#Think a head why you want to study abroad
However at first glance it seems a great adventure to go to another country and study there, but to be honest if you intend to study there for more than a year you need a much stronger motivation as well as a clear plan for your study. Finding a study place in a foreign country can be a very energy, money and time consuming process and therefore before starting your journey, you should at least answer these two questions:
– What will study overseas add to your life, expertise and experiences or in other words how it can benefits your future
If you know what you want then you can answer the second question,
– Can’t you get same things in your own country?
Once you answer these questions clearly, you are ready to devote your time and energy on this matter.
#Select study programs
After setting your goals, it is time to target a study program that fits to your plan and previous studies. Of course it is not a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, hence you need to find more than one university to apply. Keep in mind you should spend some time on the university finding step because there are many parameters involved here. At very first it is a “must” to examine the contents of some relevant programs in the university website. Then you should check the rank of that university. To do so there are many different websites such as QS World University Rankings. Note that however the overall university rank is an important factor but the university rank on that specific subject is more important. There are many websites which are ranking universities but keep in mind each of them have different parameters for ranking, so consider the university rank as a rough estimation of that university quality but do not rely on that so much. It is also a very good idea to talk and consult with your friends (or friends of friends) or your former classmates who are studying in the same university and ask them some specific questions about that university and program. Please, please and please be careful to do not bother them by asking many general question or questions you can find their answer with a simple googling. So first check everything by yourself and if you have some more questions you can also directly contact to the program tutor. If you did all of these steps and did not get your answer then you can check individuals who are studying in that course. After gathering all of this information you can make a list of programs that may fit to your plan.
#Consider your living cost and funding resources
Each country has its own education system and rules associated with it. This means, you should check the tuition fees for each different universities you have selected. As a rule of thumb the European universities (except in UK) have lower tuition fees than US and Canadian ones. Regard the living cost, most of the time you can find some useful links in universities’ webpages. The highest living costs are normally, accommodation cost, insurance and food expenses. On the other hand you need to carefully consider your funding resources, whether it is from your own or your family deposits or from a scholarship or a student job. You should be realistic about your expenses and incomes. Also if you are looking to find a job you also need to check the student work permit regulations of each country that you want to move there. Most of the time student work permission is limited or even in some countries it is not allowed at all for foreign students. After this step you can shorten your university list. (you can also check: Postdoc and PhD salary in Germany)
Once you find matched programs, you need to check their requirements and deadlines. The application deadlines in USA and Canada are a little earlier than Europe. Also, a very important point here is that most of the time your chance to be admitted for a study program and scholarship for fall semester is much higher than spring semester. In terms of application requirements, there are some common documents that all universities ask you for them while some of them need even more documents. In general you need to send them an official translated transcript of your records, a CV, a statement of purpose (SOP), language certificate and two or three recommendation letters (or reference name). In USA it is very common to ask you for a GRE test score as well. In addition, there are some universities and program which encourage you to find a supervisor in advance, in such cases you need to contact to a faculty member for a supervisory opportunity. In order to process your documents you should pay to the university a cost which is called application fee. Application fees are also depending on the country and the university that you aim to apply for it and it can be a value between 0$ to 150$ or more. Once you filled the application forms and paid the application fee and sent your documents you most probably will receive an email confirmation that indicates your application is under process. At this point you just need to wait for one or two months until you be informed about application committee decision.
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