Attending College Out of Country

Stephanie Hughes
Published on
April 3, 2023

Imagine yourself in the streets of a city that is a mystery to you, though soon to be unraveled. It is the weekend, so you go to a nearby cafe or bookshop to study for upcoming midterms, that is, after finishing an essay due at midnight. As the sun sets, you head back to your dorm and get on a weekly Zoom call with your family across the sea.

If you want to travel and explore your academic interests in a new place, then attending college in another country might be an option. But before sending in that application, it’s critical to be aware of the logistics of attending college abroad.


There are many factors to consider when making this major decision, the first being whether you’re ready to live almost entirely independently. You would now only be able to contact your friends and family, whose support may have been within arms reach up to this point in your life, virtually aside from occasional visits. However, this would be an opportunity to make new friends from different backgrounds. Additionally, many students who’ve studied abroad have said there was an intense culture shock with which they had to become familiar. This is the core of any travel experience, though. In the end, it will be up to you to decide whether or not you attend college abroad.


Reasons for applying to a university vary from location to the offered programs. When picking one out of the country, it’s important to research it as thoroughly as you would for one in the country, if not more. Consider the class sizes, dorm arrangements, and other fundamental parts of the college experience.

This is a reciprocal process, though. You must make sure you meet all the requirements to attend the university. Language proficiency exams and admissions test results (like the SAT and/or ACT to attend in the US, GCSE and/or A Levels to attend in the UK) could be requested. A visa is usually necessary to move temporarily to another country, and the process of obtaining one differs from country to country.


The portal where you submit your application depends on where you want to go. Most of the time, it’s through the Common App or the university’s website. However, some countries have specific portals through which international students should apply. The UK, for instance, also uses the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Additionally, it is important to note that if you’re applying to go to the UK, what may be referred to as a “course” is the USA's equivalent of a major. There may be similar cases in other countries. You should always be cautious and keep track of deadlines—perhaps in a spreadsheet or notebook—during this process.


Undoubtedly, it is expensive to attend college in another country. Fees include tuition, travel costs, and typical costs for everyday necessities. It often comes down to a cost-benefit analysis, and there are a couple of ways to ease this financial burden if you choose to go through with it. 

Scholarships may be offered through the university that you are accepted into and attending. Global programs and foundations like MPOWER, the Aga Khan Foundation, and the American Concrete Institute Foundation also offer a variety of scholarships. Each has its own eligibility requirements and application processes. 

Grants are also available from certain foundations, though they are usually constrained to a specific course of study. For instance, the Schlumberger Foundation offers grants to those pursuing a passion for STEM. The Open Society Foundations provide a plethora of grants for different studies as well.

In certain situations, you might be able to pay tuition that is lower than the average in your home country. France and Austria are known for having low college tuition. Some countries, like Germany, Iceland, and Norway, even have free education extended to international students as well. Of course, in either case, there will likely still be semester fees and additional costs for textbooks and such necessities. There could also be a higher cost of living in the country. 

Overall, attending college abroad can have many benefits. And, of course, this isn’t the lifestyle for everyone. Another venture could be enrolling in a study abroad program for a semester or year. When you’re making a decision that will impact the rest of your life, you should have as many options as possible.

For more information on attending school internationally, you can visit this site.

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