience abroad during your studies is still an unforgettable experience and adds value to your CV and your personal development.
How can I receive money from my relatives?
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Choose the Smile Account, the online current account that allows you to make international transfers at low rates, without the complex paperwork required by banks. Plus, you’ll get a free Mastercard and access to our SuperApp, allowing you to both see when your money transfers have been received and manage your budget.
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