The application process for International Study Abroad is well underway. As soon as you hand in that first application you’re barely able to take a sigh of relief before you have to take your next steps! It can be difficult and very frustrating to know how to balance your time during these applications. You find yourself wanting to refine your applications to be the best applicant you can be and at the same time freaking out because you know you need to study otherwise you are going to fail your courses and not be able to go abroad even if you are accepted onto the programme. It is a vicious circle and it will drive you insane. So I’m here to warn you that it will be stressful and to expect difficulties but it is possible. Below are some tips to hopefully help reduce the stress and to make your application that little bit more stress-free. I have been where you’re going to be, I have had enough of studying, I have lay on my flatmates floor in a ball (on several occasions), and one time I dropped a Danish pastry on the floor and so I also dropped to the floor and cried. I speak from experience.
- Keep a Study Abroad folder – You’re going to end up with a lot of paper for a lot of different things. When Seonaid tells you to keep a folder, do it. There are many advantages to this and no disadvantages. Everything is in the one place, when you need to know information quickly you know exactly where to find it within two minutes. You don’t have to waste time stressing out about that one sheet of paper you misplaced when you could be studying. When you’re trailing your life behind you in a suitcase which is very heavy and the same size as you and you’re asked to produce the address of where you’re staying, your visas, your acceptance letters etc. you will be very thankful of that folder. I still use my folder today. Do it, you won’t regret it.
- Know your next steps – I know this is a difficult one because every application is different and at times you have no idea what happens next and it seems there is no one to tell you, but this is useful in terms of knowing when you’re going to have time to study, and when you need to focus more on study abroad paperwork. I advise making a timeline of the application process to keep everything clear and to ensure you give yourself enough time for each step. The best way to keep track of what is on your to-do list is to first of all listen very carefully to everything Seonaid says and ask her questions in meetings when you have the chance. Secondly, if possible, get in touch with a student who is currently on exchange or has been on exchange at the relevant university. I have been able to help a lot of people with this and it seems to provide reassurance and save a lot of unnecessary stress. (You can try and get in contact with other students by joining this International Study Abroad Outgoing Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uofgstudyabroad/?fref=ts )
- Tackle the application together with others – if you find someone else applying to the same university as you it might be an idea to get in touch with each other and meet up to attempt parts of the application together. I know this really helped me with my application. It really helps when you have people to talk to who are going through the same struggles as you and you can keep each other sane, even though none of you may have a clue what you’re doing.
This blog post is not intended to fill you with fear but to let you know that you’re not the only one freaking out, it will be okay and it is 100% worth the pain and effort of applying (even though you will be thinking “how is this much effort worth anything?!”). Study Abroad is FABULOUS! (check out my instagram for proof @kelsiefinlay)
Thank you to everyone who has got in contact already with questions for me, it’s always a pleasure to help others get the chance to experience what I’m experiencing. Please, please feel free to get in contact with any questions and I’ll try my best to provide answers or at least point you in the right direction.
In the meantime, good luck with the applications. Take it one step at a time. You will get there!
À la prochaine!
PS. Below are some photos from Parc Omega, one hour drive from Montréal , where I got to get up close and personal with some of Canada’s beautiful nature!