How to Choose a Study Abroad Country

Written by  August 11, 2014

Four questions to help you choose the perfect destination for higher learning.

So you have decided you want to go on a student exchange! Excellent! But where to? Some people have always dreamed of a particular place but for others, picking your destination can be a daunting task. However, do not fear!

Here are a few questions that should help your quest:

Question 1 – Do you want to go to an English speaking country?

This is a biggie. In fact it was my deal breaker; I did not think I could handle a new country and new life with a language barrier on top of that. However, if this is you, your choices are not limited. You could end up in Australia or the UK and let’s face it, some of those accents sound like different languages.

If you’re totally cool with learning a new language (props to you!) your choices are pretty broad. Some universities teach classes in English or for some destinations it is total language immersion.

Question 2- Is there a particular place that could really help your degree?

What I mean by this is that there might be a particular destination that could enhance your degree or work experience over another. For example, I chose to go to England as I study history with an interest in British history. Therefore it makes sense for me to study abroad there.
So really think about what correlates with your degree. Also, if you study something really obscure, you need to make sure the university you want to go to actually teaches your subject.

Question 3- Big city life?

Thinking about what sort of environment you want to live and study in always influences your decision. The University of Auckland is pretty entwined in the city and we often take having all those opportunities at your fingertips for granted.

Certain things such as concert arenas, shopping malls, the theatre and my personal favourite sparkly lights might not be so easy to get to. So if you love city life there is many universities on the exchange list that would allow you to live in a city, many—ok well all of them—bigger than Auckland. However, living in a city means you’re going to need more money to get by, so that might also influence your decision.

Question 4 - Do you want to travel while on exchange?

The location of your chosen destination influences your ability to travel to other countries. Go anywhere in the UK and you have Europe on your doorstep. Or Singapore? And you can explore most of Asia within pretty easy distance. So think about if travelling outside of your host country is also something you want to do.

So these are a few things that influenced my destination choice for my exchange. There are so many choices to think about so really take the time to research and choose carefully. The country you pick will be your home for six months to a year so it has to be special to you.

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Hannah Pym

Hannah Pym is an student in Norwich, England on exchange from the University of Auckland. Born in New Zealand, Hannah spent her teenage years in Australia. She is completing her undergraduate degree in English and History.

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