It is difficult to compare the rewards one can gain from studying abroad with anything else. The experience can change your perspective from being local to global and your attitudes to international. Not only that but you will likely gain memories and friendships to last a lifetime.
Interestingly though, one of the biggest barriers causing students to decide not to study abroad, is that they believe it would be too expensive and or too difficult. The overseas students who do decide to study abroad and utilise the services of an education agent are often very surprised at how easy it was to organize, and also at how affordable it can be.
The following information is a useful and will likely provide some good tips and advice for prospective overseas students looking to study abroad. Although the following information can be useful, it is recommended that students see a qualified education agent to ensure they receive up-to-date and current study abroad advice tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
Why study abroad?
There are many reasons people choose to study abroad:
• Language acquisition – The world market place is shrinking and many companies now look for or require staff that can speak a second language. For students in Thailand or Asia where English is a second language, being able to speak English can be a significant advantage in the competitive labor market. Not only is being able to speak a second language such as English important from a career perspective, but it is also invaluable from a real world perspective.
• Practical experience – Study coupled with work experience can be an ideal way to gain some real world experience. Many students are surprised to find out that in many countries such as Australia they are free to work and gain an income while studying (currently at the time of this article being written it is 20 hours per week with a student visa). When this is factored into the cost of studying abroad it can significantly reduce the expense and studying and working overseas can be very affordable.
• Career Advancement – International experience is much sort after by many employers as a critical asset for prospective employees. Study abroad shows that you are resourceful, adventurous, internationally minded, and diverse. In addition, in many countries such as Thailand it is extremely competitive and expensive to gain selection to a highly respected university. By not gaining selection to a top university you may be limiting your career potential unnecessarily. Study abroad is another option however which will allow you to studying overseas in a country such as Australia and gain English language skills and once completed will see you just as attractive or more so to potential employers not only in Thailand but around the world.
• Experience of a lifetime – In a couple years you may forget a lot of what you have studied in high school and university but if you study abroad you will never forget the friends you made or the incredible experiences you shared.
How do I find the right Education Agent for me?
Once you have made the decision to study abroad you may then want to find an education agent to guide you through the process. But what should you look for in finding the right education agent for you? There are many education agents and this task is not as easy as it sounds, but if you follow the tips below you will be on the right track to finding an agent for you:
1) Look for an education agent that are members of peak body organizations in not only your home country but also the country you intend to study. By doing this you can be more confident the agent you have selected is professional and trustworthy. For example, students from Thailand wishing to study in Australia should select an agent registered with the Thai International Education Consultants Association (TIECA) in Thailand and the Qualified Education Agent Counsellor Database (QEACP) in the destination country Australia.
2) Prospective international students should also look for education agents which have registered business’ and offices in both their home country and the destination country. 海外留學 In the example used above this would require the agent to have a fixed business address and offices in both Thailand and Australia. By ensuring your education agent has an office in your home country it will be far easier, and probably quicker, to organise the necessary paperwork before you are able to study, including visas and school enrolment. In addition, by checking your education agent has an office in the country you intend to study, for example Australia, you can be assured that when you require support or assistance, with such things as visa renewal, you will be able to access this a lot more easily. More education agents should provide such support services free of charge if you have enrolled with them prior to coming to Australia. It is important to check this however or you may be charged for basic support requirements, such as writing to your school or government departments in relation to visa issues.
3) When looking for a good education agent students should also ensure that the agent they select provides accurate advice regarding educational institutions and does not simply refer you to schools or universities which they receive the largest commission from. For example, some agent have been known to push their students to a small number of schools so as they can receive a larger commission from the schools in question. The best way to ensure this does not occur and that you go to the best school for you, rather than the agent, is to follow Point 1 above and ensure the agent is registered with appropriate authorities. The education agent you select should work with you to discuss your own personal interests and circumstances and from this develop a tailored and individualized study plan for you. For the majority of people this should mean the agent is able to give you a number of alternative study options for you to choose from, rather than just one or two.
Nathan Jones is a Director of The Oak International Education and Training Services, an education agent service, providing a more individualized and alternative choice for Thai students wishing to study abroad in Australia and overseas.
The Oak International Education meets all the above criteria and is a trusted organisation helping students study abroad. We have offices in Bangkok and Ayutthaya Thailand, as well as in Sydney Australia. We are members of TIECA and QEACP ( http://www.pieronline.org/qeac/default.aspx?page=counsellor&agent=3847 ) and can organise all your study needs, including visa applications, health insurance, school enrolments and ongoing free student support in Australia.