1. Determine your expectations:
Before even thinking of a country where you want to study, you need to be aware of what it means to study abroad. Ask yourself the following questions to get clarity:
- Why do you want to study in a foreign country?
- What are the consequences of studying abroad?
- What is your focus in your study (major, minor)?
- What kind of courses would you like to choose? Which are necessary to fulfill your learning agreement with your home university?
- What do you expect from the foreign country? Think of people and behavior, culture, environment (economy, politics), and leisure time for example.
- How and where do you want to live? On- or off-campus, with a family or on your own?
- How much money can you raise?
Now you have a clue about what you can or cannot expect from studying abroad.
2. Choose the right place:
One of the most important aspects regarding studying abroad is to choose the right university. Hence, do not just look for the perfect vacation place with beautiful beaches and good weather. But do look for a university which meets your expectations and desires concerning study program, course offer, and international focus on study for instance.
Then, you can emphasize on recreational activities and student associations offer to make sure that you can get involved easily with other people.
3. Choose the right time:
Either your study abroad is an obligation and specifically determined in your program so that you cannot choose the time to go abroad, or you have the opportunity to study in a foreign country and you are able to plan everything on your own.
Keep in mind that the assistance from an expert at your university is always helpful. This can be either a student who studied abroad or someone or organization that supports students having the desire to go abroad, like an International Office. An expert can give you valuable insider tips and respond to your questions.
If you can choose the time, you should consider which semester fits best. Think about it carefully! In general, it is not advised to go abroad in the first two semesters. You will definitely be busy with getting used to study life and have to orientate yourself to this new chapter of life. Also, sometimes it is not possible to have the last semester of study at another university. But if it is permitted and you plan to do so, be aware that you must meet requirements your home university determines to graduate.
Additionally, foreign universities have specific requirements you need to fulfill to be admitted, e.g. a certain average GPA, and social/business engagement could be helpful to be ahead of other students applying for the same university.
4. Work on an outstanding personality:
Take into account that it is never too early to work on an exceptional personality!
This implies studying efficiently, engage in projects or students groups and get grades that push you forward. Show that you are motivated, and that you have the will to accomplish something. Besides, get involved in associations that you are interested in and help you to make progress. Finally, do not forget your private life. Do what you like to get relaxed: sports, reading books, shopping are only few examples for a balanced personality.