Here you’ll find a collection of the most twenty frequently asked questions regarding how to study abroad from the Monkeys community. Find information on where to study, how to apply, entry requirements, getting a student visa, tuition fees and funding, finding study abroad scholarships and other practical information. Discover below the answers to the mysterious secret of how to study abroad. Our goal here at Monkeys is to make a meaningful experience of your studies overseas and easy for you as we can. We listen closely to our community members’ questions to provide the most relevant information possible. If you are considering studying abroad, read on to have your questions answered!
- Why study abroad?
There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset and expanding future employment prospects.
For some, the prospect of leaving home and heading off into the unknown is daunting but studying abroad is also an exciting challenge that often leads to improved career opportunities and a broader understanding of the way the world works.
The type of experience you have during your time abroad will vary hugely depending on where you go, so make sure to pick a study destination based on your own personal interests as well as the country’s academic reputation, in order to keep a healthy work/play balance.
If you are planning to study abroad, you should definitely do it, because it opens you up to new opportunities, new people, and also let’s you experience other cultures. Studying abroad also makes it easy for you to travel internationally without much problems from immigration.
Your career prospects also will benefit hugely from your experience of studying, living and socialising overseas. It’s your opportunity to develop a wealth of new skills, perspectives and stronger English language skills and seek work experience from the sort of employers you’d like to work for.
- Am I eligible to study overseas?
Yes, you are eligible. However, there are certain requirements and eligibility criteria stipulated by a number of universities, colleges and scholarship bodies before you can study abroad that you may have to meet.
The academic requirements (including evidence of English language skills) you need to study will vary depending on the level of education you want to study. Universities and schools can have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their websites carefully.
If you are below 18 years old you can still study abroad. Your parent or guardian will have to write a letter indicating that they are aware you are going abroad for studies, and are the ones funding your studies. Your Monkeys counsellor will help you assess your eligibility for different programs and guide you on the courses and locations that best meet your preferences.
- Where in the world should I study?
Choosing where in the world you wish to study is not always an easy task. As well as your own personal interests, you should think about practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects (is there a good job market?) and your overall safety and welfare.
You should also think about what sort of lifestyle you wish to have during your studies. Do you want to live in a big city or a small university town? Do you want arts and culture on your doorstep or world-class sporting facilities? Whatever your interests, be sure to match them up with your study destination so that you really give yourself the best chance of loving your international experience.
If you need help making up your mind, take a look at some of our most popular destinations – Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Italy, Malta, the UK and the US – or contact us to know our university rankings and full range of country guides.
- What is the study abroad path?
Choosing the right path to study abroad is one of the challenging decisions you will need to make, and with so many great options, it can be overwhelming. To assist you with the decision process, consider the following points:
- What languages you speak
- How comfortable you are living and studying in a non-English-speaking country
- Your estimated budget
- Specific subject you’re interested in getting experience in
- Your extracurricular goals while abroad
- Course level or degree you are currently working towards
- When deciding what and where to study, start by thinking about your academic interests and your career goals.
- Take some time to research specific courses, subjects and options for internships or work placements.
- Look at the campus location, rankings, the amount of time you would like to spend away from home and the total cost of studying and living overseas.
- Studying overseas is about more than just the course. Think about what kind of lifestyle you prefer – do you want to be in a cosmopolitan city, or a quiet country town? Would you prefer to choose a city where there are other students from your nationality? Do you want to be close to the beach, the forest or the desert? Do you want to live on campus?
- If you would like to explore the option of staying in the country to work after your studies you will need to find out about the migration policies in place and also be aware that these government policies can change at any time.
When considering what and where to study, your Monkeys counsellor will match your academic interests and your career goals with course information from more than 100 universities, colleges and schools. Your counsellor will be able to guide you on the courses, institutions and locations that best meet your preferences.
- How do I get started?
Once you’ve made up your mind about where you want to study, you should start to think about choosing a program and a university, if you haven’t already. You can research leading universities with the world university rankings, use the subject rankings to discover universities which are best for your subject, and also consult national rankings of universities in your chosen destination.
