What’s stopping you from studying abroad?

Studying abroad does not necessarily have to be outside Africa. There are equally great universities within and outside the continent.

Being in a foreign country for a long time will test your ability to adapt to different situations, teach you different cultures, connect you with people from different backgrounds or even aid in discovering hidden talents.

Sure, not everyone is enthused about studying in a foreign country but if you have ever had the thought to study abroad and not making any headway, it is likely because of one of these reasons:

No destination/s in mind

The idea to study abroad is nice but not enough. You need to also have an idea about where you want to study. It does not have to be a specific university.

Proposed solution:

Have more than one location in mind for your studies. It is not advisable to have too many options. You may be overwhelmed, thus no progress.

Once you have your destination/s locked down, you can go ahead to find accredited universities in the country that offer the program you want to study.

If the country has many universities, you can narrow this down by searching for universities only in your preferred city or cities.

Not knowing what to study

I have had people tell me “Jennifer, just find me anything”. Hmmm…It is okay to be confused about the next chapter in your life but letting someone decide your future may not be a smart choice.

Proposed solution

As mentioned, it is totally okay if you are unsure about what to do with your degree. When furthering your education, you will most likely continue your studies or even be accepted into a programme based on your previous courses or degree.

Consider these factors when thinking about what to study: your drive, career path, previous study or available job opportunities after you graduate.

Zero knowledge about scholarship opportunities

Education is expensive and not everyone can fully fund it. Scholarships are there to help you study without worrying about how the next semester’s tuition or rent will be paid.

Proposed solution:

There are varied scholarship schemes. You can be offered a scholarship based  on your nationality, gender, research idea or programme you want to study. Of course you need to have good grades 🙂 .
I have found this website very useful: Scholarships for Developing Countries

Missing deadlines and not trying again

The sad thing about missing university or scholarship application deadline is the long wait before they open again. This can be intimidating but may be positive if you are patient and would like to take a chance at it the following year or semester.

Proposed solution:

Time waits for no one. New projects or opportunities may come up after missing a deadline. This is probably the best time to get acquainted to the admission requirements and prepare accordingly.

For example:

  • you may need to gain admission to a university before you can apply for a scholarship or vice versa
  • you may need a recommendation letter from that lecturer who is hardly available
  • you may need to reach a certain level of a foreign language before you are awarded that scholarship

It is an opportunity to meet the application requirements during the waiting time.

Effort = zero

I have also encountered people who want to study but fail to put in any effort or put in very little effort. Some applicants want an already written motivation letter or CV from the get-go.

It is possible to pay someone to write them for you but it is your motivation letter, your resume.

What if you are asked detailed questions about this during your interview?

Proposed solution:

If someone is guiding you, make an effort and show interest in what you want. For example, you do not have to write a perfect motivation letter before someone can review it. It could be bullet points which can later be expanded as you both discuss ideas. This should not be a difficult task.

Do not get strayed when your university requests for a motivation letter. There are lots of people who have been there before and can guide you. Please do not go with a blank slate.

Not well prepared for your visa interview

This is the most painful part. You have gained admission and are excited about your new chapter and the consular officer rejects your application

Proposed solution:

Gaining admission does not automatically mean you will be granted a visa for your studies. You need to be well-informed about the requirements for you visa application and be ready to confidently (polite) justify your reason to study abroad. 

For example:

  • why you want to study in the particular country
  • why you want to study a particular programme
  • why you are doing a second Masters or Bachelors
  • why you do not want to study that program in your home country (especially if the program is being offered in your country)
  • why it took you long to further your education

Doing everything on your phone

This may sound trivial. No matter how advanced technology is, there are things you cannot effectively do on your phone. Looking for a scholarship or a university to study is most likely one of them.

Proposed solution: Give your phone a break and turn on your computer. Locate the nearest internet cafe or borrow one if you do not have one.

Not all websites are optimized for mobile devices and even if they are, you can easily miss important info when all the social media notifications flood in.

Discipline is key here.


 

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Thanks for reading! 🙂
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2 thoughts on “What’s stopping you from studying abroad?

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