Print Edition - 2016-06-10  |  study abroad

Look before you leap

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 10, 2016-

Choosing to go abroad for study is probably one of the most challenging decisions a student has to take.  Not only does it come with the initial anguish of having to leave your home, it is also fraught with innumerable challenges of adjusting to a new way of life and education. In order to make their stay and study abroad fulfilling and enriching, students must consider a wide range of issues.

Starting out, prospective students must research the academic discipline they want to pursue as the degrees they obtain alter the course of their lives and careers. Also, the student must be well aware of the scope of the courses s/he wishes to enroll in. Only then should select the country and the university they enroll in.

Furthermore, before selecting a university, properly evaluating of the cost and the quality of the particular academic institution should be given utmost priority. Having selected the courses and colleges, the student should apply, fulfilling all the criteria set for international students. It would serve well to note that universities and colleges in different countries set different criteria and deadlines for international students.

According to education consultants, the aspiring students must have thorough knowledge of the admission procedure, as majority of good universities and colleges have set stringent criteria for selection. “One should be aware of the etiquettes required while applying,” said Santosh Pyakurel, general secretary of Education Consultancy Association of Nepal (ECAN). “The student must be academically qualified, first and foremost, as it the most important criteria.” 

Likewise, the aspiring students should also meet the requirement set by the universities and colleges regarding different tests like toefl, ielts, SAT, GMAT and GRE among others. Others requirement set by the institutions could be personal essays, statement of purpose and other types of write up on specific topics. According to Pyakurel, student also need to prove that they will be able to afford an education in order be considered for selection. For that, the student should provide details of his/her or sponsor’s bank balance and income statement.  

It would be best to apply three months prior to the start of the academic session so that there is enough time to seek visas, arrange flight tickets and manage accommodation. While applying abroad, students can either apply directly to the institution on their own or can apply through consultancies representing the universities. “Applying from the consultancy that represents a college could be a better option as the student will get all kind of services without the hassle,” said Pyakurel.  

According to Suprabhat Bhandari, chairman of the Guardian Association of Nepal, if a university is selected after proper consultation with a reputed consultancy, the students and the guardians can avoid major accidents in future. “At times, students, and even their parents, get emotional and choose academic institutions without proper consultation,” said Bhandari. “This could potentially be disastrous.” If the application is filed complying with all the necessary conditions set by the universities—like prior academic qualification, proven competency in language and sound financial condition—the university issues an acceptance letter to the student. 

Once accepted and verified through the receipt of an i20 or an offer letter, the student should apply for a visa for the country they are going. The documents to be submitted to the concerned embassy should again include details which clearly prove that the student is going abroad to study. The respective country grants the visas to genuine students who have fulfilled every criterion.

After being admitted and obtaining a visa, the student should give due consideration to accommodation in the destination country. Soon after receiving the visa, one should seek for proper accommodation based on their financing ability and interest. One can apply for accommodation on-campus or choose to live off-campus. If you would prefer to secure your accommodation once you arrive at your destination, or if you need a place to stay until your pre-arranged accommodation becomes available, you will need to organise temporary accommodation at a hotel or hostel. Most academic institutions, however, help students find accommodation. 

The cost and availability of accommodation depends on what one chooses. University dormitories are popular and require students to apply for a room well in advance; whereas rental accommodation is generally readily available and can often be sought out upon arrival. The cost and availability may vary between cities and between metropolitan and regional areas. 

Once the aforementioned issues are sorted out, flight tickets should be purchased. While seeking out flights, students should make sure that there is enough time to settle in before classes start and that the arrival date coordinates with any international student orientation sessions or accommodation check-in dates. 

Published: 10-06-2016 08:13

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