Manimegalai Samidurai

Updated on 24-05-2023


How to study abroad

How to study abroad

Studying abroad offers a lot of benefits for the international student community. The advantages range from getting a chance to meet other cultures and ethnicities, experiencing a different life first-hand, becoming a global citizen, achieving better personal development, to exploring new and advanced research opportunities. 

With all the benefits in place, you can choose some of the most popular countries to study abroad. The 12 best countries for overseas education for every international student are - Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, France, USA, UK, Norway, Italy, New Zealand, Ireland, and the Netherlands. 

Let’s get started with how to study abroad in the above countries, and how to plan in general for a degree abroad. We’ll tell you step-by-step how to go about the entire journey of making it from your native country to a university in a foregin country. 

Eight easy ways to study abroad 

There are several ways one can study abroad. You can choose to apply directly to a university or college abroad. You may also apply through a well-known study abroad consultant like Kanan International, where you have the advantage of shortlisting and applying to many universities and colleges. 

We’ve listed here 8 ways to make a plan to study overseas -

1. Get admission to a university abroad directly 

Often the simplest way to study abroad is to apply directly to a college or university through its website. This way you get to know and keep yourself updated with the university information. 

Steps to apply to a university abroad directly:

  1. Choose which programme you want to apply for.
  2. Choose the course you are interested in; sometimes you can apply for multiple courses depending upon your expertise and interests.
  3. Prepare for language tests like TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. 
  4. If there is a need to crack the GRE or GMAT, go for it.
  5. Get a good letter of recommendation [in case it’s required], and also get a good statement of purpose [SOP] done. 
  6. Apply online using the online application forms.
  7. Choose your preferred intake of admission.
  8. Plan your budget to study abroad.
  9. Get all your documents ready.
  10. Apply for a student visa and attend a visa interview in your home country.

2. Get admitted to a foreign university via student exchange programs 

Student exchange programmes are common. Students from different universities around the world swap places to learn more about their field of study. These programmes are mostly for shorter durations, but they may leave a long-lasting impression upon you.

Student exchange programmes are great ways to immerse yourself culturally. Many high schools offer the opportunity of short-term exchange programmes, whereas some universities have mandatory exchange programmes for research purposes.

8 ways to study abroad

3. Study overseas with the help of study abroad consultancies 

A very common and less stressful way of studying abroad is to apply through an overseas educational consultancy like Kanan. At Kanan International, when you register with us, you’ll find a host of services to help you plan your study overseas journey.

For instance, we have dedicated IELTS trainers and visa experts. We also have counsellors to help you shortlist colleges and also find you scholarships or other sources to fund your education.

Steps to study overseas through a study abroad consultancy:

  1. Register
  2. One of the study abroad counsellors will get back to you.
  3. You must tell us why you want to study abroad and which countries and universities you want to apply at.
  4. You must plan your higher education based on your budget.
  5. Our counsellors will help you shortlist universities abroad – in most cases you should apply to at least 5 institutes abroad.
  6. The counsellors will also help you find scholarships and fellowships. 
  7. Our counsellors will tell you about the post-study work options abroad.
  8. You must have a plan in terms of whether or not you want to stay back in the country and look for further opportunities.
  9. Our visa experts will help you apply for student visas; they also take you through visa interviews.
  10. Once you are done with the primary steps, we also brief you on accommodation, health insurance and anything else that comes under pre-departure student services.

4. Study abroad after 12th 

We have seen many of our students wondering ‘How to study abroad after 12th from India?’

Here’s a checklist to help you study overseas after your 12th:

1. Identify which field of study you want to be in: 

It’s easy to get confused with too many choices around us. Sometimes we may think we’re good in a specific field, when there could be other areas equally worth pursuing. 

2. Identify which destination is suitable for you: 

There are several factors one can think of while choosing a country abroad:

  • Stay-back options
  • Research scope
  • Job opportunities
  • Climate and culture
  • Budget 
  • Standard of living

3. Identify which university or college is a best match for you: 

Don’t shortlist and apply to an institute because you know it’s popular, or because you have heard a lot about it from your peers. Take a decision based on what your career goals are. Another major mistake that study abroad aspirants make is not giving themselves enough time to find a university. 

