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07 Steps to study abroad

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Studying abroad can seem complicated, especially if you don’t organize yourself well enough to do so. It’s true, the process is labor-intensive and takes time and energy.

After all, in the process of figuring out how to study abroad, you have to research and evaluate schools, cities, and countries, organize your documentation, take exams and prepare to leave.

But all that effort will pay off when you arrive at your destination! Think of it as an investment and believe me, your life will transform, in every way. What do you have to do to make this project work? How to study outside? Follow these eight steps and have a great international journey!

How to study abroad, in eight steps:

1) Define your project – what do you want to do abroad?

Why do you want to study abroad? That’s right, what do you want to study or experience outside? The projects are the most diverse because people have the most different interests. All are valid, but understanding what you want to do is critical to follow through on your goals. Here are some examples of courses and experiences you can have abroad:

  • Six-month or one-year university exchange
  • Specialization
  • Graduate: MBA, Masters, or Doctorate
  • Short course
  • Educational tourism / Backpacking

2) Understand your academic profile

Are you or were you an exceptional, good or average student? This is an important part of the study abroad process, as it helps you avoid wanting what is not within your reach or pushing you to go after what you didn’t think was possible.

By understanding your academic and personal profile, your choices will be easier and your results will be better. Do a self-analysis, evaluate your history and performance as a student. Think about who you are as a person and what kind of university you would like to study at.

More traditional or bolder? Super academic or more oriented to practice and entrepreneurship? Talk to teachers and other people who can also evaluate you. You will see that with this information your choices will be more accurate.

3) Define the language in which you prefer to study and in which you will be able to develop better academically

This is very serious, especially for those who will be out of country for a longer time! It is easier – and more logical – to go to a country where you will study in a language you already know well. Also because you will have to take a qualifying exam in the language you are going to study.

So focus on what you already know how to do best and leave learning a new language for later. International universities offer this possibility and it is very worthwhile.

An interesting tip to work on this point (and the other two already mentioned) is the course Self-knowledge in Practice, offered by Fundação Estudar. It will help you understand what you want, define your goal and work towards achieving the next steps.

4) Find out about scholarships and how to study abroad in financial terms

The number of international scholarships offered annually is enormous – by universities, foundations or government agencies. Search, read the edicts. Do not discard any offers. Organize your documentation, prepare what they ask for, caprice.

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You will only know if you will get such an opportunity by trying. And every month, we update a list of the best scholarships for those looking to study abroad. But despite the scholarships, it’s good for you to program yourself financially. Remember that expenses are always higher on arrival.

You may have to pay a housing deposit, buy winter clothes, books, a computer, and other supplies. Another good tip is to leave here knowing how financial transfers can be made. There are currently a number of options such as MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal and prepaid travel cards from various banks.

5) Choose well the countries or cities in which you want to live this experience

Open your range of options, especially as you will go through a selection process and the approval of your application by the universities will restrict your choices. But still, choose places where you would really like to live.

When researching, try to find out more about where the university is, what life is like there, what activities you can do outside the classroom. Important: If you are going to do a graduate degree, the choice of city is secondary.

That’s because the university’s faculty and its lines of research will be the key factors in defining your choices for studying abroad.

6) Start your application process

Once all the above requirements have been defined, you will be able to start your application process (in English, application): you will organize and have your documents translated (school transcripts, diplomas and others), prepare and take the requested exams, obtain your letters of recommendation, fill in the necessary forms and wait for the responses.

7) Prepare your documentation to study abroad

Once approved by the educational institution, you will have to take care of your passport, student visa, airfare, and accommodation/housing. You’ll have time to do all of this, but don’t leave anything to the last minute.

Check if your passport will be valid for the time you are out of country. Start looking for the housing options you will have abroad and, with the letter of acceptance from the university, look for the consulate of the country that will issue your student visa to enter the papers.


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