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Everything you need to know before going to study abroad

By Expat.com, student partnerpublished on October 27, 2021

9 mins

You want to study abroad as part of your studies but you have questions? How to leave? How to finance your project ? How to find accommodation?

How to go to study abroad?

There are two ways to take advantage of a mobility abroad As a student :

  • Leaving on your own by enrolling in an establishment in the country of your choice ;
  • Leaving through a exchange student thanks to your French school. As part of an exchange, you will need to contact your school and apply to the foreign universities that will be offered to you.

Do you necessarily have to speak the language of the country in which you plan to study?

If it is obvious that the mastery of the language of the host country is an advantage, many foreign establishments offer lessons in English. Be careful however, depending on the training you are considering, you may be asked to justify your English level so that your host institution rest assured that you are able to follow his courses. Most of the time, establishments require a certificate of exam results from TOEIC or TOEFL but one language test can also be considered.

How to finance a mobility project?

To study abroad is expensive, especially compared to tuition known in France. It is certain that the financing of this project is therefore a major issue in its implementation. If the student does not have personal assistance, it is possible for him to contract a student loan or, depending on their destination, to work during their year of mobility, in order to be self-financing.

Please note that the right to work as a student in a foreign country is not acquired automatically! Do not hesitate to inquire with your host institution as to the rules governing the foreign student work and any authorizations to be obtained. It will never be recommended to work without authorization because a check could lead to serious consequences, including expulsion from your host country.

Is there financial aid to support me in my mobility project?

It is quite possible to benefit fromfinancial help to support a mobility projectwhether you are a self-sufficient student or going through a school exchange program. Financial aid is not automatic and requires the constitution of a file by the student which must begin by identifying the aid available. For example, we can name the regional aid and scholarships granted by French and foreign establishments. Aid will never be guaranteed, however, and each request will have to be motivated and submitted on time, which is why it is crucial to start your international mobility file as soon as possible.

How to obtain or renew your visa?

If you need to go to a destination that requires a Visa or one permit to stay or study there, you must obtain the necessary documents from the competent authorities of each country. Thus, to study in Thailand for example, you will have to contact the Thai embassy in France.

Each country has its own rules and deadlines. You will potentially have to move into theembassy (always in the capital of your country of origin) to complete some of the procedures. Depending on the country, the list of required documents may vary. Please be aware that you may be asked to provide a extract from your criminal record in order to get your Visa.

In case of visa renewal application when you are already in your host countrya common mistake is to go to the French embassy, ​​but the French administration can do nothing for you in this case and you must go to the immigration services of your country of study. The key word is “anticipation”, do not wait until the last moment to start your process because it will be impossible for you to precisely control the administrative deadlines.

How to find accommodation abroad?

Find accommodation abroad is one of the greatest anxieties of aspiring students International mobility. Most establishments offer student accommodation for some of the candidates at least. Here again, it will be important to submit your complete file quickly because places are rare and university accommodation are most of the time the most advantageous financially. Do not hesitate to quickly contact the administration of your host institution in order to know in detail the options available to you.

If the university accommodation is not an option that concerns you then an individual apartment or a flatsharing are also possible.

Sharing accommodation is one of the preferred solutions for exchange students. You can find roommates and even accommodations through groups created on social media, through your host university or through classifieds sites like Craig List.

It remains entirely possible to contact real estate agents before your arrival thanks to their website so that they can organize visits as soon as you arrive on site. This solution will undoubtedly prove to be the most expensive but also the safest, provided you choose your real estate agent carefully.

Please note that during covid it is necessary to find out about the rules in place in your host country so as not to find yourself blocked by possible quarantines or restrictions on visits.

How to build a circle of friends in a new country?

The fear of isolation is natural when changing countries and it is certain that the experience can be more difficult for some. There are, however, a few tips to make your integration.

The first place of socialization for a student remains his educational establishment, although COVID-19 complicates matters, this statement remains true. Find out about the activities organized by your universitythere are often integration periods for new students and clubs that will allow you to make your first encounters. Social networks can be of great help to you, most courses have support and communication groups , especially on Facebook, for their students.

Take your courage in both hands and dare to propose an exit, it would be very surprising not to have any positive response knowing that you will not be the only person newly arrived.

Finally, widening your social circle can be a good idea to immerse yourself in your host country, so why not sign up for a sporting, musical artistic activity, etc.

Don’t underestimate the importance of having a circle of support, although for many people meeting new people is difficult, often the effort is rewarded. To study abroad is a wonderful experience but it has its difficulties and its moments of doubt, it is at this moment that having a reliable and benevolent friendly entourage takes on all its importance.

What to do in the event of a serious unforeseen event?

This should not be an easy solution, but the role of french embassies and especially the consulates attached to them is, among other things, to provide assistance to all nationals of the country that the embassy represents while respecting local laws. So, if you find yourself in an emergency situation and you need to ask for help, it will be useful for you to have the contact of the French consulate available. The consulate can help you, especially in the event of an attack abroad, arrest, theft or loss of your papers, etc.

Moreover, it is never too early to find out about the steps to take in the event of problems: Do you know your insurance and its benefits well? Your bank and the protections it offers you abroad? In the event of the unexpected, it will be more difficult for you to consolidate useful information under the cost of panic, so plan ahead.

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