Getting you Started

Deciding if, where, when and how to study abroad is easier than you may think!

With so many study abroad program types and destinations available to you, and the long check list of tasks you need to complete before actually heading overseas, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Get yourself organized with these seven steps that will help you plan ahead for your time abroad.

Sure studying abroad sounds awesome, but is it a good fit for you? First, ask yourself a few questions:
  1. Do I have the required budget to support my studies and living expenses
  2. Am I comfortable being away from family and friends for an extend period of time?
  3. Would I enjoy exploring a new culture?
  4. Will I use study abroad to help shape me academically, professionally and/or personally?

If you answer “yes” to most or all of the questions, study abroad is probably a great choice for you. If you answer “no” to a lot of the questions, it might be time to do more honest soul searching before you decide. The reality is, studying abroad is a unique, adventurous opportunity to try something new and grow as both a student and a person, and it also comes with some challenges such as being out of your comfort zone and away from family and friends.

Meet with your consultant to ensure you can stay on track to graduate on time, plan the coursework you need to take before you go abroad, the coursework you should save and take while abroad and the coursework that you will need to take after you return. A good consultant will not force you to study in a particular destination and in fact gove your various options depending on your needs. It is also advisable to do research online and ensure that all that you have been told is actually true! Talk with your parents about why, when and where you want to study abroad. Deciding to study abroad is often a family decision, and having an open conversation with them can help both you and them plan the best study abroad trip for you as possible. It’s important to come to the conversation prepared with your points, and be ready with answers to their questions .


For students: Points to discuss with your parentsd

  1. International experience can be a big resume booster once it comes time to job hunt. Gaining a global perspective in today’s international marketplace is invaluable, and with the opportunity to intern while abroad, students often develop new skills and grow their network of professional contacts.
  2. Spending time abroad often results in a higher level of maturity and personal independence. Students often learn a lot about themselves and what they’re capable of by living in a foreign environment.
  3. Finance is one of most important aspects and it’s important that the budgeting is done well in advance to ensure smooth study experience.

For parents: Questions to ask your child

  1. What program(s) are you looking at? After conducting some online research or talking to the consultant, does it seem like students in the past have had good experiences with that program?
  2. Is the country/city you’re considering a safe place to live? What is the crime rate of the location? What should we know about the health system?
  3. What sort of housing is available to you? Will you be on your own to find an apartment, or will your program take care of it for you? Are you interested in a home-stay (living with a local family) or would you prefer a dorm setting? What are your options and how much do they cost?
  4. What is the exchange rate, and what is the average cost-of-living? How much do you plan to spend on travel, souvenirs, etc.? Are there scholarships available? In the end, is it a program and/or destination you/we can afford?
As you and your family discuss your plans, continue to keep in touch with your consultant throughout the planning and application process.

There are so many destinations to choose from when deciding where you want to study abroad that it can often be an overwhelming choice. It might be best if you first narrow down the type of location that interests you the most, and then make your decision. For example:


  1. Narrowing your search: While choosing a destination, you will have to ask yourself many questions which will help you identify suitable options. These include your plans of settling down in the host country, budget, your program of interest, language of instruction (English or foreign language), would you take your spouse or kids with you or go alone, are you planning to give exams such as IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT etc, duration of program and your expected scores, post study work options, expected entry requirements and so on.
  2. Intakes: Typically, it’s best to decide when you plan to go abroad at least nine months to one year ahead of time, if not more. Many study abroad programs require applicants to apply at least six months before the program begins, so having at least nine months gives you time to research, find and apply to a program(s) at your leisure. Most of the countries have typically two major intakes. However, there are many institutions that offer programs around the year.
  3. Course: While choosing a program it is important that we looking into the interest of the student and also the future prospects of the program. As a recommendation, while choosing a program, understanding the course content is more important that checking out the ranking because most often than not, you will only realize that the number of rankings you find will increase you dilemma. Once you feel you would enjoy studying a subject (or a course), finalize it. You can always take help of the cost calculator to get a brief estimate of income and expenses. Girnar Global can help you identify just the program that you are looking for!
  4. Check entry requirements: Do check the entry requirements otherwise you are only wasting your time. As a fresh graduate, you cannot join the MBA at a London Business School or at an NYU Stern (as we all call it). You must get realistic. It also involves money for eg. if you apply to a list of about 8 US universities, it may cost about Rs 40000 to Rs 50000 only in the application process. Thus, randomly applying is useless. The entry requirements will also tell you whether you need to give a GMAT or GRE or SAT and / or TOEFL or IELTS. These are some of the most popular tests accepted worldwide
Based on your answers, you probably have a good idea about the qualities you want in your study abroad destination. Now it’s just a matter of finding it!

