Who doesn't want to study abroad? Even if you discount the quality of education, there is a whole new world out there waiting to be explored.
The experience, exposure, life skills you will receive is priceless. However, there is one major factor which stops many of us from adding flight to our foreign dreams and more often than not - it is the cost. Living and studying in some of the best of countries and some the best of colleges in those countries, can be exorbitantly expensive.
The world offers a quiver full of choices for those who seek. UNESCO lists more than 1600 universities globally. Each of which offers 100 different courses and it can be a challenge figuring out what and where you want to study.
Now, the good news is that, it is possible to study abroad on a small budget. Even there are countries where tuition fees are low, or even non-existent. Some of these countries are Norway, Taiwan, Germany, France, Mexico, Spain and Italy.
Here are some smart ways by Gurinder Bhatti, Chairman & Managing Director, ESS Global, to choose your study destination that doesn't burn a hole in your pocket:
• First and foremost, be true to yourself - Go for a degree and a college you want to and not something you think you need to do or have to. If you decide to go for your passion, it will be much easier to go through tough times.
• Research carefully and use multiple sources: A degree takes about one to four years to complete and can be direly expensive. Though it is true, it can be a life altering experience yet doing your own research will only enrich your choices. Go through university websites meticulously and through student's forums.
• Search for what you want. Maybe you want to study in a university where the language of teaching is French. Or you have a specific budget in mind or you want to study in a university in a particular region. Choose a subject you want to study and narrow down your choices. Choose your preferred university and the course you want to opt for in those universities. You can check out the international rankings too.
• Be on a constant lookout for scholarships that can reduce your expenses of studying abroad. Not all scholarships have the same terms and conditions. Some cover tuition fees and living costs whereas others- student visa and air fair or both. When planning and budgeting, it is wise to send multiple applications to all scholarship-granting institutions. Start with your admissions office and the university you have chosen to study in. There are several Government scholarships too.
• Enquire about the tuition fees and select your payment scheme. Tuition fees is one of the major cost for anybody who is looking to study abroad. Prices vary per country, course and institution. There are schemes such as loans and "pay later" options that you can count on in order to save yourself from paying such exorbitant amount upfront.
• Keep a budget aside for miscellaneous expenses such as books and extra-curricular activities. Such expenses are often kept out of the tuition fees. Calculate how much expenses you require depending on the course you opted for.
• Also, different countries have different cost of living: Calculate the cost of living in the country of your choice. Refer to sources such as the program coordinator and available statistics and country comparisons. Europe has several top notch schools and excellent programs but it also has cities where the cost of living is very high. On the other hand, Asian countries have relatively affordable cost of living and premier educational institutions. Keep in mind that cost of living fluctuates so keep a track on your budget.
• Choose a roomie: Most students will have the option of living in a dormitory or a student's apartment somewhere near to one's school. A dormitory will give you the option of staying with a roomie. Having your own apartment can often turn out to be overtly expensive.
Thus, though studying abroad can be an expensive proposition for many, there are a lot many pocket-friendly ways that you can deploy to lower your total cost of study and stay.