If you’re considering moving abroad to study, you’ll need to conduct a lot of research to ensure this is the right choice for you. If you do decide to make the life-changing move, here are some handy tips to help you gain a deeper understanding of the country you will call home.
There are a lot of online forums where students come together to talk about current issues. If you are considering moving and studying abroad, the forums should be the first place that you conduct your research.
Prospective students can look through topics such as financial support, student housing and different cultures to name a few. Don’t hesitate in signing up, it gives you the opportunity to ask a question for other students like yourself to give honest and valuable information in return.
The forums can be found by simply entering the country and ‘student forum’ into Google, for example, here is the online forum for the German student community (http://www.germanystudentscommunity.com/).
Whether you’re only considering moving abroad or have already secured your place, it’s never too late to sign up.
Social media provides the platform for anyone to have an online presence. Most young adults are already comfortable with their social media skills on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, however if you feel you aren’t up to scratch there are a number of online tutorials to help develop your understanding.
Once you have honed your social media skills, use these to gain the information you need about studying abroad. Lots of institutions have Facebook and Twitter accounts where you can ask for help with any issues, for example asking for the email address of the administration office of your chosen university.
If you do use social media to contact prospective institutions, ensure you are polite and have respect as it can be seen by anyone else who visits the page.
Contacting the university or embassy directly is still one of the best ways to obtain the information you need. Choosing to contact an individual or institution directly gives you the advantage of speaking to someone who can give you a definitive answer to your query.
Online forums, social media accounts and websites are a good source of information, but they may not be 100% accurate with their facts. Choosing to go the extra mile by setting up a phone or face-to-face meeting will ensure you receive the right information from a valuable source.
The first thing students should do is to read up on local news of the area that they will be living in. You don’t need to subscribe to an expensive foreign newspaper and have it sent to your door every day; the most valuable information can be found online.
A great site full of European news which is written/translated in English is the local (http://www.thelocal.com/), the website also features forums on current topics where individuals are able to comment for discussion.
Furthermore, if students wish to read a reliable source that they are familiar with, most British news websites, such as The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world) and The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/) feature a world news section. Here you will have updated news and important stories on the country you are living in.
Be politically correct
Politics is a tough game to master, especially when moving overseas to where a political system is very different from what you are used to at home. Students should learn and understand the political systems of the countries they’re going to live as well as the European Union, as these are the systems that they’re going to have to follow in the future.
Understanding your rights
Priceless information that will prove extremely valuable is an individual’s rights. As an EU student (someone who is from a country within the EU, e.g. the UK, and moving to another country within the EU to study, e.g. Germany) you need to know and understand your rights.
Firstly, you should read upon your rights as an EU citizen, which includes your ability to live and study in any country within the EU, be able to work in that country and receive urgent and emergency health care when needed with health insurance. Students can find information about their fundamental rights (http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/charter/index_en.htm), human rights (http://europa.eu/pol/rights/index_en.htm) and what they’re entitled to as an EU citizen here (http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/).