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Writing a cover letter for studying abroad

By The Fab Studentpublished on January 19, 2022

8 mins

Going to study abroad is a dream for many students. Today, it is an adventure within reach provided that we give ourselves the means to live it. Writing a cover letter is a fairly common prerequisite in a selection process.

Although the exercise may seem painful or daunting, as a student, it would be a mistake to bet everything on your academic record with little effort on your resume and cover letter… It is precisely on these elements that you could distinguish yourself in order to make a difference with another student of the same level.

Although each cover letter is unique and that it is not recommended to provide a letter type without locking you into a model that does not necessarily correspond to your specific situation, it is still possible for us to guide you.

The background of your cover letter for study abroad

For the lucky ones, it happens that the professors responsible for university training guide the candidates specifying what information they wish to find in the letters of motivation. For the others, you will have to be creative (which can nevertheless be an advantage because you will then have a better chance of distinguishing yourself).

However, you can well imagine that despite the specificities of each file, a certain amount of information will necessarily be found in each cover letterit’s up to you to make your wording more attractive in order to distinguish yourself despite everything.

First, you will need to prove your motivation and your ability to follow study abroad. Thus you will have to convince your reader that you correspond best to the required profile. Take the time to ask yourself the right questions, what are your biggest qualitieshow to highlight them and illustrate them, if possible, in a practical way with personal experiences. The most complicated part of the exercise is to stay away from the clichés too worn out by many students before you, while remaining sincere and convincing.

Be accepted for a international curriculum is not only an academic question, you will have to appear reliable and able to carry out a project that will take you away from everything you know and your loved ones. Going abroad alone is difficult and you will benefit from being stable and able to face this stage to the end while succeeding in your year. Schools have every interest in betting on candidates they imagine capable of completing their year, it is obvious.

Do not hesitate to demonstrate to the reader that you know perfectly the course you wish to join and that you are informed about your host institution. This requires a personal investment upstream in order to know the lessons provided or the teachers you may have.

Although you are still young and have your whole life to change your path, presenting a professional project in connection with your course abroad is a particularly attractive argument. Indeed, being able to project yourself further than this year of discovery without stopping at the clichés of the student wishing to party abroad and travel, can land you a place in the coveted course.

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The form of your motivation letter for studies abroad

Unsurprisingly, the cover letter comes in the form of a… letter. You speak directly to the reader and you must convince him by putting yourself forward, this is not the time to use false humility or extravagant superlatives, the tone must be sober but sincere and unfailingly polite.

The structure commonly used for letters of motivation remains the same and can be deconstructed into three parts: Me, You, Us. So first, you are supposed to introduce yourself to your reader, talk about your personal curriculum. The second part, “you” must relate to the coveted training and show that you fully understand what is expected of you. Finally, the last part, “We” will really help you to convince your reader that you are made to follow the lessons offered and that you will know how to make them shine later during your professional career.

The cover letter for study abroad perfect must fit, ideally, in a single page, two at the most. The underlying idea is to describe yourself and your project in the most dynamic and succinct way possible so as to never lose your reader’s attention.

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A cover letter too long will make less of an impression and will not highlight your ability to synthesize and prioritize important information about yourself. You will therefore understand why every word counts.

Although the place is limited to you, the forms of politeness are not to be set aside. If it is written in a foreign language, it is up to you to use the appropriate terms, so do not hesitate to have a native of the target language proofread it. Don’t give in to the temptation to have someone else write the letter, recruiters are not their first applications and a single maintenance can bring you up to date if your level does not correspond to your writings.

Rather than trying to put down on paper all your journey (it is unlikely that all of it will be relevant to the specific training you are aiming for), select three or four ideas to develop and illustrate each of them in order to concretely show how you are the ideal candidate for your training.

Be careful, you will be advised to avoid formulations that are all over the place and too popular.

For example, if you want to track study abroad it is quite obvious that life outside your home country interests you. Therefore, it may not be useful to use too general a formulation such as ” I would love to have an experience abroad “. However, it will be welcome to be specific by relating your personal experience to the subject: given my wish toexpatriation after my studies, a first experience abroad would be beneficial to my project “.

Write a good cover letter for study abroad is an exercise that cannot be improvised. You will have to invest time and effort into it, but the payoff is well worth it.

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