You’ll then want to look closely at the courses offered by the institutions on your shortlist, as well as researching the local area and lifestyle, admission requirements and costs.
Once you’ve firmly decided on your program and institution, you should start to think about your application(s). Application processes differ depending on the university or college and the country, but generally each institution will provide full details of how to submit your application on the official website.
In some cases, there is a two-step application process for international students. This means you must submit two applications: one for a place at the university and one for a place on the course itself. This should be clearly stated on the university’s website. If you still have questions about the process, you should contact your chosen Monkeys counsellor directly.
If you think you might need a student visa, remember that in most cases you won’t be able to apply for one until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university. Each stage can take several months, so allow as much time as possible.
- How much does it cost to study overseas?
The costs associated with studying at university or school overseas vary greatly. It depends on the nature of the program, the length of your stay, the distance you travel and the kind of lifestyle you want when you get there.
As said, the actual budget for a study abroad experience varies widely based on your circumstances, here are a few questions you need to answer before building your budget:
- What are the accommodation options?
- What are the day-to-day transportation requirements?
- What is the exchange rate?
- What are your extracurricular goals while abroad?
- How much travel will you do outside of the program?
- Are there additional expenses not covered by your program fees? These might include textbooks, visa fees, health insurance requirements, etc.
Once you have a rough estimate of all of the above, you can calculate a budget. Numbeo is a fantastic resource for estimating various expenses, including food and rent, to determine the cost of living based on location. Be sure to choose the correct currency you’re using to build your budget.
It’s a good idea to have a couple of hundred US dollars exchanged to the local currency in case of emergencies, and access to a few thousand dollars in a bank or credit card (this may even be a requirement to receive a student visa). This amount varies depending on where you’re studying, how long you plan to stay, and how much support you’ll have when you get there.
Pro tip: Find a local or a student who studied abroad before you and ask what their expenses were like and if they have any budgeting advice
Discuss your budget with your Monkeys counsellor and they’ll work with you to find an option that meets your needs.
- How long do study abroad programs take?
The length of time you spend studying abroad will depend on the program and level of degree you’re undertaking. Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three or four years of full-time study (for example, in the UK the typical length for most subjects is three years, while in the US the norm is four), while a graduate degree such as a master’s degree or equivalent will take one or two years. A doctoral (PhD) program will usually take three to four years.
At many universities across the world, there is also the option of studying abroad for a shorter period of time. Student exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year, a semester or even just a few weeks. Information about these shorter programs should be available on the website of the main university you plan to enroll at, as well as the university you’d like to be hosted by.
- How long does the application process take?
We recommend you begin your application process at least a year in advance to give enough time for your applications to be processed and to prepare for your time overseas.
Bear in mind that the academic year begins at different times of year in different countries.
- What documentation should I submit with my application?
You may be asked to provide some supporting documentation as part of your application to the academic institution (more documents are usually required for a visa application). Once again, requirements vary depending on the country and university, but international students are often asked to provide the following:
- Copy of passport or any other valid Means of Identification
- for identification
- Birth Certificates
- A statement of purpose
- Academic references/ letters of recommendation
- Certificate and academic transcripts of your studies
- Proof of English-language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL/IELTS certificate, for schools in English-speaking countries), or other language test
- Admissions test results (e.g. GMAT/GRE results, for graduate programs)
- SSCE Results (Certificate and Statement of Results)
- BSc Certificate or Statement of Results (For Post Graduates)
- Essay Write-ups
- Do I have to speak a second language to study abroad?
This depends on the country you wish to study in, and the language your course will be taught in. For many countries, if you want to study a second language different than English, language proficiency is not compulsory.
If you wish to study a course taught in English, but you’re not a native English speaker, you will have to prove you can speak the language to a fairly high level, by providing English-language test results. This is to ensure you will be able to follow your course without any comprehension problems.
English is also used as a language of instruction in a number of other countries worldwide, particularly for graduate programs and business degrees. English-taught courses will be advertised on the university’s website and can sometimes be searched for using a centralized database run by a national agency.