How to find the right university abroad:

  • Check for global rankings such as QS rankings. 
  • Check out for university infrastructure, faculty, and the department you’re interested in.
  • Try to find research opportunities at the institute; if possible, look for funding options associated with your field of study at the same institute.
  • Often many students look for an international student community on campus. Our advice is don’t base your study abroad decision on that factor alone.
  • Look for job opportunities in your field of education. The best way to find it would be to check the student employable ratio.
  • Check out the university affiliation. Affiliation makes an impact on the degree granted to you. 
  • Also check for the type of courses the universities have; the larger the variation in courses, the better. 

4. Shortlist and apply: 

Once you find the best match for yourself, go ahead and apply to the university. You must keep all documents handy while applying. 

5. Take up exams: 

After 12th, ideally, all study abroad aspirants take up either IELTS or TOEFL along with some other standardised tests like GRE or SAT for their studies abroad. Find out which is recommended for your programme abroad. Once you figure that out, it’s time to take up the exam suited to your profile. 

6. Apply for a student visa: 

The last and the most important step in a study abroad journey is to apply for a student visa. At Kanan, we have dedicated visa advisors to do that job for you; we also tell you the nuances of a visa interview and how you can crack it.

How to study abroad after 12th for free?

Germany and many Nordic countries support international students’ education for free. Mostly, the public colleges and universities offer education for free or at a low cost. 

Most of the German public universities have zero undergraduate tuition fees. However, a small fee is charged, around €150-250, to take care of the administration charges. Norway is yet another country where you can study for free. But, in certain cases, you may have to pick the Norwegian language to study some UG programmes in Norway. 

Denmark, Sweden and Finland, on the other hand, have fully funded PhD programmes. Also, many masters programmes are on offer for free in these countries, but may require you to learn Swedish or other additional languages for that. 

5. Enroll with language schools abroad 

Another great way to look for study opportunities abroad is to enroll yourself with language schools abroad. Most of the language schools abroad offer 1-year courses on various regional and global languages, such as Japanese, Spanish, Italian, French, and German. 

These schools are good avenues for adult learners to make career transitions or simply enhance their skills for personal and professional reasons. 

6. Study abroad through your university for course credits 

Internships abroad for course credits are also other ways to study overseas. Many colleges and universities have internships as part of their curricula, wherein you can choose to work in another country for additional credits. Most of these internships are unpaid, and they need commitment from international students for a short time. 

7. Study abroad with scholarships and grants 

Several country-specific and university-specific scholarships are available for students all over the world. Besides, there are course-specific scholarships, ethnicity- and community-specific scholarships, and merit-based scholarships available for Indian students abroad. 

Check out the scholarships you can apply for your abroad studies [also after 12th]:

  • TATA Scholarships
  • Inlaks Scholarships
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship
  • Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowships
  • The Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarship
  • Leverage Edu Scholarship
  • JN Tata Endowment Scholarship
  • National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic
  • MEXT Scholarship for Japan
  • Rutherford International Fellowship Program
  • Erasmus scholarship 
  • Chevening Scholarship

Scholarships in the USA

  • Fulbright Scholarship
  • Yale Silver Scholar Program
  • Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarship
  • Gates Millennium Scholarship
  • Harvard Scholarship
  • Ratan Tata Scholarship for Engineering Students
  • AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship Award
  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students
  • The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme
  • The Indian Trust Fellowship
  • American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship
  • Tata Scholarships for Cornell University

Scholarships in Canada

  • Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowships
  • President Scholarship in Canada
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships 
  • University of Waterloo International Master’s and Doctoral Awards
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship
  • University of Calgary Graduate Awards and Scholarships
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship
  • UBC Graduate Global Leadership Fellowships 
  • Trudeau Foundation Scholarships

