Complete guide for those who want to study abroad

The dream of studying abroad feeds the imagination of most students and curiosity about what life is like abroad, too. And, so much desire is justified! The presence of a foreign institution adds weight to your curriculum, not to mention the incalculable experience of living a culture different from yours!

However, before embarking, several factors must be taken into account in this decision, from which country to choose to what you will miss when you are there. After all, this is literally an immense change in your life and the more you prepare, the better! Climate, culture, cost of living, work and leisure options are some of the items considered.

For this reason, Escola Educação has prepared a basic guide for those who want to study abroad.

Index [ hide ]

  • What to consider before making an exchange
  • What are the exchange options?
  • What documentation is required for exchange?
  • How do I organize my finances?
  • How to find the perfect accommodation?
  • Exchange terms you need to know
  • Most wanted countries and living costs
  • What will I miss when I live abroad?

What to consider before making an exchange

Some factors must be taken into account before embarking on an experience abroad. First, what is your goal? High school, graduation, specialization, improving your language or having a work experience in another country?

Then, analyze how long you can be away. This will be paramount in your choice because it will be based on the type of course, which country to choose, in addition to the expenses you may have while living abroad.

What are the exchange options?

High School: the student spends an academic year studying at high schools abroad. Usually, he stays with a family who, before receiving him, goes through an entire evaluation process.

Graduation: you will take your higher education abroad. For admission, the institutions ask for the application process, in which the student sends a real dossier for acceptance.

Language courses: can last from four weeks to a year, depending on the level you want to reach. Options include tuition, materials and different types of accommodation.

Postgraduate studies: specializations, masters and doctorates are on this list. The duration depends on the type of course and is usually two years.

Internship: includes professional exchanges, in which the student experiences his area of ​​expertise in another country. The duration varies according to the type of program and can reach two years.

Work and study: involves studying the language and work. The most common are Au Pair (nanny), work in restaurants, hotels and resorts.

What documentation is required for exchange?

This will depend, quite a lot, on the type of exchange. But, the first step is to get your passport and visa, necessary to leave Brazil and enter another country (as a student). It is also necessary to receive the letter of acceptance from the school, in addition to providing the documents requested by her (application letter, tests, history, among others).

Also, have travel insurance and international vaccination card, very requested.

How do I organize my finances?

The decision to live abroad involves a main issue: money! If you do not have high financial resources, you need to use support, such as student financing. Some exchange students also bet on online kitties and programs offered by their home institutions.

But, the concern with finances should not be restricted to when leaving Brazil. Check the cost of living in the country where you live, more affordable housing options (if not included in your program), cheaper places to shop, discount coupons, among others. The ideal is to keep in touch with natives who always have good tips.

How to find the perfect accommodation?

The accommodation part usually generates a lot of stress for exchange students. So, to prevent this from happening to you, consider the following factors:

  • the selection process, starting to think about the options available, taking into account important details, such as the location
  • check application deadlines for student accommodation
  • delimit your budget, considering how much you have available for housing and extra expenses
  • find out if the options analyzed include extra expenses, such as internet or even if they do not cause unforeseen expenses
  • confirm the duration of the contracts and whether the tenants ask them to vacate on specific dates
  • see items you don’t give up, like accommodation types, bathrooms, etc.

Exchange terms you need to know

See a summary of the main expressions used when talking about living abroad to clarify:

Types of institution: you can find, among the options, three types of institutions. University (the institution itself, which offers several courses, with USP, UFG, UFRJ), College (the faculty, that is, the unit that offers the course, such as Faculty of Letters, Faculty of Communication) and Polytechinics (institutions more focused for the labor market, such as FI’s).

Application: this is the one you’ll see. It is the set of documents that you will use to register your application, such as tests, documentation, forms and essays. It can be sent to the chosen institution or via unified platforms.

Primary and secondary courses: Academic Major (concentration) and Minor (secondary field). These are the main and additional degrees that the student can take while there.

Tuition fee: annual fees, semi-annuals or monthly fees charged by institutions. Some may include accommodation and food.

Counselor: bringing to our reality, represents the school’s advisor or coordinator. It is the professional who helps in the preparation of applications and provision of the necessary documentation for presentation.

Application deadlines: if you send your application in the regular application calendar, normally, in March or April, you are making a Regular Decision. But if you do it in advance, in November, for example, you will be presenting an Early Decision.

Admissions Office: this is where your acceptance or refusal to study at the institution will come from. This department will evaluate candidates through a team of specialized professionals.

Personal Statement: it is the text in which you introduce yourself and tell motivations and interests, that is, why you want to study there and how you can contribute. It works like a well-crafted cover letter.

Essay: all the written part that is part of your application process. The essay includes the Personal Statement, supplements by specific topics (Supplementary Essay), essays and responses.