Common tests accepted as proof of English proficiency are the TOEFL and IELTS. If you need to prove your proficiency in a language other than English, there are also similar tests in other languages, such as the DELF/DALF and TCF-DAP (French) or the DSF and TestDaF (German).
Before taking a language test, make sure you confirm which results are accepted by your chosen school to make sure you don’t waste money on the wrong test.
- After gaining a letter of acceptance, what do I do next?
Congratulations, you’re in! Now all that’s left to do is to prepare for your studies, pack up your life into a single (large) suitcase, get your travel documents in order, apply for your student visa, research your accommodation options, and look for funding… don’t panic, it’ll all be worth it!
In fact, as soon as you gain acceptance from a university, the first thing you should start to consider is your travel documentation. Ensure you have a valid passport and travel insurance, as well as a student visa if you need one. Make sure you have sufficient time to get your passport/visa approved so that you’ll be able to travel legally.
For more information on what documentation you’ll need to travel, you can contact us for guidance. Alternatively, you can visit the government website of your chosen country to find information for travellers, visitors and international students (e.g. Gov.uk for UK travel information). All the travel information you need should be listed on these official sites.
Also, you can ask your university or choosen college for guidance. Often, admissions departments will help you to prepare for your travels. Make sure you check with your university, however – don’t assume someone else is going to sort everything out.
- Do I need to apply for a student visa?
Student visas are a big question for those who want to know how to study abroad, though not all international students will need one. If you’re an EU citizen planning to study in another EU country, for instance, you don’t need a visa.
However, as a rule of thumb, if you come from outside of your chosen country’s geographical region/continent, you will probably need to apply for a student visa. This usually only applies to longer periods of international study; if you’re participating in a shorter exchange, last three months or less, a tourist or visitor visa may suffice.
To find out for sure, check either with your chosen university, college, or the government travel website of your country of study. For information on how to apply for a student visa contact us, we have a team dedicated to support you during the enrolment and visa application process.
- What if I can’t afford to study overseas?
Although many international students may find it difficult to get a student loan to fund their studies, there are a myriad of other funding opportunities available to make studying abroad more affordable, including scholarships, fellowships, studentships, sponsorships, grants and bursaries.
Your chosen university is perhaps the best place to get funding information relevant to you, so make sure to scour the school’s website for advice or contact the school directly. This is also where information about study abroad scholarships offered by the university and other external organizations can be found, along with details regarding eligibility and how to apply.
Many scholarships are granted based on academic merit and are highly competitive. There are also lots of funding schemes targeting specific groups of students, such as students from developing countries and women studying male-dominated subjects.
There is always a limited number of partial scholarships and bursaries available for international students. The amount varies by level of study and by institution. These scholarships are competitive and you need to demonstrate exceptional academic achievements. Talk with your Monkeys counsellor about available partial scholarships and some help with your financial planning.
- Where will I live during my study abroad program?
If your chosen university or college has readily available campus accommodation, it is likely that you will be able to apply for a place in these student halls. If this is not the case, we are here to offer the help you will need to find your own accommodation.
If money is no object, you can consider renting your own flat, while those on a smaller budget can find shared accommodation with other students or use spare room listings found online. In all cases, you should make sure you do your research before signing anything or handing over any money. Our Monkeys’ student support team and student welfare officer located in your country of destination will also offer advice on how to find accommodation locally.
This will depend on whether or not your student visa allows you to work. In some countries there are restrictions on the amount of paid work you can undertake during your studies. Often there’s a limit of 20 hours’ paid work per week during term time, with full-time work permitted during holidays.
If you don’t need a student visa, it is more likely you’ll be able to work as many hours as you like, as long as this doesn’t affect your studies – but check with your counsellor or your choosen university, college and/or official government site. If you do work during your studies, it’s not a good idea to rely on your wages to fund living costs, and in many cases you’ll need to prove you already have enough money to support yourself when you apply for your visa.
- Will my overseas qualification be accepted in my home country?
The skills and qualifications employers and professional registration bodies require will vary from country to country. If, for example, you are working towards a career with strict entry requirements such as medicine, engineering, accounting or teaching, do some research with the relevant registration bodies in your home country for advice.
