q How to Pick a Study Destination | JM

How to Pick a Study Destination

Graphics and Words by Caitlin Chuah

So, your parents just gave you the green light to study abroad…but now comes the big question: which country to pick? Choosing a country to study abroad in is a big life decision, as it determines the next 3-5 years of your life. But fret not, because we’ve got you covered with a list of deciding factors to help you pick the most suitable study destination for you!

Course Availability

The first and most important factor is course availability. You need to ensure that the course you want is available in your chosen country and will provide you with the needed qualifications for you to practice it globally. It’s important to note that in some countries, the course you may want to pursue will not give you the qualifications you need to work back in Malaysia. For example, you won’t be able to work as a lawyer in Malaysia if you study Law in the United States. This is due to different curriculums and government regulations. Thus, do thorough research on the modules, programme, entry requirements and employment prospects offered for your preferred subject.

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Budget and Finances

It is considerably more expensive to study in certain countries compared to others. Research extensively on the tuition fees of the universities that you are thinking of applying to. Also, keep in mind that living costs are not only higher in some countries, but living in a large city would cost more than a small town. For example, the costs of living, such as rent and transport, would be higher in London compared to Nottingham.

To combat this, find out which scholarships or tuition grants you are eligible for. However, keep in mind that scholarships offered to international students are very limited in most places.

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Employment Opportunities

Regardless of whether you’re planning to stay overseas after completing your degree or returning home, there’s no harm in researching the career opportunities in different countries.

Take a look at the graduate employment rate for your preferred subject and explore the industries you could apply your skills in. Many students who plan to return home after their studies end up prolonging their stay and working abroad, due to better prospects and opportunities.

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Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn a new language. However, immersing yourself in a new environment with no native language skills will be challenging. Thus, consider choosing a destination where you are already familiar with the local language. This will greatly ease your time there and help prevent the negative effects of culture shock.

Additionally, certain countries and universities have language proficiency requirements for international students. Hence, you might have to take a language proficiency test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS, as part of your application.

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Culture and Environment

Studying abroad will undoubtedly expand your worldview, but some countries’ social, cultural and political values may be different from your own. For instance, the rights of women, ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community vary hugely across the globe.

Furthermore, the language, culture, food and everyday life may also be different. Hence, consider researching these aspects of the country so that you can make an informed decision and know what to expect when you arrive. However, as long as you feel safe and comfortable, no destination is off-limits.

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With that, we wish you luck and lots of happy memories as you embark on this next chapter of your life. Happy study destination-hunting!

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding your tertiary education, feel free to contact us. Our services include: education and career counselling, assistance in college/university applications, student visa application, arranging accommodation and more!

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Let us help you get into your dream institution.

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