Study abroad is an amazing opportunity, which most universities in Ireland offer to their students. Generally, it is done during your third year of university. Whether you’re just starting college or you’ll be applying this year, it’s good to know what to do if you’re considering going abroad.
Find out your course options
The first thing you should do if considering a year abroad is look at the options available to you with the course you’re doing. Some courses, like math or science, can be restricted in terms of what you’re allowed to study and where you can go, while other courses are more open. If there’s a restriction in your course, find out what universities are open to you, and work from there.
Visit the International Office website
Once you know what your options are, you can start looking into where to go. The best place to start is the international office website where you should find a list of all the countries and universities your college is linked to. Start narrowing down the places you’d like to go, remembering to look into whether or not they offer the course you’re studying.
Talk to the International Office
Every University has an international office that is more than happy to talk to students that are considering doing a year abroad. Visit them or send them an email with general questions, or if you’re very sure of where you’d like to go, arrange to meet the coordinator for that area to ask more specific questions.
To Erasmus or not to Erasmus?
In Ireland, we have the option of Erasmus+, which is a EU educational exchange programme encouraging students in EU countries to visit other European countries on their exchange. As an Erasmus exchange student you would qualify for a small mobility grant which would go toward your travel costs. However, if you don’t want to go to a European country for your exchange, there are always options outside of the EU, but they won’t be part of the Erasmus+ programme.
Go to the International Fair
Most universities hold an international fair during the year where you can speak to students who have returned from their year abroad or who are currently studying at your university as part of their year abroad and look into the different countries and universities on offer. You should also be able to talk to the people who work at the international office. This is a great opportunity, as you will get to meet people who have been through the process before.
Apply on time
Make sure you know what you need to provide for your application and get it in on time. Remember if you’re going to a country outside the EU, you’ll need a study permit and possibly other documents before you can go to that country. This is really important, because if you don’t give yourself enough time for your permit to be processed, you could end up arriving late or not going at all.
Once you know you’re going to study abroad, it’s best to start saving straight away. While you’re there, you’ll want to go on trips, go to events and generally make the most of your experience, and more often than not, that all costs money.
Find out more about Hannah’s study abroad experience at byrnewithme.blogspot.ie.