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8 Critical Factors for Choosing a Study Abroad Destination

For many students, studying abroad is the way that they choose to gain an education. The reasons why one might choose to study abroad are many. Common reasons include wanting to gain a certain licensure (I.E., the fact that medicine degrees in the states are highly valued) or simply the wish to go out and experience a part of the world that one has never seen before. There are many different schools that cater to international students. The factors as to why many students choose certain international destinations.

Some of the international destinations include major cities such as New York. New York is packed with brilliant schools such as The New School, and Columbia University. The US News and World Report recently released a ranking that stated that 29% of The New School’s student population was comprised of international students. Soka University is comprised at about 39% international students.

Here are some factors to consider when applying for school abroad:

1- Special Admission Requirements

Does the school have any special admission requirements for international students? Check with a counselor from the school to make sure that you meet all of the literacy and education requirements necessary for admission to the school.

2- Location

Is the school in a good location? Are you more comfortable living in the city or the country? Such things are often considered by most college students and not just international ones. However, international students may find that living in a city will give them access to more resources that will help them better adjust to life away from home.

3- Transportation

How close is the school to a major airport? Is it easy to get around campus? Since you will likely be attending school without access to a car these will all be important things to consider.

4- Student Body

How diverse is the student body? While some people are comfortable being the only one of their ethnic group in the entire school others may not be so comfortable, particularly if this is their first real time away from home. Having other international students that you can connect with will help you adjust.

5- What is the reputation of the Institute in your specific discipline of study

A lot many students make the mistake of going by generic rankings, remember institutes have different ranks in different disciplines of study, rankings for a specific discipline or department are based on numerous criteria like on-going research, quality of the faculty, amount of industry funded projects in progress, Number of international students etc. So before making a decision make sure you have all the relevant data specific to your discipline for the institute in question.

6- Placements and industry tie-ups

Ongoing research in a university or institute is a very good indicator of the institute’s accomplishment and reputation in industry circles for a specific discipline.  A little known fact is that usually job placements from a department are intrinsically linked to the number of funded projects in progress within a department.

7- Financial Aid or On Campus Job options

As an international student you will be looking to recover a part or – in an ideal situation – all of your education expenses through RAs TAs or on campus jobs. Check out the following factors number of RA or TA positions granted within your department, total amount of money distributed as aid, and finally percentage of students who is granted financial aid in any given year.

8- What Do I Want to Study? Can I use my degree back home?

Certain degrees are very specific to the country that they are earned in. For instance, the medical licensing requirements in the US are different from those in France because the US is generally more permissive when it comes to alternative medicine such as Osteopathy.

Another example is a law degree. Many countries have differing requirements for the education of lawyers that have to be met.

Some choice destinations for international college students are not only schools in New York but also schools in other city centers such as Washington DC, San Francisco, and Boston. Choice destinations for international students also include The College of William & Mary in the small town of Williamsburg, Virginia. William & Mary is known for the large amount of students from china that it attracts due to its’ magnificent law school and excellent science programs.

William & Mary also boasts a unique claim to fame: it is surrounded by a 300 year old city where the revolutionary era way of life is preserved, making it an excellent opportunity for students who also study history or the arts.

In short, there are many different factors that determine what the best destination for an international student is. The main factor is you. Make sure to use these tips but remember: you are not going to school for the sake of someone else. You are going for the sake of yourself and the most important thing is that you make yourself happy.

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