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Study Abroad | The Ultimate Guide in 2021 for an International Experience

Ashley R. Cottrell

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to travel and gain experience in a new country. Whether it’s to learn a new language or develop a new skill, there are numerous academic and work opportunities available overseas for you to discover

If it is your first time participating in a study abroad program, you may have several questions about the process: Which country should I choose? What courses are available? What are the steps? Our complete guide on how to study abroad was designed with you in mind.

In this guide, we will answer all questions you may have about traveling, as well as provide helpful tips and recommendations to get the most out of your experience. You’ll learn about the benefits of studying abroad, available courses and programs, the best countries to choose from, and more!

Benefits of Studying Abroad

woman in a cable car taking photos

There’s a reason why almost every university offers study abroad programs. International experiences come once in a lifetime and have so much to offer:

1. Hone Your Language Skills with Native Speakers

When you study a language in its respective country, you expose yourself to complete immersion. Since everything you will read, hear, and use is in another language, it inevitably helps strengthen your comprehension and fluency of it.

By having conversations with native speakers, you will naturally pick up on pronunciations, grammar, and new vocabulary, thus assimilating the new language more quickly and efficiently. Being bilingual is an attractive quality. As a necessity in the job market, this skill can open many doors for you professionally.

2. Educational Opportunities

If you decide to study abroad, you will discover the best educational systems around the world. Australia, for example, has quality educational institutions that receive worldwide recognition and thousands of international students every year.

3. Experience Different Cultures

One of the main perks of traveling is the ability to learn and partake in cultures outside of your own. Every country has uniqueness and charm that are expressed in their history, traditions, and customs. Studying abroad helps deepen your level of understanding of different worldviews, perspectives, and ideas.

4. Personal Development

In addition to languages and cultural influence, you have the opportunity to work and gain professional experience while studying abroad. Once you return home, you can apply these skills when meeting new people and starting conversations, which builds confidence in communication and career aspirations.

5. Career Opportunities

Speaking of careers, international experience is an attractive quality to future employers. According to a recent IIE study, language skills and cross-cultural experiences are impressive qualities that many companies desire in new employees. Study abroad programs show that you’re resourceful, open-minded, and able to adapt to different environments, which are excellent traits to include on your resume or CV.

Courses to Study Abroad

textbooks of courses to study abroad

Now that you know the benefits of studying abroad, let’s explore popular courses to consider.

Language Courses

One of the main goals of people who travel to other countries is to learn a second or third language. From foreign exchange programs to homestay opportunities, schools around the world continue to offer study abroad programs for international students.

General English

If English is your second language and you’d like to improve it, many institutions provide general English courses ranging from basic to advanced levels. In these courses, native English-speaking teachers will help you strengthen your comprehension in reading, writing, listening, and conversation.

Intensive English

For English classes of a shorter duration with the same effectiveness, intensive English courses are another alternative. Similar to the general courses, Intensive English courses help strengthen your comprehension, but classes tend to be longer per day and range between two weeks and three months.

Exam Preparation

International students who have mastered English as a second language and would like to prepare for official exams can take these courses. The exam prep courses help individuals studying for official exams such as IELTS, Cambridge, and TOEFL.

General French

If you already speak Spanish and English fluently, you can consider taking French! Since Canada has two official languages, English and French, there are plenty of language schools there that teach French courses. The city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec in Canada, is the second-largest city in the world where French is spoken after Paris. You can study in Canada and immerse yourself in the language!

Vocational Courses

As an alternative to degree programs, vocational courses provide professional training and skill development in various job sectors. These types of study abroad programs are designed for students who wish to enter the job market immediately after high school.

Degree Programs

If you’re pursuing a college degree, renowned universities around the world have a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses from which you can choose. Check out the courses for degree programs in partnership with GrowPro:

Best Countries to Study Abroad

Every country offers a unique experience. Depending on your personal and professional goals, some countries may be a better choice for you than others. Let’s review some of the best countries that attract the most international students per year.

Australia

city in australia

Listing third on the QS Higher Education System Ranking of 2018, Australia is a popular country to study abroad. With a strong economy, high quality of life, and a low unemployment rate, it’s no wonder that thousands of international students choose to study abroad here.

Australia is also one of the top travel destinations in the world. It’s diverse landscapes and unique fauna are two of many reasons to explore all of the cities in Australia.

