We have just finished Expo Estudiante fairs in Latin-America and you still do not know how you are going to start your adventure of studying abroad? Here we give you some recommendations with a view of staying:
1. Plan ahead: Leaving everything to the last minute seems to be inherent in our Latin culture, nevertheless is not the best. Think about having everything planned 10 months in advance the departure in order to face any eventuality. Find out about the requirements you must meet to join the program you want like documentation and remember the visa process varies from country to country and may be one of the most common headaches due to the time it takes from the application point until the visa approval.
2. Decide the destination and purpose of your trip: If you have a good understanding of English, you can choose non-traditional destinations such as Malta, South Africa, Ireland or New Zealand. Whatever you are thinking on studying an undergraduate program or a master, it will be a good idea to strengthen your language skills with a specific course to learn the academic and technical language you will be using. Think what’s more important for you, the destination or the institution, and according to your priorities choose most suitable option.
3. Choose the appropriate program: If you want to travel and go sightseeing while studying, also contemplate an alternative leisure activity you can do without risking your academic performance, or on the other hand, consider an intensive course that will allow you to reach the learning objectives in the shortest time possible. How much money and time do you have? What is your main purpose? What dates can you travel on? Where would you stay in? Prioritize and be very clear on what you want.
4. Find your own sources of information: Try to contact someone who has lived in the country and who can give you a first handed opinion, get their valuable and helpful advice, especially if you are not sure about your choice yet. Not always the best advice is on travel guides. Take some time to find out about the region, its activities, transport facilities, costs, customs, celebrations, and plan your holidays, budget and even academic activities beforehand.
5. Sometimes cheap is expensive: Try to choose a recognized institution, as they can offer you better support during the application process and better chances for the approval of your visa. Research well and do not allow that because of trying to save a few dollars, you end up losing your entire investment and dream.
6. Documentation: From the moment you apply at the embassy for your student visa, you must bring all your documentation the way they demand it. Do not forget the letter of acceptance, probe of income or official results of language tests as TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, if applicable. Bear in mind to have a valid health insurance, check the expiry date of your passport, vaccination requirements, official translations, bank letters, etc. Remember also that your flight tickets or booking must match your curriculum dates. Revise the Embassy website regularly for last minute changes.
Visa appointments are not assigned all the time, so be cautious not to leave this for the last minute; both, because of the process of appointment allocation, and also because of processing timings once you have attended the appointment.
7. And finally ... Pack!: If you are granted the visa be careful not to leave the documents at home in a hurry to pack the suitcase, risking an early and unexpected return. Keep all your documents with you because at the airport the immigration officer could ask you for them.