Choosing to study overseas can be a scary prospect, but it might well be the trip of a lifetime. Leaving your friends and family to head overseas is no small thing, but there’s a good chance you’ll come home with some happy memories, valuable experiences and a few great friends.
Whether you’re totally green, or a seasoned traveller, this list will make your decision where to study overseas a little easier.
1. Academic quality
When it comes to studying overseas, the academic calibre of your overseas university is bound to affect the quality of your experience. The better the quality of the teaching and facilities, the more you’ll be able to gain from your time away. Have a look these university course rankings to help you decide.
Not every country is safe for every traveller. When studying in a different country, you want to feel comfortable, which means being able to relax and enjoy yourself. To get a feel for the risks in different countries, do some internet research and speak to people who have already been to the places you have in mind.
A few things to consider might be whether you can wear your usual jewellery on the street, how women are treated, the attitudes towards same-sex attracted and gender non-binary people, if you need vaccinations and whether you can you drink the tap water.
3. The language
Try to make sure you’ve at least got a working knowledge of what the locals speak. It’s polite, safer and helps with getting around. Take your pick of free language apps to learn conversation basics in a gamified way.
And if your motivation for studying overseas is to gain proficiency or fluency in a language besides English, great! Think about which languages might be best for your future career. Want a hint? Arabic, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.
4. Your financial situation
If you choose an expensive city, like Hong Kong, Geneva, or Paris, you may not get the best value for your money. The big, bright cities of the world look great and sound impressive, but if you can’t afford to step outside then your ability to enjoy your time away will suffer.
If you’re worried about money, but enthusiastic to study overseas, one of these scholarships might help get you across the line.
5. Formal university partnership
With a formal partnership, the subjects you take overseas should count as credit towards your current degree, which will save you time and money.
Most importantly, with a formal partnership, your university will know all that stuff about Visas, getting there, and making the most of your time.
6. Atmosphere on campus
Are you all about beer-pong and chanting? Or quiet and diligent study towards the high ideals of academia? Every university will likely have some combination of the two, so make sure you aim for a campus that strikes the right balance between work and play. Make a shortlist of universities to follow on Instagram for a close-up look at their culture on campus.
7. Campus location
Long commutes are a drain on your time and your mental resources. If you’re going to be staying off campus, think about where you’ll be living and how you’re going to get to university. A short bus, train or bicycle ride from your university campus will make sure you get to class fresh and on time. Here’s a list of the world’s longest commutes.
8. What others say
In an age of TripAdvisor and Yelp, it’d be darn silly not to read some reviews of where you plan to go. Read the best, read the worst, read the in-between and make up your own mind.
After studying overseas you’ll come home with newfound independence, resilience, adaptability, knowledge and experience that could make a world of difference to not only your employment prospects, but the way you live the rest of your life.
La Trobe University has a diverse range of international exchange opportunities for you to choose from.
This article was made possible with contributions from La Trobe University exchange partners, including: Aarhus University (Denmark), EWHA Women’s University (South Korea), HAN University (The Netherlands), Jonkoping University (Sweden), Malmo University (Sweden) and the University of Bayreuth (Germany).