study abroad complete guide

Study Abroad: Benefits, Eligibility, Requirements, Best Countries And Complete Guide

What Is Study Abroad?

Study abroad is referred to as an opportunity for students to pursue educational programs in a foreign country. Students enrol in a university per their career goals, attend lectures, conduct research, and complete their education in a foreign country.

Studying abroad can prove to be a very immersive experience for students, and can help develop their personality, understand foreign culture, and their global perspective. 

How To Study Abroad? Detailed Checklist For You

Studying abroad has become fairly common these days, and can be a life-changing experience. The procedure to study abroad may seem difficult, however, if you understand each step of the process, and prepare for everything, you will be able to pursue your goals in a foreign country with ease. 

Here are the steps you need to follow to study in a foreign country: 

1. Choose A Study Program

Choosing a study program is the first and the most important step, where you need to do your research and find programs based on your interest and career goals. In case you’re undecided, you can also consider opting for some of the most popular disciplines such as: 

  • Business and Management
  • Computer Science 
  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • International Relations

As these disciplines are popular and have great opportunities in the industry, you have the potential to earn a considerably good salary. However, considering something based on popularity isn’t always the smartest decision. You should consider going for programs based on your interests and things you enjoy doing. 

2. Decide Where You Want To Study

Deciding where you want to study is highly dependent on the field of study you want to pursue and the budget you are willing to spend to study abroad. Some of the factors that you should consider in your research are: 

  • Do you want to study in a non-English-speaking country? 
  • Do you want to do a part-time job with your studies?
  • Do you prefer a big city or a small town? 
  • Do you want to study in a country close to your home country? 

Considering the above-mentioned factors will help you narrow down your list and make it easier for you to come to a decision. 

3. Apply At Multiple Universities

Depending on your field of study, you should apply to multiple universities, as it increases your chances of getting accepted. Do keep in mind that in some countries the number of universities you are allowed to apply to is limited, so you should send out your applications thoughtfully. 

4. Pass The Required Tests

To study a program in English at a foreign university, you’ll need to get an English language certification to prove your proficiency. Some of the popular certifications that you can get are: 

  • IELTS Academic
  • PTE Academic
  • C1 Advanced

Additionally, you might also need to take other tests as required by the university you are aiming for. 

5. Apply For A Student Visa 

As you complete the required tests, you will need to know about the visa requirements as per the country you want to study. Once you get your admission letter, you can ask for official documents such as the i20, which you will need to apply for a student visa. i20 form is a legal document that proves you are a legitimate student enrolled in a particular institution. 

6. Prepare For Your Study Abroad

Once your student visa application gets approved, you can finally start preparing for your trip to study abroad. Here are some of the things you can do:   

  • If you are travelling to a non-English speaking country, you can start learning the local language
  • Learn about their culture
  • Talk to friends or relatives studying in the same country
  • Try some of the cuisines from the country

These are the most important things you need to know about how to study abroad. Furthermore, you can also research and apply for scholarships, which you can get based on your academic performance or financial needs. 

Benefits Of Studying Abroad

Some of the major benefits of studying abroad are as follows: 

A. Studying abroad provides a cultural experience allowing students to interact and network with people from different backgrounds. While studying abroad, you can learn about different traditions, languages, and perspectives, thereby becoming more aware. 

B. Studying abroad will allow you to access high-quality education, innovative teaching styles, and cutting-edge research facilities along with numerous after-graduation opportunities like internships and high-paying jobs. 

C. It can promote personal growth by encouraging independence in making decisions, self-reliance, and navigating new environments. 

D. You can also learn a foreign language which will enhance your interaction skills in the global job market and give you an edge over other candidates. 

E. You can establish numerous global networks of friends, classmates, and mentors. Building networking with people can lead to everlasting friendships and create future collaboration opportunities across borders. 

Studying abroad is a life-changing event that has a lot of positive effects on your personal, academic, and professional life. It gives students the necessary knowledge and skills they need to be successful in a world that is becoming more and more competitive.

