Produced by Parva Bayat
When it comes to your future, making a decision is the hardest thing ever. The situation becomes even more difficult when you come up with the exciting yet risky idea of studying abroad. You need to consider numerous aspects, from the country and city to the course and University. After all, you are spending considerable money, so you need to do some math there.
Let’s focus on my case. I’m an MSC Tourism Management student at Bournemouth University. Being a planner, I plan ahead, try to get to know the whole aspect, and have a picture of the road. To choose my course, I went through most universities offering my major in different countries.
Long story short, I would like to share the steps I took to choose my major, university, and country.
Here are my hacks:
Choose your major
I’ve always been head over heels for Tourism and Hospitality, so I was sure about my major, as I believe the key to success is enthusiasm and passion. However, if you are not sure or you are one of those people who think money is everything, my suggestion is to have a look at the shortage list. Each year, countries publish a list of their needed majors under the category of shortage list. You can find them on the official website of the countries; for example, GOV.UK. A helpful step even for those who want to settle in a country.
Decide about the country
Well, this one is somehow attached to the previous step. In my case, after choosing the major, I went through websites that publish university rankings, chose the subject ranking, and focused on all the university names there. Try to answer the following questions: Which country are they from? What is their rank based on the subject? What about their ranking as a whole?
This gave me a good view of both countries and universities.
I’ll put some of these websites’ names here: QS, Times Higher, Complete University Guide, and so on. Considering these points, I chose Bournemouth University, as it is ranked 20th worldwide in Tourism and Hospitality.
Consider your budget
Here comes the bitter truth of budget limitation. How much do you want to spend? Can you get a scholarship? How long would the course take? What are the job perspectives? Can I get a loan and return it later on? How much does the living cost? What about accommodation? Can I get a part-time job? What about the city? Is it welcoming? Does it have a lovely environment? After all, you will spend at least a year in that city.
All of these financial concerns are crucially important and cannot be overlooked.
I did a calculation here, I got a scholarship from Bournemouth University in the form of a fee reduction, and the total tuition fee for international students at Bournemouth university is average compared to other universities in the UK.
P.S. A positive point about Bournemouth University is that if you have a good average, you can get some form of a tuition fee reduction.
My suggestion is that be realistic. Plan and do not undermine the importance of the budget. You don’t want to start your course while worrying about your costs every single day. And, do not count too much on the part-time jobs as finding one is not as easy as it seems, specifically for international students.
Do your research about your destination, the country, and the city
If you want to not experience culture shock, please do this. We are living in the digital age; you can have access to abundant sources of information. Go over them and prepare yourself. However, make sure it’s not just about the country; but also about you and your adaptability. How far are you ready to go to know different cultures, ideas, and people?
Do not overestimate or underestimate your abilities. Studying abroad is a big step; before jumping to the conclusion, ask yourself these questions: Am I strong enough to be away from my family and country? What about my mental health, Can I manage to study and live alone?
Finally, make your decision; no one knows you better than yourself.
Live your dreams. Life is short.