- Do I need an education agent?
While you can apply to study directly to an institution, you may choose to use the expertise of an agent to guide you through the process of choosing a university or school and enrolling. Using an accredited and trusted agent, like our counsellors at Monkeys, can help reduce the stress of choosing a school in another country, applying and preparing to leave.
Our student advisors (we call these student counsellors) are knowledgeable and up to date on curriculum changes, and have your best interests at heart. Most of them have studied overseas themselves so they have been in your shoes and can offer first hand advice every step of the way.
- Who is Monkeys?
Monkeys is an accredited education agency with recognition and training by many education providers, industry associations and goverment bodies. We count with a team of dedicated and experienced professionals in the international education industry. We help students study overseas in English/Non English speaking countries. We’ve been doing it for 7 years, creating a huge network of opportunity across many countries.
Our experienced education counsellors work with you to turn your study plan into a launch pad for professional success and personal growth.
Our service extends beyond study advice and applications. We can help you get all the essential services you’ll need while living abroad — health insurance, foreign exchange, accommodation, setting up a bank account and obtaining a SIM card.
We organise pre-departure orientations that cover topics such as: student life in your new country, advice on adapting to the culture and how to deal with homesickness.
Our services are free for students. There is no cost to students to book an appointment with Monkeys. There may be some small fees such as courier costs or document verification fees. For more information, phone or speak to your nearest Monkeys office or complete our enquiry form.
- What do I need to pack to study abroad?
If you’re new to long-term international travel, packing for an entire semester may seem like a nearly impossible task. Fortunately, in reality, it’s as easy to pack for studying abroad as it is to pack for a week-long trip, or at least it should be. We know it might seem like you need more stuff because you’ll be away for longer, but one of the most common mistakes people make while traveling abroad is actually overpacking, not underpacking. That said, it’s crucial to prepare for all the seasons you’ll be abroad for and to know the weather the country experiences. As a rough list, here are a few essentials:
- 7-10 days worth of clothes, ranging from warm to cold to wet weather options
- Versatile shoes
- A large backpack or duffel bag
- A smaller day bag
- Chargers, power adapters, and converters
- Prescription medication
- Travel size toiletries
- Essential documents in a travel folder, including passport, visa, proof of return flight (if required to enter), proof of COVID-19 vaccine, etc.
- Emergency cash
A key to packing for any trip is to grab everything you’ve used every day for the last week (which should be a surprisingly small number of things) and a week’s worth of clothes (stick with basics, make it stuff you can mix and match). If you are trying to decide whether or not to bring something, think if you need it, and if so — can it be easily and cheaply purchased while abroad? Remember, if you overpack and end up needing an extra checked bag, that can cost hundreds of dollars, so it’s often cheaper to buy things overseas than haul them back and forth.
- Can I study abroad virtually and further questions?
There’s no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has pushed program providers to adapt to the complicated international travel environment we are still currently in. One way providers have continued offering meaningful experiences to students is through online study abroad programs.
Virtual study abroad (also referred to as online study abroad) programs provide students with exposure to diverse communities where they will learn about international issues in a global classroom setting. Like traditional study abroad, virtual programs vary significantly, so finding one that fits your goals and expectations is essential to a meaningful experience.
While virtual programs come with the obvious trade-off of you not actually traveling, you will still be pushed to expand your perspective and grow your international community. Plus — who knows — you might just find your future travel companion or bucket-list destination.
We’ve covered many of the challenges students face when studying abroad. However, to make your decision and planning process straightforward, we have many guides and articles right here at Monkeys. Contact us, we have the experience, information and resources to take you through the entire process, from choosing when and where to go to what to do when you return.
The hardest step to take is the first, which is committing to yourself that you will put in the work to take a semester, summer, or year to study abroad. When first deciding to partake in an international experience during college, the options and hurdles to make it happen may seem monumental. Fortunately, there are many resources, organizations, and people willing to help you along the way, including us here at Monkeys. Get ready to have the experience of your dreams, in the end, all the time, energy, and work is well worth it.