Sam (Business Management and Marketing) and Louisa (History and Psychology) share their top 5 tips for preparing and applying for international study placements.
1. Start researching early
Give yourself time to research all the opportunities available to you. Being proactive and approaching every phase of the application enthusiastically is key as leaving everything until the last minute or believing you can ‘go with the flow’ can leave you to come unstuck later down the line. Many timelines are out of your control and rely on other people to complete (e.g. visa application, provisional modules, medical forms) and missing these deadlines can mean you are unable to go. Getting organised, being proactive and keeping a reminder of your deadlines will help you keep the process as stress-free as possible!
2. What is your motivation?
Knowing your reasons for going abroad is one of the best ways to help decide which placement is right for you and which locations to choose. Do you want to immerse yourself into a new culture? Do you want to improve your language ability? Are you looking to study something that excites you? When you know your motivations, it will become clearer which type of placement will be best suited to you and you can then start to think about which locations you might want to apply to.
3. What type of location do you want to go to?
Once you know how long you want to go for, you need to think about where you want to be. Remember, you could be living at your destination university for up to a year, so you need to think about choosing somewhere you can see yourself being for your chosen duration. You have already done this when thinking about universities in the UK, so you just need to think about these again! Do you want a smaller campus university like Keele, or a bigger university with a much larger student population? Do you want to be in a city or a more rural location? What climate suits you best and what can you do in the surrounding area? Once you know your criteria for a destination university, it becomes a lot easier to narrow your search.
4. Seek advice and guidance
Get as much help as you can in your preparations to understand what your placement might be like. Whether it’s the Global Opportunities drop-in sessions, speaking with peer advisors or looking at the personal accounts of students who have done this before, seeking out advice and guidance from as many places as you can helps you really envision what it would be like to live there, as well as give you some local knowledge in advance.
5. Stay excited!
It’s a stressful process, but it should never feel like the work is not worth the reward. If you’re stressed look at pictures and videos to motivate yourself, you won’t regret it! Relax. I didn’t get my first choice university, but I truly could not have asked for a better experience abroad. Everything will work out and who knows, you might just end up somewhere so unexpectedly perfect for you.