Disadvantages Of Studying Abroad

Some of the potential disadvantages you may face while studying abroad include:

A. Being away from home can lead to a sense of disorientation. Adjusting to new people and new culture can be socially challenging and may require time and effort to adapt. 

B. Language barriers may make it difficult for students to understand lectures and complete the coursework. It can also make social interaction with your peer groups quite challenging. 

C. Studying abroad can be expensive and you need to manage your budget or even take up part-time jobs to accommodate yourself in a foreign country. 

D. Making new friends in a foreign country can be tedious and challenging and you may feel isolated. However, you can overcome this barrier by building connections through study groups and the like.

Types Of Study Abroad Programmes

We have created a simplified table for you to understand the different types of study programs that you can select from – 

Program Type Description
Exchange ProgramsStudents go to a partner school abroad to study while also having exchange students from that school at their home university. It usually goes for 4-6 months.
Direct Enrolment ProgramsStudents can enrol directly into different programs as regular students. It’s mostly a 1 or 2-year program. 
Faculty-Led ProgramShort-term programs led by faculty members, like a course, workshop, or research project, generally have a specific academic focus.
Internships When students combine an internship with schoolwork or a study project in a foreign country, they get real-world work experience.
Language-Related ProgramsPrograms that focus on building language skills and cultural fluency and that help in learning a language in a short amount of time.
ResearchStudents do academic study projects or work with professors or research institutions in other countries.
Volunteer service programs Programs that mix academic work with volunteer or community service to help solve social or environmental problems.

Students studying abroad can improve their academic and cultural skills through these different types of programs. As a student, you can choose the school that fits best with your academic goals and personal interests. 

Study Abroad Requirements: Read This Before You Apply

While these requirements can vary individually, these are some common study abroad requirements:

1. Research And Select A Program

Explore different universities’ official sites that align with your academic goal and personal interests. You can consider factors like duration, location, courses, and cultural immersion. 

2. Academic Eligibility 

This includes GPA, completing prerequisite courses, and meeting language proficiency requirements. 

3. Application Form 

Gather all necessary documents to back up all the data you produce in the application form of the colleges. 

4. Financial Planning 

Set up a budget and try to explore scholarship and grant opportunities to support your financial requirements. 

5. Accommodation Arrangements 

Explore options like student housing, homestays, private rents, and shared stays. Make arrangements in advance for whatever accommodation suits you. 

Documents Required For Studying Abroad

When you apply to study abroad, you will usually need to carry several important papers. Some of them are – 

1. Passport 

A valid passport that is up to date and will remain valid for the duration of your intended stay. 

2. Visa Or Study Permit 

You can check the Visa requirements of your destination country on their official site and apply accordingly. For a Visa application, you will need an acceptance letter from the university, financial documents, and filled Visa forms. 

3. Admission Letter 

A formal letter of acceptance is sent from the universities to the students. This acts as a legal permit for students in that particular country. 

4. Academic Transcript 

Official transcript from your previous colleges such as High School or College is also required. 

5. Language Proficiency 

You can take standardised tests such as TOEFL or IELTS that act as proof of your foreign language proficiency. 

6. Letters Of Recommendation 

Some programs require you to carry letters of recommendation from your previous mentors, and teachers to attest to your academic background, skills, and knowledge. 

7. Statement Of Purpose 

A statement of purpose is a personal statement that answers questions like why you want to come to a particular country or university. It helps the admission committee to understand your motivation to select that program and country for your studies. 

8. Health Insurance 

Some countries may require you to present medical examinations and vaccination records as part of the application process. 

These are some of the documents that you need to carry with you while studying abroad. 

Eligibility Criteria For Studying Abroad

Eligibility criteria for studying in a foreign country depend upon the location, program, and financial aid that you can get. 

Many foreign universities require applicants to have completed a certain level of education before they can study abroad. For instance, if you are applying for a Master’s, then you should have at least completed your 4 years Bachelor’s degree first. 

Apart from that some of the major eligibility criteria include:

1. Standardised Test Results 

Depending upon the program you are applying for, you will need to produce either GRE or GATE test results. These tests are mainly required for admission to graduate programs, particularly in the United States. 

