Sep 2, 2010

Going Abroad on a Scholarship? Here’s What You Need to Know!

It’s not every day that scholarships come knocking at your door, and when you hear that you’re now eligible for a free education at an international university, it’s a day to celebrate. However, if you’re unprepared for what lies across the oceans, you could end up suffering many hardships which prevent you from focusing on your studies and earning your degree with good grades. If you’ve applied for an international scholarship, you must prepare yourself for the day you may qualify for it. Even though this may seem like an overly optimistic thing to do, if you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself in a difficult situation.

• Almost all scholarships include only your tuition fees, so you will need much more money in hand to pay for your accommodation and food.

• You may plan on working part-time once you get there, but there are conditions under which international students are allowed to work. You would most probably be allowed to work only on campus (at the cafeteria, library, student office, laboratories, or even as a teaching assistant if you are a grad student) for up to 20 hours a week during regular course time. When college closes for vacation or summer break, you could work for 40 hours a week, if your place of work is still open for business.

• It’s not very easy to find a job on campus - they are the most sought after gigs by students because they don’t require a commute and because it’s easy to juggle classes and work when they’re in the same location. These jobs are in great demand, and as a foreign student who is not familiar with the language and customs of the place, it could be an uphill climb to find a good job on campus.

• Campus jobs may not pay much, so if you depend on them to pay your living expenses, you could be short of cash before the month is out. And unless you have financial means of your own, you could end up deep in debt with no way out.

• Check out the university, its location and its credentials before you accept the scholarship; ensure that you’re not taken for a ride by scammers who want to cheat you of your money. If you’re in doubt, call the university office and talk to the people concerned before you finalize your travel plans. Ensure that all your communication with the university is authentic.

Be prepared for every possibility when you’re going abroad for an education – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, so ensure that you don’t waste it by being caught unawares.

This guest post is contributed by Debbie Owen, she writes on the topic of online doctorate degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: