Imagine leaving your community and all you have been building for yourself and your family in order to start your life all over in some new society?
Imagine leaving your parents, your mother and father, your brothers and sisters, and even children and spouses, to go to search for a better life, not just for you but for those around you. All eyes are on you and you have been sent prayers and vibes while you are leaving.
You might be feeling that the world is on your shoulders and it is heavy to carry one but YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many before that passed that path, many are on it right now and many will be. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
During this process, I want to share several hoops along the way with simple advice on how to prepare to overcome them:
- CHOOSING THE UNIVERSITY: In order to start heading somewhere, you need to have a destination. Your destination is the university you will be studying at. The study ocean is full of opportunities on all continents and sometimes you can be overwhelmed and confused about what direction to take.
- When choosing the university to consider several important factors: a) in what city is this university located and what is the major culture in this city? b) is this city safe? c) is this city affordable d) do I have somebody I know or could connect with when I am there (this is very important!) e) how diverse are these cities and universities? f) are people-friendly toward immigrants? These are just some of the questions to ask. When you chose the desired school, start the application.
- APPLYING TO THE UNIVERSITY: Application to university should be done in a thorough and professional manner. After you chose your university/school, try to find a group on Facebook or elsewhere that gathers current students or alumni. Try to connect with somebody who already went through the same process and asks for advice. Fill out the application carefully in order to demonstrate your academic strengths and skills. Make sure your grammar is correct and that you are using proper language.
- Gather all documents on time and submit it before the deadline. Do not hesitate to contact the program secretary and ask her questions if you have any. Enlist all your amazing accomplishments and present yourself in the best light. The pool of applicants is huge and you want to be unique and noticeable.
- ADMISSION AND APPLYING FOR VISA: Been admitted to the university is such joy and great news (we always want you to share with us so that we can all celebrate together). The next step is to apply for a visa or study permit.
- This is also a process that should be taken extremely seriously considering that immigration officers are always looking at proofs that you will return to your home country after the study is completed. No matter what, nobody can predict what will happen and how the future will be. But at this point, you do not know what doors for you will open to staying to live in this country if you wish so.
- Remember that when applying for a visa try your best to demonstrate that you will return (contact us for advice on this matter as we went through this experience). This is what immigration officers are looking for.
- SCHOLARSHIPS: Finding scholarships is not an easy and stress-free process. It can be frustrated to not have funding after admission is completed. Start searching for funding as soon as you are admitted. SCAWAB is here to help and always ask us questions. We can direct you toward rights scholarship roads. Also, ask your school, alumni and current students. Start applying early as this is a lengthy process. Do not forget to ask us for help. Discuss it with us.
- VISA APPROVAL AND TIME TO TRAVEL: This is the most exciting time. You receive your visa and it is time to travel. Make sure you arrive on time in the city where you will study. Make sure you explore your housing options as in some cities housing could be very expensive.
- Do your research and use websites such as craigslist to find affordable rentals. Also, connect with local people and ask for furniture donations and other necessities you might need. Lots of people donate furniture through Craigslist or Facebook buy-sell groups.
Emerge in your journey as this is the life-changing experience. Although it might seem like you are, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many other students who are going through the same as you are going right now.
Depending on where you are in your journey do not go through it alone. Ask for help. If you do not know or have anybody else, ask us here on SCAWAB. We are here for you … Remember, we are a group of students who went through the same experience.
Where are you on the journey right now?