Although to some it might seem like a culture shock, to others, studying abroad for some or all of a university course can provide a wealth of opportunities, to meet new people, explore new places, and in many cases enhance their knowledge on a chosen subject. If you are one of those who has a spirit of adventure and likes the idea of an international learning experience, then read on:
Studying abroad could stand out on your CV, especially as employers often look for a global perspective on a subject, while experience living abroad, adaptability, and language skills could also be valued.
If you’re considering taking a degree course with a university overseas, a lot of planning and preparation will be involved. Research will involve looking for possible universities and courses, checking the qualification you’ll gain is recognised, sorting out all important funding, and checking other practical issues, such as visa requirements, and course entry details. You may need up to 18 months to plan, and apply for a degree course abroad. You’ll soon discover that most countries won’t have a system like the UK based UCAS admissions service, so you may have to do a lot of your course based research direct on universities websites.
If spending all of your degree course abroad doesn’t appeal, but you’d still like to study abroad, then you’ll find that many UK higher education colleges and universities offer the chance to study or work abroad for part of your time there. This will usually involve an exchange agreement, with the university/college taking part in an organised study scheme.
There are two well-known schemes that UK universities are associated with, called Erasmus, and IAESTE. Erasmus forms part of the European Union Lifelong Learning Scheme, and offers study opportunities in 30 countries across Europe, normally with an EU study grant attached. IAESTE meanwhile is organised by the British Council, and is focussed on giving undergraduate opportunities to those studying science, engineering, and applied arts courses. Placements can last between 8 to 12 weeks, and usually take place between June and September. If you can’t find something suitable via these two schemes, and want to find out about university run study abroad programs, then contact international study offices at your list of potential UK universities.
There are plenty of options available to anyone wanting to study abroad, the question is, will international study suit you? Why not look through the resources below to help you make up your mind:
- Enric-Naric: A site where you can check degree courses, and if they are recognised in their home country. http://www.enic-naric.net
- Naric: National UK Agency whose aim is to provide information on qualifications gained abroad. The advice here could prove useful in determining what status an overseas degree course would have in the UK. http://www.naric.org.uk/index.asp
- UNESCO Study Abroad Guide: A guide containing details of nearly 3000 courses and scholarships available worldwide, along with details of possible funding opportunities. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/higher-education/
- Your Europe: Course structures, suggested fees, financial support, and other information and advice on studying in the EU. http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/education/index_en.htm
- UK Council For International Student Affairs: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/ukstudent/index.php
- ERASMUS: http://www.britishcouncil.org/erasmus
- IAESTE: http://www.iaeste.org.uk