Study Abroad: How To Choose A Classroom Program

A life 2023

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Study Abroad: How To Choose A Classroom Program
Study Abroad: How To Choose A Classroom Program
Video: Study Abroad: How To Choose A Classroom Program

The older you get, the more enjoyable it is to study. After all, studying is no longer a child's punishment, but a voluntary choice. We have collected some tips for those who want to make it as consciously as possible - for example, going to a foreign university.

Text: Anna Aristova


Decide on the country and city

Of course, there are no universal advice here - everyone approaches the search individually. Someone is guided by the prestige of a particular program or university, someone - by love for the culture of the host country, and someone just dreamed of living in a particular country from childhood. “Everything coincided very well for me: love of travel, thirst to try something new, graduation of a bachelor's degree, not too rosy atmosphere in Moscow for a young specialist, at that moment nothing kept me here - all that was left was to choose where. As a result, I flew to Brisbane, Australia, which became a very spontaneous destination, but naively desired from childhood,”says Dasha, who studied at Griffith University on the east coast of Australia. “I wanted to do science because there was too much routine in the IT firm where I worked. I liked certain topics in the field of "computer science", I read articles on these topics and, of course, I knew the professors from different countries who deal with them. I contacted several of them by email and received a response from my professor in Germany. We can say that I did not choose Germany, it just happened,”says Jaroslav, PhD student at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Take time to search and evaluate the scale of document preparation

You need to start looking for a suitable curriculum in advance - in some cases, a year or two before the start of training. If you want to leave next year, you need to apply for some countries right now. “I started collecting documents in February, and in March I sent the first package of papers, necessarily with notarized translations,” says Alice, now a student at the Sorbonne's communications department. - It was important to have time to translate all the documents into French, including the school certificate - it takes time. And, of course, you need to pass a language exam in advance. In 2017, exam sessions were held in December, March and May - I literally jumped on the last train, signing up for the May session - I was lucky that the university considered my application late and I managed to send them my result. I advise you not to be me and hand over everything in advance and without nerves."

If you have the financial ability, contact intermediary companies that collect and translate all the necessary documents, and sometimes even accompany you when you move. “My admission was handled by a specialized educational company that provides consulting services, collects documents and acts as an intermediary in contact with the university itself. The service is quite inexpensive, but it allows you to save time, nerves and feel more confident at such a crucial moment,”says Dasha. “For me it was a big surprise that a rather lengthy medical examination procedure for a student visa to Australia took place: I had to take a bunch of tests and undergo numerous examinations.”

The procedure for PhD programs is different: “In fact, there was no registration procedure. They made me a work visa, and I arrived. In Germany, PhDs are considered researchers, not students,”says Yaroslav.

Explore university reviews and ratings

As for the choice of the program - before submitting an application, study the sites of the universities you like, including the subject of courses, teaching staff and student research papers.Look for groups on Facebook and write to students studying at the faculties of your choice - who, if not them, will be able to tell about the quality of education. Look at the ratings - and not only the classic lists of the best universities in the country, but also the ratings in your specialty: sometimes the best programs in terms of teaching and professorship are found in completely unobvious universities. “I have a rather narrow professional segment - the aviation business, so the list was not long. The decisive factor for me was the reputation and reviews of the university, its location, as well as the relatively simple and fast admission procedure,”says Dasha.

“For lawyers, there are two options for a master's degree - general and specialized (for example, in intellectual law or human rights). It was important for me to enter the general law program, which would give me greater freedom to choose the legal subjects I study - every year the list of courses and teachers changes, usually it is not available at the time of application, so it was important for me to leave the choice. The interdisciplinarity of the program is also important. I believe that lawyers need to look at what people are doing in related fields - for example, in Cambridge we studied the subject "The Birth, Development and Afterlife of States", which included history and sociology, or "Economics of Law and Regulation", where several lectures were devoted to the philosophy of artificial intelligence. I also wanted to go to a large scientific center - to decide whether I want to become a graduate student. Plus this is a unique opportunity to seriously sit down with books in the library and chat with the best legal professors. I also paid attention to the number of scholarships for undergraduates, since I could not pay for the studies myself. Large and prestigious universities have more such opportunities,”says Diana, who studied in the LL.M (Master of Laws) program at the University of Cambridge.


See if your university is partnering with someone

If you are intimidated by the procedure for collecting documents and responsibility, the easiest way is to go on an exchange or double degree program from a Russian university. Many universities partner with leading universities around the world, so check the list of partner universities - perhaps there will be the same university where you dreamed of going. “While studying at the HSE Master's program, we had the opportunity to go on exchange to one of the partner universities of our program or to a university from the university list. In the second case, the competition was much higher, because students from different regions of Russia applied with me. The main role in the selection was played by the rating and the motivation letter - it seems to me that it helped me to go to the university of my dreams,”says Katya, who left for an exchange term at ESSEC Business School in Paris.

