Doing your Masters degree abroad is the amazing duality that is education and travel.
At 17 I found this amazing loophole, moving to England to get my Bachelors’s degree. It was easily the best decision I made in my life, and my Masters will happily follow suit as I head back to London this year. So, if you’re thinking about taking the step in your education and abroad, consider me your virtual cheerleader telling you to DO IT!
I mean, what better way to get the best of both worlds than writing your thesis on your way to your next European vacation. I’ll wait.
Whether you’re toying with the idea or making your application soon, here are the ins and out for How To Do Your Masters Degree Abroad.
1. Choose Your Country Wisely
The first obvious step is to choose a country to study. Remember, when it comes to traveling vs being an expat this isn’t a two-week vacation spree.
This is the country you’ll be dealing with bureaucracy in, working, renting an apartment and buying your groceries.
With that said, make sure you can see yourself making it a home, even if it’s just temporary.
If you don’t have a country in mind, speed date and ask the right questions, for example…
“What climate do I want to live in?”
“Do I want to live in an English-speaking country or learn the language of another?”
“What do I like the most/least about the culture of this country? Could I adapt?”
“Could I see myself possibly living in this country after my Masters?”
Once you answer these should you have a general idea of which countries would be the best match for you and your goals abroad 🙂
2. Pick Your Program (And How You’ll Pay For It)
The next step is to pick your program. This is totally up to your personal interest, but it’s commonly suggested not to do the same exact same degree as your Bachelors’s.
Learn something new! And use the backdrop of your new-found country to unwind from the evitable stress that comes with grad school.
I highly suggest checking out study.eu if you haven’t decided on where or what you want to study during your Masters degree abroad.
It’s an amazing directory with thousands of programs to choose from and you can browse by subject and country 🙂
3. How do You Pay For a Masters Degree Abroad?
You can also rest east knowing Masters programs abroad cost a fraction of US tuition in most cases, and there are tons of scholarships to cut the costs down even further.
Many schools also accept US FAFSA or private loans such as Sallie Mae. This of course depends on the university, so just be sure to check beforehand with their student finance department.
Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert in this, but luckily my friend Sojo is! She posted an amazing resource list of the best scholarships for your Masters degree abroad (below) so be sure to do some research and find out which one may work for you.
4. Get Virtually Networking
International connections are an obvious benefit of doing your Masters abroad. In addition to meeting locals, you’ll get the chance to meet the many other international students on your program, making for many personal and professional connections.
You can start early by browsing around Facebook groups or sliding in the DM’s of past/present students to ask about their experiences and get some insight into your Masters degree program.
Remember some students will be happy to share their advice and experience with you and others may not. Don’t take it personal!
5. Prepare For The Visa Wait
Okay, you’ve picked your country and program. You’ve been accepted, dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, and finally sent off your visa application. And all there’s left to do now is…wait.
I’m not going to lie, whether for a job or university the visa wait process is probably the most stressful part of living abroad.
In general, applications to study are very straightforward and will be approved 99% of the time. But you could still find yourself waiting weeks to months to hear back – especially in times like these.
My advice is to use the time to plan out your time abroad and travel plans! Take some needed time with your friends and family and work to save up for an emergency fund while you’re away.
6. Think About Your End Game
As the story goes, once your Masters in your not so new-found country comes to a close, you may not want to leave.
Luckily, most programs have a period of 6 months to 2 years after your program ends that allows you to search for work.
But it’s never to early to network and peek around the job market to see if there’s any company willing to sponsor you or look at other visa options.
Embrace The New You
It’s inevitable that the you that gets on that plane will not be the same person on that return flight. Ask anyone and everyone, living abroad for an extended amount of time has the capability to grow you as a person in ways you never knew possible back home.
So make sure you make the most of your studies and the chance to leave your mark on your new corner of the world, wherever it takes you 🙂
Don’t forget to read more living abroad tips here!