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Choosing where to study

Choosing the right university and country for your graduate study is extremely important. The university or college that you choose needs to cover all your individual needs. Here is everything  you need to know to make an informed choice.

Course

There is no point in going to a great university in an amazing country and then choosing a course that doesn’t really interest you. This may sound obvious but many students get seduced by the thought of going to university and the social aspects of studying abroad. So, make sure you thoroughly research the programme on offer.

Firstly, find out if the course is accredited. This establishes the quality of the programme. You should also consider your strengths as a student – is the course more theoretical or practical, for example? Do you want a research or taught MA? Finally, look out for added benefits such as work placement schemes and industry contacts that will develop your experience and skills and offer you a head start when you graduate.

Reputation

There is no doubt that a good postgraduate degree from a highly ranked university will be a great addition to your CV. However, there are many great courses at good universities and colleges throughout the world.

League tables can also be considered a great way to gauge a university’s reputation. However, it is important to note that they do not evaluate the individual departments so it may be difficult to gather a specific perspective. Remember that some universities may have average overall reputations but will have individual departments or courses that are highly respected, so do your research.

You are probably better considering your long-term goals and weighing up the balance between what the course offers and the reputation of your degree. Think long term about the industry you will be entering and make your decision from there.

Where

What you choose to study is very important but where you study will have a direct impact on your experience. Would you prefer to study in the city or the country? Also, consider the size of the university campus – would you prefer to be part of a large university campus or perhaps a smaller college?

It may seem obvious, but the country you choose will have a massive impact on how you study, your experience and your future opportunities. Do you want to go somewhere for the student life, or for the quality of education? Do you want a culture similar to your own, or a completely different experience? Consider your needs and what you really want out of the 'student experience' and what is most important to you.

Finance
Finance plays a major part in choosing where to study. Firstly you need to consider if you can afford the course fees. You then need to consider the expense of where you will be studying. City students for example will expect to pay significantly more for their living costs, while course fees will vary greatly depending on which country you want to study in.
Do your research on not just how much it will cost to study but also how much it will cost you to live. This should give you your overall costs and allow you to make an informed decision while also sorting out a budget for when you finally move. Don’t forget to include travel costs and whether it will be feasible for you to return home during holidays.