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Everything you need to know about how to study abroad as a South African

study abroad

Ever dreamed of being able to study abroad between the magnificent Gothic spires of Spain or amongst the indie music stores and vintage bookshops of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco? Or maybe you daydream about exploring the Great Barrier Reef while studying marine biology in Australia or spending your time between classes visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris?

University and college are a cradle for education, unforgettable experiences, and revolutionary ideas. But studying abroad offers something even greater – an immersive experience that broadens your horizons and enriches your mind while allowing you to fulfil your academic and travel dreams.

So, wherever your academic interests may lie, this post offers a detailed guide on how it all works, so you can make your fantasies of studying abroad a reality!

What are the benefits of studying abroad?

90% of employers believe those with international accreditation possess desirable traits and skills such as maturity, superior communication skills, flexibility, cross-cultural awareness, and independence.

However, apart from improving your career opportunities and giving you a chance to gain a deeper understanding of how the world works, there are a number of other benefits to studying abroad.

Studying abroad also:

Where is the best place to study abroad?

In a world bursting at the seams with beautiful and interesting places, choosing where to study can be a daunting experience. Luckily, figuring this out usually begins with one simple question, “Where do you want to go?”.

If you enjoy the outdoors, the heavenly landscapes of Canada would provide an idyllic backdrop; while adventure seekers and surfing enthusiasts would find paradise in Portugal. On the other hand, a place like Amsterdam, with its artistic heritage and sexy nightlife, is a utopia for art lovers and party animals.

Once you have decided where you would like to go you will need to consider which city or country will enhance your degree or work experience.

For example, if you want to major in art history it would be better to study in a country with a notable history of art and thriving art culture, such as Italy. However, it is also important to choose a destination that will fit your budget in terms of living expenses (i.e. studying in Europe is significantly more expensive than studying in South America).

Other factors to take into account include language, culture, and climate. If you are a culture vulture and love spicy food and sultry weather, studying in a place like India would be a good fit for you; while South Korea would be a dream destination for aspiring game developers.

Can you study abroad for any major?

Yes. However, as with most universities, your major will determine how long and where you can study.

What are the requirements to study abroad?

Each country, university, and college will have their own set of prerequisites and entry requirements. The application processes and requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees also vary considerably.

Some of the most important exams include the SAT, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL.

If you are considering studying in a country where English is not the spoken language there may be additional language requirements (i.e. some universities in Germany and France only accept students who are fluent in German and French).

You will also need to prove that you are able to support yourself financially while studying. This is especially important if your visa or programme does not allow you to work (i.e. Cambridge University does not allow students to work while studying).

Do you need a student visa to study abroad?

A student visa is required for most countries. The best resource is to consult the embassy website of the country you’re applying to or speak to a student counsellor at your chosen university to find out about visa requirements.

Note: In most cases, you will not be allowed to apply for a student visa until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university or college.

How can I study abroad?

There are several options when it comes to studying abroad: Traditional programmes through your university, third-party providers such as Education USA and Global Education, or direct enrollment through the university overseas.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Although there is no set figure, as costs vary from university to university, estimated costs can be anything from R 14 643 to R 664 740* for a full academic year (tuition only). Of course, these costs can vary dramatically from country to country, as tuition to a college in India would be much lower than tuition at a university in Switzerland.

Is it more expensive to study abroad?

Not necessarily. If you want to study medicine at Columbia University or law at Harvard, it will certainly cost a lot more than studying at UCT or Wits. However, with so many great colleges and universities around the world and a number of funding options, it is possible to study abroad without it costing the earth.

How can you afford to study abroad?

There are several options when it comes to funding your studies abroad. These include student loans, financial aid, bursaries, and scholarships.

How do I get a scholarship to study abroad?

Before applying for a scholarship, you will need to familiarise yourself with the kinds of scholarships that are available:

Note: You will need to offer references and exceptional academic records to qualify for most scholarships.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the different types of scholarships you should find out if the government of your chosen country offers any scholarships or financial support to international students. If this is not an option, find out what scholarships, bursaries, grants, and funding options are available through local organisations, foundations, companies, universities, banks, and private donors.

Here is a list of some of the scholarships that are available for South African students wanting to study abroad:

Explore this list of South African bursaries to find one that suits you!

How can I get a student loan to study abroad?

Nedbank offers student loans to postgraduate students wanting to study abroad.

Can international students apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is usually restricted to programmes in your home country. However, a number of foundations and organisations (public and private) offer financial aid in the form of grants, bursaries, and scholarships to international students.

Where can I study for free?

Note: Many of the courses are taught in the native language of that country, so there may be certain language requirements.

Can I work while studying abroad?

Whether you can work while studying abroad will depend on the limitations of your student visa and any restrictions laid out by your chosen university. Some student visas allow you to work for a certain number of hours per week, but some universities restrict students from working while studying.

How do you go about studying abroad?

But before you jump on a plane bound for a strange and exotic country, it is important to decide if it is the right option for you. Being away from your family, friends, and everything that is familiar to you can be stressful and emotionally taxing and you need to be sure that you will be able to handle the pressure.

If it is for you, studying abroad is a passport to your dreams, so pack your bags, book your student flights, and get ready to experience the adventure of a lifetime!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

*All published prices are subject to change without prior notice.

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

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