Studying abroad is a worthwhile lifetime investment—it provides you with a wide variety of career choices, gives you access to world-class facilities for study, exposes you to different cultures, and helps you learn new languages. However, there are some hurdles you must overcome in your goal to study in a foreign country. Thankfully, with the help of a study abroad advisor, these hurdles are much easier to anticipate and overcome.
Study abroad advisors or consultants know how things work in the foreign countries they specialize in. They understand the procedures and documentation required for foreign students, the kind of scholarships you are eligible for, and visa procedures.
That said, many students don’t know how to get the best out of their study abroad consultants. Here are ten of the most important questions you must ask your study abroad advisor:
#1- How Do I Decide On a Study Destination?
Most students have an idea about their preferred study destinations. However, there are important factors that you may not be aware of regarding pursuing an education in a particular country.
For example, what are the funding options available? What are the visa requirements? What are the requirements for bringing dependents? What are the career options after graduation? Does your academic profile match the study options available in this country?
Keep an open mind and explore your options with the study advisor. You might discover a previously overlooked study destination that better suits your needs, academic profile, and career aspirations.
#2- What Kind of College Majors Should I Consider?
While a study abroad advisor will not choose the perfect major for you, they can help you in narrowing down your options based on your interests and career goals.
A study abroad consultant can help you view options that you may otherwise overlook that are directly connected to your future professional aspirations.
For instance, if you are interested in engineering but haven’t narrowed it down to specific engineering majors, the consultant might guide you in doing so. And if you have a major in mind, they’ll explore other options that are related to your interests and goals.
#3- What are the Timelines for College Applications?
It’s always advisable to seek clarity on application timelines. While most universities offer fall-winter-spring admissions, some programs follow different intake timelines.
Speaking to a study abroad advisor will help you understand the timelines you have for universities you’re interested in. Doing so will help you prepare and send in your application on time.
It also gives you adequate time to apply for funding and get your finances in order. Not to mention that it also saves you from the stress that comes with last-minute applications.
#4- What Documents are Required?
Application to universities abroad requires several documents. For most universities, you will need to fill out an online application form and attach documents such as:
- Academic transcripts
- Statement of purpose
- Recommendation letters
- Standardized test scores
- Resume or curriculum vitae
It’s important to note that guidelines on documentation are not the same for all institutions – and that they may also differ from department to department.
A study abroad student advisor will help you compile the documents you need and present them in the required formats. Making sure to provide all the required documents can’t be overemphasized – missing out on some of the documents may cost you an admission spot.
#5- What Are the Living and Accommodation Arrangements?
Individual countries and universities offer different accommodation arrangements for international students. For instance, some universities offer mandatory hostel accommodation for freshmen while others allow students to live off-campus.
Your study abroad advisor will help you explore the kinds of accommodation available to you in your selected destination and university. They’ll connect you with an international support team at the university to help you settle in your host country.
#6- How Much Will It Cost to Study at My University of Choice?
Higher education abroad can be quite expensive. Without the help of a study abroad advisor, it’s easy to underestimate how much it will cost you to complete your degree abroad. Other than the tuition fees, you must also consider other costs such as accommodation, meals, airfare, and books.
Make sure to have an in-depth discussion with the consultant about the full cost of your education abroad. Not only are they equipped to help you find a university that’s within your budget, but they’ll also guide you on scholarships and loans you can apply for to close any funding gaps.
#7- How Long Will I Be Allowed to Live or Work in the Country?
Are you thinking about remaining in the host country after graduation? Would you like to work while studying?
Bear in mind that each country has its policies and regulations on working as a foreign student and how long you can stay in the country after graduation. For example, in Canada, international students can only work for up to 20 hours per week.
In most cases, you have to apply for different visa types or go back to your home country after graduation.
The study abroad advisor will provide you with the regulations in regard to working and living in the host country. They’ll help you explore your options and their implications.
#8- How Safe is the Country for African Students?
As a black person, it’s normal to worry about racism when you go abroad for your studies. It’s important to feel reassured that the country and university that you want to join is safe and has an inclusive culture for students from diverse backgrounds.
A study abroad advisor should help you in picking a university that not only matches your career goals, but also one that will allow you to feel comfortable in your skin.
#9- What is the City or University Culture?
Every city and university has its own culture. Before you send in your application, it’s good to explore these cultures to make sure you select something that’s best aligned with your personality and interests.
How big is the university? Is it located in a big city or a rural setting? Which activities do students enjoy near the campus? Which sports are popular in the university? How do people get around? All of these questions will help you decide if a program and the institution are right for you.
#10- Can You Connect Me with Students that You’ve Advised Before?
If you want to check whether a study abroad advisor is great at their job, the best way is by talking to their former clients. Getting connected with their past placements also helps you to start building your network of friends in the host country.
Planning and preparing to study abroad can be anxiety-inducing for most students. Getting a study abroad advisor who will answer all your questions and provide guidance goes a long way in alleviating the stress related to the process.
Do you want to learn more about studying abroad and exploring new scholarship opportunities?