Canada

view of Vancouver city with Canada flag

Ranked as #3 of the best countries in the world, Canada is another popular destination for foreign students looking to learn French and pursue other career ventures. Cities in Canada are known for their diversity and multiculturalism, making the country very attractive to international students.

Canada’s educational system is considered one of the best in the world, offering certifications and diplomas that are recognized worldwide.

New Zealand

harbour view of auckland city

Many students who take a leap year to travel to New Zealand decide to stay longer and pursue studies there. Why? With a first-class educational system and breathtaking landscapes, it makes sense! New Zealand’s high safety and quality of life rates are part of the reason foreigners choose to stay here.

Additionally, there is so much to do and see while studying and living in New Zealand. Most travelers agree that New Zealand is a paradise for extreme sports. So, if you love adventure and outdoor activities, this island country may be the perfect place for you.

Spain

view of city in Spain

Tuition rates in Spain are among the lowest of all European countries, which is great if you are looking foraffordable higher education. If you choose to study abroad here, you will fall in love with the rich culture and architecture found throughout the cities of Spain. There are also opportunities for international studies to find work in Spain while studying abroad.

Since this country sits right on the Mediterranean sea, it has an excellent beach and outdoor weather. You can also visit the infamous landmarks and indulge in the country’s delicious gastronomy.

Ireland

view of dublin ireland

Also known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is another great place to study English. If you choose to study abroad here, make time to explore the country’s most popular attractions rooted in historical traditions. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has the largest population and hosts most of the country’s celebrations.

Steps to Studying Abroad | How to Achieve It

woman taking notes to study abroad

If you’re nervous about studying abroad for the first time, we’re here to help. We’ll walk you through each requirement, step by step, to ensure you have everything you need and are well prepared.

Decide What You Want to Study Abroad

Before embarking overseas, you must first decide on what you want to study. Afterward, you can choose the courses that best align with your goals. Whether it is an intensive language course, professional training, or a degree program, determine your reason for choosing to study abroad and what you hope to receive from each experience.

Research the Requirements to Study in Certain Countries

In the previous sections, we listed some of the best countries to explore study abroad programs. Take some time to read and learn about each one, making notes about the advantages and considerations of the countries as it relates to their study programs and travel requirements.

Here is a list of criteria to review that can assist in your research:

  • the climate
  • quality of life
  • cost of living
  • educational rankings

Taking these aspects into account will help you choose the country that best suits you.

Make sure to prepare a budget to cover your studies abroad, accommodation, and daily necessities. If you need financial assistance, there are plenty of resources such as scholarship websites where you can search for a variety of scholarships and grants to help cover your trip!

Obtain a Visa

Many countries require you to acquire a visa to live, work and study abroad, even if for a short period. Since the processing time for visa applications can vary per person, it’s important to get started early.

Fortunately, members of our GrowPro Experience team can help you with the visa application process. Our Experience Managers know exactly what you will need and the requirements of each country. They can guide you through the entire process and answer any questions you may have along the way.

Book Accommodation and Purchase Flight

Once your visa is approved, it’s time to purchase your plane tickets.  Depending on your country and available airlines, prices can fluctuate by the season. To get the best deals, you can use different flight comparison websites. Here at GrowPro, we recommend using Skyscanner, an online platform that helps you find and compare flight prices all around the world.

Next, you will need to reserve your accommodation. There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including homestays, student housing through universities, hostels, and apartment rentals.

Check with your educational institution to see what housing programs are available. You can also utilize websites such as Airbnb, Hostel World, and Homestay.com to find and secure housing before your arrival.

How GrowPro Can Help You Study Abroad

person packing to study abroad

Now that you are well informed and ready to pack, remember that GrowPro Experience can help! Whether it is choosing a city, applying for a visa, creating a budget, or booking flights, that is what we’re here for. We understand that studying abroad for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, which is why we love what we do.

Our GrowPro team helps hundreds of individuals every year to move and study abroad. We offer amazing study experiences that help you create a detailed budget for your trip.

Once you choose an experience that interests you, one of our Student Advisors will reach out to you, with whom you can discuss procedures and receive answers to all of your questions. As we mentioned earlier, we will assist you with your visa application as well as provide a Welcome Session once you land in the new country.

Our sessions provide you with plenty of resources and information about your country of choice, including how to choose accommodation, perform banking procedures, exploration ideas, and more.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube page< for updates of new videos on experiences in different cities around the world. You can study abroad through GrowPro. Your adventure awaits!

About the author

Ashley Cottrell