Just a week ago, I landed to a whole new world, that is Madrid, Spain. The travel to get here was an upside down, thrilling rollercoaster ride inside my stomach. Nine hours of direct flight from Texas across the Atlantic Ocean to where I am now still blows my mind. Now being here for almost two weeks, I find it amazing on how everything has fallen into place. All of last semester there was so much planning, documents, meetings and random check-ups in order to make this study abroad experience a reality. So this blog if anything will give you steps on how to have a smooth application process.
1. Goals ?!
First and foremost before you decide on what country you want to study in, please note your end goals of this lifetime opportunity. Do you want to learn a new language or perhaps fulfill a major or minor requirement? Do you want to attain an internship or just want to have fun? Keeping your goals in mind will be your motivation throughout the whole application process and even abroad, so please keep this thought with you.
Now that you have your goals in place, what country will be perfect to fulfill them? Let’s say you are an engineering major and there’s only a handful of places that your school allows you take courses; from there you can narrow it down. Keep in mind your goals and intentions. What other things can you use to narrow your choices down? Think of language and cultural immersion. Think of living situations and any political issues as well.
Often times what keeps lots of students back is the mullah aka money that will be spent abroad. However, there are so many opportunities that students overlook while planning to study abroad. The amount of scholarships I ran into was ridiculous. Either your university/college, study abroad program and other organizations offer students scholarships to study abroad. There are plenty of scholarships according to your major, study of a critical language, first generation and etc. Aside from that, there are applications that you can download from the Application store in your phone that can help you as well. One of my favorites is Mint which organizes your spending habits and helps show/limit them.
4. Take a breather!
Remember that these essays and documents might be tedious, but remember the end goal! There’s so many reasons that can hold you back, but don’t let the stress or nerves get to you. Your support system will be there for you and trust your instincts that everything would work out!