Scholarships in Australia

  • Undergraduate Academic Excellence International Scholarship in Australia
  • UNSW International Scholarships
  • Dr. Abdul Kalam International Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor’s International High Achievers Scholarships
  • Flinders International Postgraduate Scholarships
  • Adelaide Global Excellence Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships in New Zealand 

  • New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships 2023
  • New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS)
  • Victoria Master’s Scholarship
  • A C Rayner Memorial Scholarship
  • SEG Scholarship
  • The Eamon Molloy Memorial Scholarship

8. Study at global institutions online 

With the discovery of MOOCs [massive open online courses], we have come quite far with the concept of online learning. Many universities and colleges abroad have embraced the idea of granting degrees through online courses. Also, with the ongoing pandemic, institutes have hardly any choice to look another way. 

Although there are many advantages of learning online from a distant place, a major disadvantage could be not feeling part of the student community or not being able to get a sense of direction. However, with the rapid use of technology, there are ways to bridge that gap that you may face. 

What can I study abroad? 

What can I study abroad after 12th or after college? Is that what you’re thinking of now?

A vast majority of students often wonder what are the courses and programmes one can choose to study abroad. There are enumerable options to study abroad. From undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma, PhD to short-term courses, there are countless study abroad programs one can look for. 

If you are looking for admissions immediately after your school or college, the ideal thing to do is to go for undergraduate or integrated programmes, which usually last for 4 or 5 years. A masters or postgraduate program abroad is for those who want to get a higher degree after bachelors. It typically lasts for 1 or 2 years.

A PhD abroad will take somewhere around 3 years to 7 years. It depends on the field of study, the country where you work, and the amount of work you need to do. You can go through this complete guide for study abroad from India for much more details. 

How to decide which programme to study abroad? 

To understand which programme abroad suits you the best, you must ask the following questions -

  1. What is it that you’re looking for after your studies?
  2. Are you planning to stay back in the country where you want to study?
  3. Do you need a masters degree with job opportunities?
  4. Are you looking at a career in research; if so, do you need a PhD after your masters?

Most importantly, the budget to study overseas plays a big role in helping you decide on a programme of your choice. The country you decide to study in also plays a big role in setting a budget. There are affordable places to study abroad, where you can enjoy a decent academic and personal life, with plenty of opportunities and options to save money as well as earn money part-time. 

Eligibility for studying abroad 

Am I eligible to study abroad? We often hear this question from the students who visit our offices. Before you decide on your study opportunities abroad, please see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Every university or college abroad specifies their admission requirements on its website for international students. If you’re not sure where to start, you can check with a study abroad expert at Kanan International.

Our study abroad experts know exactly which universities and destinations would match your profile. They will help you shortlist and apply based on your academic preferences.

In general, the eligibility criteria remain the same across different countries, and look like this -

  • You must complete a high school degree or a higher degree, from any affiliated institute. 
  • You should demonstrate a good academic record.
  • Also, you must demonstrate good academic achievement - especially, in the field you’re passionate about.
  • You must clear exams like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT and SAT - each of the exams have minimum bands or scores that you need to aim at.
  • You must be able to communicate well - reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Have all your documents, such as transcripts, letter of recommendation, essays and statement of purpose, ready before you hit the apply button.
  • You must be well-prepared for the student visa interview.
  • If you’re looking at part-time work options while studying abroad, check if you have the work rights.
  • If you want to work after your studies, check if you’re eligible to do so. This is purely based on the country you apply to.

How to plan your study abroad? 

Having a plan to study abroad will help you avoid last-minute changes. It will also help you prevent yourself from getting disappointed if you lose one opportunity. The plans vary based on the countries, courses, and programmes you apply for. Moreover, it’s better to keep your plans flexible so that you can switch between options easily. 

Some of the key points that should be factored in while making a plan to study abroad:

how to plan your study abroad? 

1. Choose your preferred study abroad destination 

When one thinks of studying abroad, the first country that often comes to the mind is the USA. But, there are so many other countries that one can think of ranging from European to Scandinavian, besides the USA, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Finland, and Singapore. 

