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A Guide to studying abroad: Becoming an International Student

Studying abroad is an exciting way to further your education. Not only are there award-winning colleges and universities around the world, but you get to experience a new culture and maybe even learn a new language.

Before setting off on your new adventure, there are a few things you must do in advance. Here is our quick guide to studying abroad.

Getting started

Firstly, you will need to make a plan. There are many important decisions to make, starting with where you would like to study. 

Is there a desired city or country that you want to further your studies in? Or is there a particular institution to which you are hoping to be accepted? For instance, many students want to study in the UK due to it being home to some of the top universities in the world. Then, they start looking into the courses and university options to see if the course they want to take is available. Some start with a chosen university rather than where in the world it is based.

Either of these points is a great place to start and draw up a shortlist of possibilities. Whilst going through the process of narrowing down your options, make sure you take into account items such as admission criteria, university fees, available grants, and the local area and culture.

International Student Visas

To be able to study abroad is it most likely that you will need a student visa. If your period of study only short, you may be able to apply for a tourist visa instead. The visiting allowance varies, so check with the local visa office, but many are up to three months.

To be able to apply for a full student visa you first need to have a letter of acceptance from your university of choice. Make sure you leave enough time to have your visa accepted as some may take longer than others.


EU citizens wishing to study in the UK are eligibile for the same sources of student finance as UK citizens, at least until courses beginning in academic year 2020/21. It is not clear what will happen to students enrolling after that, especially before any kind of deal is agreed between the UK and the EU. Rules for UK citizens studying on the continent vary by country, so it is best to consult local sources of information on fees, grants and visas.

International student accommodation

Some universities have student accommodation options either on-site or at a nearby campus. You will likely be permitted to stay in the student halls of residence of your accepted university should they provide this type of accommodation.

If student accommodation is not available at your university then you will need to look into a private rental. There are lots of different websites you can use for searching for a rental, and you can always ask for advice from your university’s care team. 

Depending on your budget, you may need to look into flat or house share, where you rent a room and share the living spaces as opposed to renting a whole property for yourself.

Financial help for international students

Whilst loans for international students are available, they are very difficult to secure. If you need to finance your international studies there are other options you can explore, such as scholarships, studentships, fellowships, grants and bursaries. The best step would be to contact your university who should be able to provide more information on options available to you.

Working overseas as a student

If you are looking to work whilst you are an international student, then you will need to check if your student visa work permissions. 

Some countries and visas restrict the number of hours of paid work you are allowed to do. Most countries will allow you to work for around 20 hours during the term time and unlimited hours of work during holidays. It is always best to check in advance.

International Student Insurance

It may not be the most exciting of things to think about, but student insurance is an important part of your planning and protecting yourself whilst you are abroad. There is any number of unforeseen circumstances that may arise and having a tailormade international student insurance policy with a company who can assist you 24/7 is perfect peace of mind.

Here at Healthcare International, we have created an insurance product for international students.

Our student insurance provides the following benefits:

  • In-patient medical treatment
  • Out-patient medical treatment
  • Un-recoverable student fees
  • Personal Liability
  • Lost or stolen luggage; money & documents
  • Delayed, cancelled or missed flight

Visit our page here for more information on our student insurance policy: