Increased social mobility and the rise of globalisation has the seen the number of international students explode in the last couple of decades, with people of all ages looking to spread their wings by studying abroad.
But when the whole world’s your oyster when it comes to international study, how do you narrow down your choice to just a single country?
In this post we will cover some of the most popular destinations for international students and what makes these countries stand out from the crowd.
With its beautiful beaches, balmy weather and its laid-back attitude, Australia is the premier destination for students looking to study in the southern hemisphere.
Many students who have chosen to study in Australia point to the country’s push for innovation, creativity and independent thinking as making their academic life particularly rewarding.
There are 43 accredited universities located across the vast country and while every major subject is catered for, Australia is seen as particularly strong in areas such as business, the humanities and science.
Australia’s unique ecosystem and wildlife also means that the country is great for any aspiring conservationist or biologist, and you might even be granted the opportunity to study world-renowned natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef.
It’s important to point out that most top universities are located in metropolitan areas such as Sydney or Melbourne, and because of this you’ll likely have to deal with the relatively high costs associated with living there.
However, there are a few regional universities where the cost of living is much cheaper for the more adventurous among you!
A recent survey by Study.EU named Germany as the most attractive European destination for international students.
Many observers suggest that this is because students appreciate the more relaxed and grown-up approach to education that German universities offer.
The country’s liberal sensibilities and European focus are also seen as key selling points for the country for many younger students, many of whom may have become disillusioned by politics at home.
And let’s not forget there are plenty of opportunities for students to socialise and let their hair down, with Oktoberfest and the famous Christmas markets being very popular, not to the mention the many music festivals held in Germany.
Germany is an ideal place to study, whatever your chosen subject, but is seen as particularly strong when studying engineering, business, science and – unsurprisingly – German!
It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that the application process for studying in Germany may be complicated by Brexit, especially if UK citizens lose their freedom of movement. So if you are thinking of studying in Germany, don’t delay!
Japan is a blend of both the traditional and contemporary worlds, with modern conveniences, such as the bullet train, co-existing in perfect harmony with the country’s rich heritage.
This has seen the country become increasingly popular with students looking for something a little different, and with its unique culture and highly-regarded education system it’s easy to see why.
Before you can study in Japan, however, you’ll need to pass the Examination for Japanese University admission for International Students (known as the EJU).
While the exam can be taken in English, given that most courses are taught in Japanese it’s important to have a grasp of the language.
Learning the local language can be a little intimidating at first, although there are numerous Japanese language schools in Tokyo to help you out. Many expats, however, say that as you immerse yourself in the country you will naturally begin to pick up the language.
Note, however, that Japan is an extremely homogeneous country, with only 1.6% of the population originating abroad. This means that that you will likely stick out as a ‘gaijin’ or outsider, which can be a little daunting at times.
China is quickly rising up the ranks as one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad and is only behind the US and UK in the number of international students choosing to study there.
This is partly due to the Chinese government’s push to attract learners to the country by offering generous funding opportunities to international students.
To that end, in 2015, 40% of all international students studying in China received some kind of financial grant from the Chinese government!
As the world’s largest emerging economy, and due to its growing importance on the international stage, China can also help you get a leg up on the global jobs market, especially if you’re able to show you have a grasp of Mandarin or Cantonese.
Studying in China will furthermore allow you to take advantage of the country’s central position in Asia to travel around the rest of the continent during your breaks or following the conclusion of your studies.
However, if you are considering studying in China you should be aware of the government’s ‘great firewall’, which blocks access to some parts of the internet – so no more Facebook or Twitter!
American university life has been the subject of countless movies over the years, and while the reality of US college life may be slightly more mundane that depicted, it’s still a life changing experience for many.
The US is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities – including the so-called Ivy League – making it an extremely popular destination for anyone looking to study abroad. There are around 1,000,000 international students spread across the country’s college campuses.
This diverse melting pot of cultures means America can be a great place to learn more about other countries and mix with students from around the world, while still getting a world class education.
The American sense of go-it-alone independence also makes it the ideal training ground for any young students looking to find their feet and make their own way in life.
Of course the lack of a language barrier is another plus for those who feel that learning a second language may be too daunting.
One of the biggest drawbacks of studying in the US however is the cost. A year of tuition can range between US$10,000 to US$35,000 depending on the university, and while scholarships are available these are only for the most outstanding of students.
If you’re considering expanding your horizons by studying abroad, even it is for just a year, then you’ll need to consider managing your international money arrangements.
You’ll likely be required to make regular overseas transfers to ensure you have enough to cover your tuition fees and living costs.
But using a bank to do so means being hit by additional fees on each transfer.
To avoid this unnecessary cost you can simply use a reputable currency provider, who will also offer you more competitive exchange rates on your transfer, meaning your get the most from your money.
Also, by taking advantage of the services offered by a currency broker – such as automated transfers or forward contracts – you’ll be minimising the amount of hassle required to make a transfer, allowing you to focus on your studies and avoid any financial headaches.
You can find out more about currency transfer options here.
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