The minimum score requirements depend upon the universities and the courses you opt for. You should also have a good score on a foreign language proficiency test such as IELTS. A minimum of 7 bands is required to be eligible for colleges abroad. 

2. Admit From Universities 

Apart from the above criteria, you should have an admit letter from the universities you are applying to. Obtaining an acceptance letter signifies that they have reviewed your application and deemed you eligible for admission. This is also required to apply for a visa application for any country.  

3. Visa

Students need a valid passport to travel internationally depending upon the country they have selected. To apply for a student visa, one must have an admit letter from the university, financial backup, health insurance, score transcripts, and any other specific criteria mentioned in the visa application process. 

This may include completing the forms, providing the documents asked, attending interviews, and paying visa application fees. 

4. Scholarship

Living abroad consists of different types of expenses such as tuition fees, accommodation, living costs, travel expenses, health insurance, and more. You can apply for different scholarships for your financial aid. We have discussed different types of scholarships in the next part of the blog. 

These are some of the basic eligibility criteria which you will stumble upon while applying to study abroad. 

Best Countries For Studying Abroad

The best countries for studying abroad can vary depending on your preferences, academic disciplines, and specific program offerings. However, some countries are consistently popular choices among international students. Here are the top 5 countries known for their strong education systems, diverse cultures, and welcoming environments for international students:


If you check the world-class QS Ranking, you will know that the US has some elite universities such as Harvard University, MIT, Stanford University, University of California, Yale University, and Princeton. All these universities offer a wide range of programs with different courses. 

B. United Kingdom 

The UK is home to many prestigious universities that offer a range of programs in humanities, sciences, business, and more. It is home to the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and also the Imperial College of London. 

C. Canada 

Canada is known for its high-quality education system and multicultural society. Some of the major universities in Canada are the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia. 

D. Australia 

Australia attracts students from around the world with its excellent universities, vibrant cities, and high standard of living. Some of the universities of Australia are the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, and the University of New South Wales. 

E. Germany 

Germany is recognized for its strong emphasis on research and innovation. It offers numerous tuition-free or low-cost education opportunities, particularly in public universities, and has a reputation for excellence in engineering, sciences, and technology.

Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. There are many other well-known schools and universities in each country that are not on this list. If you already have a destination in mind, you can always pull up the university list in that location and choose something that aligns with your interest. 

Scholarships For Studying Abroad

There are various scholarships that you can take to study at the world’s best universities like Howard, MIT, Princeton, and more. The Indian government has been providing scholarships to many students who want to study abroad. Some of the popular ones which you can apply are – 

1. Fulbright – Nehru Master’s Fellowship 

This scholarship is provided mostly to students to pursue master’s degree programs in foreign countries. It is a one to two-year fellowship program for universities. Whether you are from Arts and Cultural Management, Economics grad, International Affairs, or International Legal Studies, you can apply for this scholarship. 

Under this scholarship, you will be funded for tuition fees along with other expenses. You will also get J-1 visa support and round-trip economy class travel from your home city to the U.S. 

2. National Overseas Scholarship 

This scholarship is launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to promote awareness about social justice. It facilitates various students from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and landless agricultural labourers to pursue their higher education abroad. 

It has basic criteria- the candidate should have a score of 60% in the qualifying examination and the family income from all sources should be less than 8 lakhs in the previous financial year.  

3. Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree 

If you are pursuing an integrated master’s degree program, you can apply for this scholarship. The best part about this scholarship is that all eligible students of any nationality can apply for this aid. 

This scholarship is funded by the European Union and it is a merit-based aid. The eligibility to apply for this scholarship is a Graduation Degree or equivalent. If you have any concerns regarding this, you can raise a question to the email – info@maeh-mundus.eu.

There are specific colleges that also provide financial aid for their students. Some of them are – 

1. Cornell University Tata Scholarship 

This is a need-based scholarship for Indian-based students studying or pursuing their careers at Cornell University. Eligibility to be selected under this aid is – Indian citizen, UG degree admit to Cornell, 70% minimum marks, no year gap, TOEFL 100 marks, and IELTS – Band 7 minimum. If you are someone who falls under this category, do check out this scholarship program. 

