Twelve important questions to answer before travelling to study abroad
Twelve important questions to answer before travelling to study abroad
Studying abroad is one of the best means for a parent to secure a better professional career for their children. However, in recent years, the phenomenon in Africa has been characterised by fraud and senseless travels from students. Researchers have identified one of the major problems affecting the good essence of traveling to study abroad to be lack of proper and credible orientation for both parents and students.
To better this situation, seasoned educationists in Africa have decided to engage into mass campaign of sensitizing and orienting Africans on the real stakes involved in travelling to study abroad. One of these credible actors is Cameroonian born Innocent Fasse, PhD. Mr Fasse is a Senior Lecturer-Translator, Head of the Translation Unit, University of Douala and Vice-President of Central African Sub-region of RAIFFET. In this exclusive article to munang.net the meticulous academician outlines and explains twelve important questions to answer before travelling to study abroad
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Twelve important questions to answer before travelling to study abroa
- Why should I study abroad?
Generally, many reasons urge people to decide to pursue their studies abroad:
- By imitation or just to follow fashion (Some friends or relatives did it earlier or will do it later)
- Because my parents decided it that way
- Because I have been offered a scholarship
- To join my family abroad
- To take a training in a field of study unavailable or partially available in the country
The first two reasons should be avoided because they will make your project hard to defend to have admission or visa and even when you do succeed, you run a high risk to carry out fruitless expenditures that you will regret in your life later. But if it is actually the case, you must get in touch with a consultant who will help you find out whether you really need to pursue your studies abroad as others do or not, and whether you meet the requirements.
The last three are plausible and one should then build his/her project very well by clearly showing the benefit of that investment which can often be very expensive for your parents. Of course, if it is a scholarship, its programme gives you valuable reasons and very often, you do not even need to justify your project in front of consular authorities to get your visa.
- What studies should I choose to be credible?
The choice of the type of studies you choose to undergo abroad is fundamental to the success of your travel project.
In fact, going abroad is very expensive unless it is for a family reunion; so, it must be a fruitful investment. Then, you should choose a branch of studies that will makes you suitable for the job market in your host country as well as in your home country. In fact, in almost all cases, you are delivered a visa to study abroad in order to come back home and help your country with the new skills developed. Besides, visas are often granted to students only if you can show how at your return, you will be more useful to your home country as a result of your studies. Furthermore, you must know whether you meet the academic requirements (my averages in high school or at the university) as well as personal requirements (age and marital status) to be accepted in the type of training you are choosing.
- Where should I go ?
An appropriate answer to that question should be built up on answers to a series of other essential questions as presented below:
- Is the training I want to take available in that country? If yes, is it offered in better conditions than in my home country?
- Can my parents afford the living costs as well as tuition fees in that country?
- Do I need to pass languages tests? If yes, which tests and for how much?
- What are the financial facilities (credit, progress payment of tuition…) as well as working facilities (student jobs) granted to overseas students in that country?
- Do I qualify to get a visa for that country?
- Is social integration easy for overseas students in that country?
- Do we success stories or testimonies of compatriots who have been in that country before?
- Am I old enough to be eligible to get my visa?
This question may sound trivial but is crucial for some visas. Many countries demand a minimum of 18 years of age to get a student visa. If not, the student must have a guarantor under the conditions set by the target country. It is thus very necessary to check.
- What are the documents required for an admission?
It is necessary to know and in time the documents required for admission and for the visa as well. Certain things cannot be achieved in a few days, namely the organization of the financial resources of your parents or sponsor so as to make them traceable. This cannot be done in a snap of a finger. Your consultant should inform you in time. That is the reason you must always start your project on time and anticipate everything. Some countries demand the originals of your certificates and other personal documents as well and hold them for months as it is the case with Belgium. You should anticipate so as not to miss other opportunities because your documents are inaccessible
- How long does it take to get an admission?
It is quite necessary to get a precise response to this question before launching the process. You risk spending time, energy and even money just to run behind schedule for any admission possibility or visa.
- Should I have my documents translated?
Always check this information and if it is required, always verify whether the consulate itself doesn’t have a list of translators and certified translation offices. Generally, if your university can make the translation itself, it is all the more credible?
- What is my professional project?
Indeed, the professional project is a key element not only for getting an admission in good schools or universities but also for getting a student visa. In fact, studies are meant for a career. Consequently, it is necessary that the training that pushes you to apply for a visa corresponds to a clear, precise and well-matched project. Your consultant will help to build it and if you are full of doubt, undergoing a professional intend test in our orientation clinic will help you to find your way.
- How long do I have at the end my studies to change status and come back home?
This question is crucial but in their enthusiasm, young people quite often forget about it. Each country follows its own immigration policy and you must know about your case. For example, in France we are granted 6 months renewable once (it is better to know the conditions attached to it). Germany offers up to 18 months for graduates to either get a work contract or go back to their home country.
- Does the school I have chosen have sufficient official recognition in the country to guarantee my visa?
Many schools with very nice pictures and videos on the Internet have no official recognition in their country and therefore their admission letter can rarely secure you a visa. Your consultant should enlighten you on this or you try and meet the educational/cultural attaché of the embassy of the country where you are going. Sometimes embassy websites can already list out recognized schools.
- Do I have enough financial guarantees to start the proceeding?
To travel abroad is a project that is often very expensive. So, it is necessary to know in detail how much it costs for admission and for the visa and travel as well. How much do we need to settle down? When can you start working (if you have the right to do so) and what is the average salary you may earn? What are the financial guarantees that the guarantor must provide for the visa? Must the guarantor be a member of my family? How can I prove it? Your consultant should be able to answer all these questions.
- Can I legally work in my host country to pay my school fees or cut down expenditure from my parents and or sponsors?
Not all student visas entitle the holder to a job permit in the host country. And again, when your visa does authorize you to work, you should know how many hours per week/month and the average hourly pay.
When you have answered all the 12 questions above, your study abroad project is mature enough to come to fruition.
It will be my utmost joy to accompany you in this journey as I have done so far for the close to 100 students I have accompanied to the best schools in the world. Are you or your child or sibling the next on the list?
Dr Innocent FASSE is a study abroad consultant and a university lecturer at the University of Douala. He is the chief academic mobility consultant for EDUCASSIST, a leading study abroad and academic counselling firm headquartered in Douala , with offices in Yaounde and Lagos. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org