Check the test dates, register for these, as early as possible. This approach helps as you would also then have the timesheet by when you MUST finish your preparations. I would believe IELTS / TOEFL exam requires 15 days to 3 months for preparing whereas GMAT / GRE / SAT may take anytime between 1.5 months to 3 months (depending whether you enjoy or hate Math and English). Another benefit of taking the test early is that if you had a bad test day, you know you have time to give it again. Well, that does not mean you keep appearing for the test. Ensure that your first shot is the best one. While you are preparing for the test, you can start collecting your application documents. Meet your consultant for the document checklist as per the shortlisted options and ensure your application process is started will in time. Many universities issue conditional admissions so the students can apply before appearing for the final exams or the above mentioned tests. This will help you save time. If you apply early and have been a good student during your academic career and / or have been great in some sports or any other activities, it is always worth giving it a try for some scholarships. You may be in for some useful luck!

Once you have had your admission offer letters and / or decline letters, check when you have to reply to them or accept the offer. It is assumed that through the above process you would have prioritized your choice of University. The day you hear from your best choice, accept it or wait until you receive replies from most (if not all) and then decide carefully. Accept your offer and check with the University if they wish to supply you with any other useful information that may help you. Many Universities may require you to make an advance fee payment, which you must pay and get the next letter (of confirmation) that arrives from the University. Once you have had your admission offer letters and / or decline letters, check when you have to reply to them or accept the offer. It is assumed that through the above process you would have prioritized your choice of University. The day you hear from your best choice, accept it or wait until you receive replies from most (if not all) and then decide carefully. Accept your offer and check with the University if they wish to supply you with any other useful information that may help you. Many Universities may require you to make an advance fee payment, which you must pay and get the next letter (of confirmation) that arrives from the University.

Check the visa process while you were applying for the Universities. It is important to prepare for your visa application in advance as some countries like UK and Australia will require you to show the funds for at least a specific period before you can apply for your student visa. Take the appointment as required (in advance) depending on how soon your documentation will be ready. Once you have applied, it is only in the hands of the visa officers to decide. If you have been accepted go to the next step; otherwise check the reasons for refusal (if available) and prepare to reapply.

If you wish to live in the Universities' accommodation, you must apply for this in advance. Thus, as soon as you have an offer, ensure that you also check this bit of information at least. Check out and buy your insurance, do your medicals, buy forex, attend a pre-departure briefing (Girnar Global hold pre departure program for all students) and get answers to questions like how to open a bank account, what is the life going to be like, about food, etc. Ensure that you also book your tickets as soon as you get your visa (or at least block book it) because most students would be travelling at the same time like yourself (evidently) and there might just be some rush. You should also try and get in touch with students who who are already studying at the Universities you have selected. They are very useful and helpful too when you ask them some questions about the place, the university, the cost involved, etc. Online networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and such could be very useful during these times. Again, please understand select your sample correctly. Eg. You must explain to the student you are talking about what you think and your plans. Do not blindly accept it. Because they may have had different plans altogether when they would have decided to study at their Institution. Also, please ask more than one student at a specific university to ensure more students have similar opinions or not