When you narrow down on a country to study abroad, you must look for the following:

  • Is the country doing economically well?
  • Are there enough research avenues?
  • Are there any stay-back options or flexible options to remain in the country to look for a job?
  • Does the country allow you to work after your graduation?
  • What’s the employment rate?
  • Is the country biased against people from other countries? This is another way of judging the safety aspects of a country abroad.

2. Choose your intake 

All universities abroad give you the option to apply for 2 different intakes - spring and fall. Typically, the fall intake begins in September and ends in December, whereas the spring intake starts from January and ends in May. Some universities also have a special intake called summer, which begins around April, each year. 

You must know which intake suits you best. For instance, if you are a college graduate of 2023, you may want to enrol for the immediate intake abroad, which is, mostly, the fall intake. However, if you feel that you need some time to arrange money and prepare for exams to study abroad, then the spring intake could be more suitable for you. 

3. Choose the course and the programme 

Over thousands of courses are on offer for international students across universities. However, certain countries are better funded when it comes to a specific stream.

For instance, the USA, Singapore, France, and Germany are well known for their life sciences research and development. On the other hand, Ireland is well known for its Big Tech and tech-oriented research.

When you choose a course abroad, check out the scope and opportunities associated with it.  Also, please find out if the programme that you want to pursue gives you the chance to work afterwards.

If you’re unsure about the part-time and full-time work avenues connected to your programme, check with the admissions team of your institute. This is because every country or university will have their own laws about international student employment.  

4. Get advice 

It’s not always easy to take care of the entire study abroad application process single handedly. It may get quite challenging, and also frustrating. Seek advice from someone who you think can guide you in the right direction.

At Kanan, you’ll receive the much-needed support for your overseas education. We have dedicated trainers for all the language exams that one must take for abroad studies; these include IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.

Our experts also take you through the process of shortlisting and filing applications, on your behalf. What’s more, you get to explore a lot of opportunities in terms of budget-friendly countries for education abroad, scholarships that match your profile, and so on. 

5. Take entrance exams  

One of the major steps to overseas education is to first qualify certain exams to study abroad, such as IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT and PTE. These exams are categorised into 2: language exams and standardised exams.

You must figure out which exams you need to crack, and how much you need to score to be eligible for filing your applications. Most of the English-speaking countries need study abroad aspirants to qualify IELTS and TOEFL.

On the other hand, to study in Australia, you may need to crack tests like PTE, which is another common standard English test for international student admissions. Exams like GRE and GMAT are meant for different purposes. While GRE is for admissions to graduate schools, GMAT is for admissions to business and management schools. 

6. Apply 

The step where many things can go wrong is the application step. You need presence of mind, and also must stay aware of what follows after you hit the application button. Typically, you can file more than 3 applications.

This is done to minimise your chances of losing an opportunity. Please note that not all universities and countries you apply to will be open to give you an acceptance letter.

Seeking help to file applications through a study abroad counsellor may make it less stressful for you. Our study abroad experts at Kanan ensure your applications are filed correctly and on time. You are also kept informed about the status of applications made. 

7. Look for other opportunities 

When you think of getting a degree overseas, you must also think about the outcome. What value would be adding to your profile? Do you get to work abroad after graduating? What would be your return on investment?

Making a plan without thinking of the ROI makes little sense. Look for opportunities such as post-study work options, research scope, funded areas where you can work, permanent resident programmes, etc. 

8. Fund your studies 

Think about how you would fund your studies abroad. Do you have a sponsor to support you? Do you need to apply for a loan? How would you repay the loan if you take it? An education loan should not be an additional burden for you. Our counsellors can help you find scholarships, and also suggest other ways to manage study abroad finances.  

9. Apply for visas and attend visa interviews 

Apply for student visas, and apply on time. Also, it’s not a wise idea to remain unprepared for your visa interviews. Our visa experts support students with a mock visa interview process. They also help file visas on your behalf. You are kept informed about the documents that you must furnish, and which countries have student friendly visa policies. 

10. Attend a pre-departure session 

Every study abroad journey is incomplete without planning where would you stay, what is the health insurance you must take, how to exchange money, what are the commuting options abroad, and what would you eat. All these are collectively called pre-departure assistance or information that every student should be aware of. 

Kanan International conducts pre-departure sessions. In these sessions, students can interact with university representatives. They get to know about the basics of managing in a foregin country, in addition to knowing about higher education.

Requirements for studying abroad 

By requirements we mean documents that every study abroad aspirant must have. Major documents that you’ll need in order to apply to universities abroad include:

1. Application Form

The first and most crucial part of the study abroad process is to get your applications done. Your application form has all your personal and professional details, the exams you have qualified, and the programme abroad you have applied for.

It has to be submitted in time, and with correct information. When you sign up with Kanan, you get to know how the entire application process works. Our counsellors can shortlist and file applications on your behalf and also keep you informed about the status of your admission. 

2. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

SOP is an important part of your application process. It’s an essay wherein you state your reasons to pursue your program and what your goals are. You must take your time to write an effective copy of an SOP, and spend a lot of time further proofreading it. A well-crafted SOP will help you bag an admission letter since it reflects who you are, whereas a sloppy SOP may get you rejected. Thus, you should invest time, and if needed money, to create a well-written essay. 

3. Transcripts 

Transcripts are academic records, which are available from your respective university or school or college in your home country. All transcripts show your grades, credits and the degree that you have received.

4. Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

An academic letter of recommendation or LOR speaks about your skills, achievements, and experience. It’s mostly written by an employer or a manager with whom you have worked. An LOR particularly helps if you have considerable work experience prior to applying for your higher education.

requirements for studying abroad 

5. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

You definitely need a CV or a resume, when you submit your applications abroad. Always keep your resume shorter and have important details mentioned in it. Also, please proofread the draft using someone who can edit the copy well, before you send it over to a university.

6. Test Scores

Your test scores directly reflect how serious you are about your studies abroad. Your scores should be sent to the university you apply at. Most countries and institutions demand your English language proficiency test scores like the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.

This is because these exams validate your reading, speaking and writing skills in English, and how good a communicator you’re. Besides the English language tests, you must check if you need to crack exams like SAT, GRE, and GMAT - which are all meant for testing your knowledge in specific fields of study. 

Additional documents you need to study overseas 

  1. Travel documents - all documents related to your travel, such as passport, visa, student Id card, and the college acceptance offer should be kept handy.
  2. Passport-size photographs - you must have the right size photographs with you because some admissions departments and visa departments may be a little particular on that. 
  3. Financial documents - any student loan proof, scholarship proof, or sponsorship proof should be useful in this category.
  4. Health certificates - health insurance for international students is a must in some countries abroad. Please check if your university wants you to have one and if they need a vaccination certificate from you as well. 


Do the above steps for studying overseas make your life easy? You can reach out to the counsellors of Kanan International for further assistance. They will help you one-on-one with everything needed to get a degree overseas. Our study abroad experts can sort your application process, find you scholarships, prepare you for exams, and also arrange for your study visas. Sign up with us for more information and student services. 



About Author Manimegalai Samidurai

Manimegalai is a multifaceted professional, excelling as an author, writer, and study-abroad expert. Her vast knowledge of English proficiency exams, including IELTS, GRE, SAT, and PTE, and exceptional content writing skills make her a go-to resource for students seeking guidance and support in their foreign education journey. She is a trusted authority in writing content related to these test-prep exams, making her an invaluable resource for those seeking guidance. With her well-researched and informative blogs, articles, and study materials, Manimegalai has helped countless students achieve their desired band scores and get admissions to top-notch colleges & universities in countries like Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Ireland, etc. 

More Articles Post by Manimegalai Samidurai

Kanan International is an IRCC-certified study abroad consultancy that offers reliable services, products, and solutions for students and education institutions. We support students throughout their study abroad journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence make us the go-to partner for expanding global horizons. The company provides coaching for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, and SAT exams and services like visa consultation, accommodation, scholarship assistance, and education loans.

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