Myths and facts about studying abroad

Before students come to us for consultations, they have many misconceptions regarding studying abroad. Every experience of studying abroad is the experience of an individual and sometimes it is very difficult to determine how reliable that information actually is. Your preparations to go abroad, precisely because of such confusing and only half-accurate information, can be the thing stopping you starting along this route. In this article we clarify the 5 most common myths regarding this issue, and what the truth actually is!

 

Myth 1 – Studying abroad is too expensive 


In our region the belief that studying abroad is a financial adventure is prevalent. This is true for some destinations, such as the USA, Canada, the UK or the Netherlands. But there are currently so many universities around the world which offer financial assistance and have scholarships available, but where the quality of teaching is still exceptional. It is very important that, when you are deciding where to study, you choose a destination that has a cost of living roughly the same as ours. Of course, it is difficult to gain much of an idea about other countries in the world, which is why we are here to tell you about our clients’ experiences, with reliable and accurate information about prices and the finances necessary for studying abroad.

 

Myth 2 – Your average grade is the most important thing


Actually, this is not the case! This is maybe one of the most common misconceptions that are held by future international students. One’s average grade is only important if you want to go to one of the top universities, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard or MIT. For these universities, besides your average grade, you also need a rich CV, to have gone to competitions and to have won awards. For most universities, your average grade is a condition, but it is not a crucial factor in enrolling. Of course, you will find it much easier to enrol if you were a top-grade student at high school (average grade 5) and have an average of at least 8.5 at university; but, even if you don’t, universities often conduct interviews via Skype in order to confirm a student’s quality. Apart from that, there is often no entrance exam and they ask for different documentation than in this country. What may be a problem is if you are only a ‘good’ student at high school, i.e. have an average grade of 3, and an average of 6 at university, you will not be able to enrol except at a private university of dubious credibility. 

 

Myth 3 – I need to know the language of the country where I want to study


This is only true to a certain extent. Namely, as academic mobility has been increasing in recent years, more and more countries have been opening programmes in English. There are still many more Master’s programmes than undergraduate study programmes in English, but even that is starting to change. This mostly relates to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, because the enrolment conditions for most Master’s programmes and undergraduate studies are a good knowledge of German and English, as well as a tough entrance exam. Italy follows this to some extent, but has started more and more to open programmes in English; but, for now, these are in business studies. What is recommended is certainly that you learn the language of that country, if you are planning to stay to live and work there after finishing your studies.

Myth 4 – It is very difficult to find work in the country where I have completed my studies


This depends exclusively on you. Even if you graduate from the best university, but have not at the same time been working on developing practical skills, the ability to present yourself to an employer, writing a CV, or the most basic manners, it is very likely that this myth will become a reality for you. So our advice is that while you are still studying you should become an active member of a student organisation, take the initiative and steps that will more easily lead you to a job after you complete your studies. Most universities abroad have work experience in a company as a mandatory part of the studies. In general, this experience is not paid, but on the other hand sometimes it can be. Try to absorb as much knowledge as you can on this work experience so that you can determine what it is that you would like to do in life. And one more very important thing – do not give up right away! It is still a rule in Europe that citizens of that country have first preference, then EU citizens, and then non-EU citizens. In some places they will reject you precisely for this reason, but that’s not up to you! For this reason, be bold and keep on looking, by law you have six months from the end of your studies to find a job!

 

Myth 5 – Scholarships are hard to come by 


This myth is true when it comes to full scholarships! Unfortunately, full scholarships for our future undergraduate or Master’s students have become reserved only for exceptional candidates or for outstanding athletes. But do not worry so much, there are always reductions to tuition fees if you have achieved great success at university, and that can cover up to 50% of the tuition fees. If you are a non-EU citizen, you can also work for up to 20 hours every week while you are studying, or as an EU citizen you can even work full-time. Italy offers regional scholarships and the German government offers DAAD scholarships; there a scholarships offered by the Swedish Institute and the French and Czech governments. Most are for Master’s studies, while Italy’s regional scholarship is available to everyone and sometimes covers the full cost of tuition fees or living costs on a yearly basis and is based on the financial situation of your parents. There are also university scholarships which are mainly reductions to tuition fees or are excellence scholarships which are full scholarships and which are mainly awarded to a very small number of candidates with the highest average grades!

 

We hope that we have debunked some prejudices with this article and that it will be easier for you to choose where to apply to study abroad! In any case, studying in a country which is not your own will enable you to develop as a person, give you a wider perspective on the world and give you better career opportunities! The choice is yours alone!

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