2. Microsoft Scholarship 

This scholarship is funded by Microsoft for students pursuing their careers in computer science and related STEM courses in countries like the US, Canada, or Mexico. It covers most of the expenses including tuition fees and accommodation of students. 

These are some of the best scholarships you can apply for. No doubt, these provide invaluable opportunities for students to pursue their academic and personal growth in international settings. 

Is Studying Abroad Expensive?

Regardless of the university you choose and the course you select for your career, your overall expense for studying abroad will come to around 30- 32 lakhs per year. This will consist of tuition fees of around 15-20 lakhs and living expenses of 10-12 lakhs per annum. 

Various factors determine the total expenditure such as university, city, accommodation situation, duration of stay, currency exchange rates, healthcare, and insurance. Therefore, the expenses might be different depending on your needs and requirements. 

Some of the factors that affect the actual cost of studying abroad include:

1. Tuition fees 

Before you make your decision, you should check out the tuition fees of the college from their official website. Public universities usually have a lower tuition fee as compared to private institutions in almost all countries. Additionally, scholarships and grants can help you ease your tuition fees to some extent.

2. Currency Exchange Rates 

This can influence the affordability of studying abroad. It is essential to consider the currency exchange rates while planning for a budget as it won’t be easy for you to land a part-time job as soon as you go abroad. It will take some time for you to settle down and you will require a certain amount of capital as well. 

3. Duration of stay 

The longer the study period, the higher the cost will be. Taking into account the duration of your program and stay is very important to set an estimate for the overall expenditure. 

4. Lifestyle 

Personal spending habits and lifestyle choices also impact overall costs. Being mindful of expenses, budgeting, and making cost-conscious decisions can help you save some bucks while studying abroad. 

We have done our research and made a detailed table concerning different countries and the expected expenditure you might incur. 

CountryTuition Fees (In INR) (per annum)Accommodation (per month)Food and travel (per month)Misc. (per month)
United Kingdom8-10 lakhs Rs 40-60,000Rs 20,000 Rs 20,000 
Canada15-18 lakhsRs 50,000Rs 20,000Rs 10,000
USA35-40 lakhsRs 75,000Rs 11,000Rs 10,000
Australia8-10 lakhsRs 30,000Rs 10,000Rs 10,000
Germany 0-3 lakhs Rs 21,000Rs 12,000Rs 5,000
All figures presented are an approximation and may change based on real-time circumstances

You can get an overall idea about your expenses concerning the country you plan on going to. 

Is Studying Abroad Worth It?

Studying abroad can be an enriching experience, providing you with numerous benefits and opportunities for personal and academic growth. However, it is also important to acknowledge potential challenges that you might face. 

While these challenges exist, with proper preparation, research, and resilience they can be tackled. Ultimately studying abroad is worth it or not will depend upon your individual goals, motivation, and readiness. Note, it’s always better to make an informed decision by researching everything in advance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which country is best for studying abroad?

The United Kingdom is the best country to study abroad as the UK has the maximum top universities ranking under QS World Rank. Apart from that, the UK provides cultural attractions along with after-graduation job opportunities. You also get a language learning opportunity that helps with personal development. Next in line are Australia, the United States, and Canada. 

What is the cheapest way to study abroad?

The cheapest way to study abroad is to select a country with an affordable cost of living and get financial aid. Research about different types of financial scholarships that you are eligible for. 

You can also try to get part-time jobs in the country you will be pursuing your higher studies. Most colleges also provide financial aid to their students who get good grades. 

What is studying abroad for?

Studying abroad is one of the best ways of gathering global skills and enhancing your personal as well as professional opportunities. It can be a life-changing experience and will let you see life with different views. This in turn will increase your acumen in life and will make you a more rounded individual. 

Should I go abroad to study after 12th standard?

Whether you want to study abroad after your 12th standard will depend upon your goals. Some of the major factors that can help you make a decision are educational opportunities, cultural exposure, financial aid, personal growth, and major career prospects. Evaluate these factors before deciding on studying abroad.