10 tips on picking the best study abroad country for you!

Studying abroad will provide you numerous new experiences and adventures. However, choosing the best place for you can be challenging. Here are 10 tips to offer you more guidance!

Where to study abroad
Meike Barkema Meike Barkema

Undertaking a study abroad experience offers a multitude of advantages. It’s not just about delving into your academic field; it’s an exploration of new cultures and a journey of self-discovery. In the inforgraphic below, the advantages of study abroad are clearly listed:

Infographic about the benefits of studying abroad.

Choosing to study abroad is a thrilling decision that every student should consider. Yet, the question remains – where do I set sail? Fear not! To simplify this dilemma, here are 10 handy tips to ease your decision-making process and assist you in making the right choice for you!

1. Deciding if a study abroad is the right thing for you

Studying abroad unfolds as a remarkable adventure, inviting you to discover new countries, making new connections with diverse individuals and truly master the art of self-reliance. Yet, within this experience lie challenges that you need to face. Begin by asking yourself if you are prepared to be on your own and are able to be away from your family and friends for an extended period? Is the prospect of stepping beyond your comfortzone something you’re ready to embrace?

A resounding “yes!” to these questions indicates that studying abroad is likely a great fit for you! However, if you are having doubts, perhaps it’s worth waiting for another opportunity and engaging in some self-reflection in the meantime.

2. Review the study abroad criteria set by your college or university

When schools set criteria for studying abroad, they focus on preparing students for academic and personal success. Criteria vary among institutions, with a key focus on how the chosen program aligns with a student’s overall education plan. Global admissions offers a clear, country-specific list of standards, like age affecting eligibility. Countries have different requirements, from strict to flexible. If you want a simple process with fewer documents then you should choose countries with less strict criteria.

Conversely, if you’re comfortable with a thorough application, explore opportunities in countries with more comprehensive requirements. Understanding and meeting these criteria are crucial for choosing the perfect study abroad destination.

3. Find a study abroad country that is well known for the academic interest that fills your passion

For those aspiring to study abroad and pursue optimal academic excellence aligned with their interests, a good approach is to do some research on countries and institutions renowned for their expertise in the desired academic field. In this way the choice will get a little bit easier.

The release of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024 is a big deal in global higher education. It includes 1,906 universities in 108 countries. They checked over 134 million citations from 16.5 million research papers and got input from 68,402 scholars worldwide. This ranking offers insights into the changing higher education scene. Here you can select your academic interest and look for the best possible country for you. Handy, isn’t it?

4. Look at the state of the country you want to study abroad

When considering studying abroad, safety should be a top priority. Evaluate the safety conditions of your chosen destination and diligently follow the provided safety instructions. Additionally, take a close look at the financial stability of the country. Assessing both safety and economic factors will contribute to a well-informed decision, ensuring a secure and enriching study abroad experience.

Before embarking on your journey, evaluate scam rates, theft risks, and vulnerability to natural disasters. This site provides safety details for each country and city, it will also give you 10 region specific travel tips to have safe travels!

5. Consider the culture and lifestyle of the study abroad country

When you decide to study abroad, it’s crucial to grasp the diverse ways of life and unique cultural morals in each country. Consider whether a country’s culture aligns with your preferences or if you’re eager to learn more about it. This cultural diversity is evident in the education system, ranging from relaxed and informal to strict and rule-oriented.

Opting to study abroad is not just about academics; it’s a chance to explore and grow personally. It enriches your educational journey by exposing you to different lifestyles and varied approaches to learning, contributing to both academic and personal development in meaningful ways.

6. Decide what kind of study abroad experience you want to have

Studying abroad isn’t just about hitting the books; it’s a chance to mix things up and have an awesome experience, that you can look back on in a few years and be happy about. Think about the languages you’ve always wanted to pick up! Figure out which term suits you best by asking yourself these questions:

  • Big city vibes or small town charm?
  • Warm climate or cool temperatures?
  • Ancient history or modern architecture?
  • Structured education system or flexible learning ?
  • Local markets or high-end shopping?
  • Public transportation or walking everywhere?

Allow your responses to be your compass, directing you to a destination that perfectly aligns with your personal preferences.

7. Make a pro’s and con’s list!

Now that you’ve gained insights into your ideal study abroad destination, your thoughts might still be a bit jumbled. Consider crafting a pros and cons list for the countries you’re still uncertain about to streamline your decision-making process. After all, clarity in choices leads to a more enriching and fulfilling study abroad experience.

8. Look into your own network and read study abroad reviews

If you still have lingering questions about certain aspects, tapping into your network is a smart move. Reach out to individuals who have experienced studying abroad in your chosen country. If your immediate circle doesn’t have insights, use social media to connect with people who have. Don’t hesitate to ask questions – many have experienced the same uncertainties at the beginning and are likely to offer valuable assistance.

Additionally, reading reviews from individuals who undertook their study abroad journey in a particular country can provide valuable insights to align your expectations. Take, for example, this experience of a Scottish student who studied in America, offering a firsthand perspective that could resonate with your own anticipations.

9. Ask your academic advisor for help

In your study abroad decision-making journey, when doubts linger, seek guidance from your academic advisor. Their expertise provides valuable insights, ensuring a well-informed choice that aligns with your academic and personal goals.

10. You got the where, now the when

Once you’ve shortlisted a couple of countries or programs, it’s time to decide how long you want your study abroad adventure to be. From brief programs lasting a few weeks to more extended ones spanning a full year, there’s a variety of options to fit your preferences. Explore the months with the most favorable weather conditions in your preferred country as you make your study abroad plans. This ensures you make the most out of your experience during your study abroad journey!

Good luck and have fun!

Embarking on a study abroad journey involves crucial decisions. From safety considerations to cultural alignment, and academic excellence to lifestyle preferences, each choice shapes your experience.

Remember, studying abroad is about self-discovery and embracing diverse cultures. Consider these tips as guiding lights. Seize the opportunity, explore, and create a study abroad adventure that aligns perfectly with your aspirations. But, most importantly, is to have a good time and make some awesome memories. Good luck on your journey!

Meike Barkema

I am a junior communications professional from the Netherlands, currently pursuing my studies abroad at Abat Oliba CEU. I love to learn more about different cultures, and I mainly write about my travels and experiences as an international student.