Recommendation Letter: is the letter of recommendation issued by your home entity, and can be written by a teacher, advisor or director. In it, that person will introduce you, describing your professional and academic skills and qualities.

Transcript: better known as transcript. Easy right?

Extracurricular Activity: do you know that volunteer program, pieces you participated in, fairs, tutoring, workshops, among other things you did during your course? So, everything comes in here, in the field of extracurricular activities.

Standardized Tests: these are standardized tests, that is, tests that can be ordered to complement your application. Include SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT, TOEFL and IELTS.

SAT: very common in the United States, it evaluates three areas of knowledge, namely, Critical Reading (language and interpretation of texts), Math (mathematics) and Writing (writing). It can be carried out in complementary exams, such as the SAT Subject Test or SAT II, ​​which will evaluate the subjects you have mastered.

TOEFL: an old acquaintance of those who study English, Test Of English as a Foreign Language measures your ability to use and understand the language at the academy. Evaluates Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

ACT: also very common in the USA, evaluates the areas of Text Interpretation, Mathematics, Scientific Reasoning (Science Reasoning) and English, in addition to optional writing.

IELTS: the International English Language Testing System is the British English Toefl. It has the academic and General Training Version, for work experiences.

Aid: good word, right? You will hear a lot about Need-based financial aid (offered according to family income), Financial Aid (provided by institutions that support students in expenses and training) and Merit based financial aid (based on student merit).

Financial consideration: it refers to the fact that the evaluation committee considers, or not, its financial need in its application process. It depends, most of the time, on the institution’s ability to assist the newcomers. Therefore, you will see the expressions Need-aware College or University (when considering the financial situation) and Need-blind college or university.

Most wanted countries and living costs


The country is highly sought after by undergraduate and graduate students due to its reputation for investing in foreign talent, in addition to the high level of its institutions. The cost of living, too, is not among the highest. The government estimates that a student spends 700 euros a month, expenses easily covered by scholarships.

New Zealand

The country has a high cost of living, with expenses measured per week. The most expensive services are housing and food. Therefore, students choose to share an apartment and cook at home. On average, the cost of living, considering all expenses, is NZD 400 to NZD 500 per week.


The country, too, has a good number of foreign students due to its receptivity and level of education. The cost of living is high, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane has the second cheapest cost of living in the country. A student’s weekly expenses in Australia can vary between 140 and 525 Australian dollars.


Champion of applications, the cost of living in the United States depends on the city where you live. Large centers, such as New York and Los Angeles, have higher costs, while the interior is usually cheaper. On average, a student has a weekly cost between USD 181 and USD 208 for food, transportation, housing and general expenses.


Despite the high level of quality of life, Canada tends to be cheaper than other countries, such as the United States. Of course, monthly costs are relative, but on average, a student has monthly expenses of 1,200 Canadian dollars, considering all expenses and sharing an apartment with someone.


It is one of the most sought after destinations by Brazilians. Like other countries, the cost of living will depend on the city chosen. Dublin is the most expensive, while alternatives like Cork, Limerick and Galway are more affordable (and equally beautiful). Monthly expenses can reach 580 euros, including housing, food and general expenses.


Another country very chosen by Brazilians and, in which, the cost of living will depend on the city chosen. In big cities, like Lisbon, everything can be more expensive and the student can have, on average, monthly expenses of 845 euros. In interior cities, the cost drops to around 630 euros per month.


Amazingly, France is not among the most expensive countries in the world for a student to live. On average, monthly expenses are around 500 to 600 euros per month. But, there is the possibility to count on housing assistance provided by the government, which can be from 80 to 180 euros.


Another very popular country, but that has a high cost of living. Accommodation costs on average £ 150 a week. In addition, 104 pounds a week for other expenses. In short, save £ 800 to £ 1000 a month to live in the UK.

What will I miss when I live abroad?

This part, of course, is quite random, just to give that relaxed. Obviously, what you will miss most is your family and friends. But other than that, keep in mind that, living abroad ..

  1. Even if you find a cheese bread, it won’t taste the same as the one made by your mother, grandmother or for sale at any bakery here
  2. Medication, it’s good to take yours, because the formulas manipulated in another country may be different from the Brazilian ones
  3. Brigadier like ours, there isn’t! The others may even try, but nothing compares!
  4. Forget food by the pound! This wonder is only here!
  5. Try splitting that sneaker of the hour on the card! The cashier will laugh! So, know this when you spend that little shopping

Of course, all of this is just a joke! The experience of living abroad is very enriching! It has its roots, of course, because you will experience another culture far from everyone you know. But, you will come back with a heavy baggage that is priceless, in addition to a lot of history to tell!

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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