how to go to university internationally

How To Go To An International University

There is a richness of the experience to living in a new country that is indescribable. When you change your surroundings you look at things with new eyes and you appreciate all the subtle wonders that this world has to offer. Moving to another country can be initially intimidating and you might not know where to start; but with a realistic perspective and dedication to your goal I believe that almost anyone can make this sort of move and I can promise the experience you get will be completely worth it.

The first thing is don’t limit yourself to what you think you know. There are so many other options out there and sometimes you won’t know until you start looking.


Travel As a Means of Self Reflection

travel is one of the best ways to figure out where you want to be. If you have the opportunity take a gap year, or any chunk of time off in general the experience is invaluable. Work six months, save up and travel a few months more. There’s lots of ways to cut back costs. Stay in hostels, take the cheapest form of public transport and work as you go. You rough it a bit but in the end it adds texture to the experience; and when you’re traveling carefully you often wind up spending less than you do at home. when you have the time to move around it helps you get clearer. you see your options better and know where you want to end up. 


Give Yourself A Long Term Plan

You don’t need to compare yourself to other people, everyone’s life is different and you don’t need to look at studying abroad as a race or competition. But with a long term plan you take the pressure off and you can definitely move studying international an option.

Look Into Different Options

On that note, look into different options. There are public universities in every country but there are also private schools that are more specialized, specifically international universities and American universities located abroad. There are also trade schools, culinary school, language schools, design schools (like the one I’m at). The list goes on and on. Don’t limit yourself to one direction, just follow any leads whether it be a country you interested in, a skillset or a particular degree.


An IB Diploma is the International Baccalaureate is an international diploma that is accepted by universities all over the world. It’s an international standard so school’s in different countries can all find a middle ground diploma wise. If you don’t have the opportunity to go to a high school that offers IB a high school diploma or even GED is a good equivalent. If you are interested in IB there website can help you find a school that offers the diploma near you and just some great resources in general.


If you’re considering studying, take some time to look into scholarships. Opportunities are often found in unexpected places and you my find something that fits exactly what you’re trying to do. Scholarship Portal is a good place to start, Edvisors has a great list of potential scholarships and digital research in general may lead to a lot of possibilities.


When you move to a different country you are confronted with a different culture and a lot of time a different language. Once you’re clear on where you want to go give yourself time to start getting comfortable with the language. Language is about consistency so the sooner you start the better. Get down the basic grammar and as soon as you can start to practice speaking. If you have someone who can speak to it’s the best way to practice, but I’ve also found that writing, reading, movies and music to be wonderful ways as well. The trick is to find ways you really like to practice. Learning a new language should be pleasurable and intriguing and although it takes concentration and consistency the more you enjoy the process the less it feels like work and the faster you learn.


Keep a list of everything you need to get together and when. Some things can’t be done too soon (ex/ FBI background check no more than three months out) and some steps are time consuming and need to be done in a specific order (ex/ first background check, then Apostille then a translation into Spanish by a sworn Spanish translator). There are also companies out there that you can pay to gather the forms for you and although it’s a safe stress-free option I found that with a little moral support from friends and family I could handle it on my own and I’m sure i’d you’re methodical you can too.

How Much To Plan

As you get closer to the time you have to decide what to plan and what to leave open ended. I think a situational balance can be achieved. Some things are better put into place ahead of time and other opportunities come up when you stay open. Like I mentioned plan your visa well ahead of time; and look into your flights. Having a plan for work or school can help but isn’t necessary.

The amount of planning you do depends on your personality. If you set things up ahead of time you eliminate stress but at the same time there’s something really cool about trusting life enough to leave things a bit unknown and following the twists and turns.

Sustainable Travel

On a side note deciding to study internationally can also be more environmentally friendly. Instead of flying back and forward to a bunch of places you’ll have the opportunity to settle down somewhere. Really get to know one plan and do a lot more land travel from there (which is far more eco friendly that taking flights).


Check out the video for more advice and my personal experience.

And if you’re interested in my specific design school here is IED‘s Barcelona campus website.





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