Calculate your budget

Remember that the study itself is only a small part of the cost. The main expenses are usually paid for housing (which most often costs twice as much as in Russia) and food. The ideal option is to get a scholarship or apply for financial assistance while already in the country, but sometimes it is worth thinking once more, and, perhaps, postponing the trip for some time in order to earn extra money and save money, thereby avoiding the fear of starvation already being in border. If waiting is not an option for you, consider doing a part-time job while studying - visa regulations in some countries allow you to work several hours a week. “Before leaving for the Sorbonne, I started looking for students of my program on the forums to ask if our curriculum allows for extra weekend jobs. Then they answered me categorically no - according to them, the study was too difficult and intense to do something else at the same time. Nevertheless, I decided to take a leap of faith and left with the thought that I would “sort it out on the spot”.During my studies, I wrote articles on freelance and did translations - this helped me not to despair over local prices and not lose much in quality of life compared to Moscow. I still have to give up some things like buying clothes (but I discovered the wonderful world of swaps and conscious consumption) - but I see this experience as an investment in my future,”says Alisa.

Consider a scholarship

or grant

When choosing, you should pay attention to the scholarships offered by various international organizations - they fully or partially cover the cost of studying at prestigious universities and help a lot at first abroad. “In Great Britain, studying is very expensive, the cost of a program for foreigners can sometimes reach tens of thousands of pounds. At the same time, there are not so many scholarships, they are mainly provided by large universities like Oxford and Cambridge. It is much easier to find a scholarship that partially covers the cost of the program, but this option did not suit me. An application for a scholarship can be submitted either simultaneously with the application for admission on the university website (just tick the required item), or on a separate website of the scholarship program. In this case, you will have to compete for a place separately. I studied at Cambridge on the Chevening Fellowship program funded by the UK government. The scholarship fully covered tuition, airfare and visa costs. In addition, I received monthly payments, which were enough to rent a house, eat and sometimes even travel around the country. In addition, in addition to the scholarship itself, Chevening provides an opportunity to participate in UK events in Russia, which is a very valuable resource for networking. A prerequisite for such a program is that after graduation you will need to return to Russia and work here for two years."

According to Diana's experience, in order to receive a scholarship, a diploma from a top metropolitan university is not very important - she recalls that about half of her year's scholarships were from the regions. “I think the applicant's motivation and achievements are important. Achievements are not necessarily a successful career in a large corporation: activism, volunteering, city and regional initiatives, cultural and scientific projects are valued. For example, together with me the scholarship was received by the employees of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Pushkin, and the regional office of human rights NGOs,”says Diana.


Do not hurry

If you didn’t enroll this year, it’s better to wait and apply next year. “It’s better to go to a good university right away. Otherwise, why is this all? There are many master's degrees in Russia, where study will give you much more for personal and career development. The same goes for finance - there were several people in my Chevening graduate who received a scholarship the second time around. Among other things, one of the fellows went to the prestigious London School of Economics, which she has now successfully completed,”says Diana.

Think about the future

Before leaving, think about what you would like to do next - to stay and work abroad? Return to Russia with new knowledge? Get the experience of living independently in another country? The answers to these questions are also important. “After graduating from university, I returned to Russia. The specificity of Australia is such that either marriage or obtaining an additional diploma in the chosen field allowed to stay there (the total duration of continuous stay in the country is at least 2 years). Employers are not at all interested in providing employment to foreign citizens: significant costs of the enterprise, unnecessary paperwork with an abundance of local labor. Now I enjoy life at home, it's not for nothing that they say: where I was born, I came in handy there. At the same time, I am absolutely mobile and look at this world without any territorial boundaries,”says Dasha. “The study abroad experience was very cool and broadened my horizons.I really have become a different person and I have a different attitude to everything,”says Nadya, who went abroad for language courses.

Think again

Living abroad is not at all the same as a tourist trip. Remember that when you move, you will have to start life from scratch, which means that you will need to move to a new apartment or dormitory, arrange for local insurance, residence permits and social subsidies. In some countries this process can take months - much longer than in Russia. In France, for example, almost all papers to municipal structures must be sent by mail, to the point that you can only cancel a contract with a mobile operator by writing a statement by hand and sending it by this letter. There is another important factor - home attachment. “When you realize that you are leaving for a long time, leaving is perceived quite differently. The first time you walk, and it seems that nothing has changed. It seems that I live on suitcases and can fly back at any moment. This feeling does not let go. There is no stability. It's hard that there are no friends here - you think that you do not depend on them, and in general, what's the difference, there is always a phone. But this is not the case. Even the familiar cafe that you always go to is missing. There are no landmarks. They appear over time, but at first it is very difficult. At first, you still completely abandon the language. And when you get a chance to speak Russian, it's nice. I never thought it would be like this,”says Arthur, a student of the Faculty of Classical Philology at the Sorbonne.

Photos: Elena Shvoeva -, ilona -, Olga Galushko -


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