Study Abroad – rewarding but challenging

Study abroad programs are seen by many students as the best way to broaden your horizons, learn to be independent, make new friends, and study in an international environment. It is often remembered as the best time of your life and a great investment in your future career!

However, choosing what course and where to study abroad can be challenging. There are thousands of universities across Europe and the USA to choose from. Each university offers hundreds of courses, some very similar to the next, within the same faculty.

So, you want to study abroad but where? Do you prefer the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, or maybe somewhere else?

Which American city would suit you and how much will it all cost? Are there scholarships available? Top 100 ranked university, or something more suited to your aspirations? Small friendly city, or a bustling capital?

Relax – we have developed programs to help you decide on all this, so stop worrying and contact Elab!

Study Abroad – how to study abroad?

How to study abroad is a very broad topic requiring specialised advice, or a lot of time to invest in research. Elab uses our Five Steps to Success to help our clients build their profile and understand how to study abroad including what courses and where best to go. How to manage to study abroad requires a deep understanding of:

  • What you want to study abroad and why. Spend some time investigating this area of thought. Elab use diagnostic tests, questionnaires and consultant interviews to fully understand our students needs, aspirations and general profile.
  • Studying abroad costs can be high so what budget do you have to spend and calculate how much this will all cost? Elab will explain this and help as necessary with scholarships and grants or finding universities with free courses. 
  • Understand the options out there. Try to narrow it down. Which continent do you want to study in, and then which countries are of interest. We typically send students to the EUUSA and the UK. The most popular destinations to study abroad are in NetherlandsEnglandUSAScotlandIrelandItaly, or Denmark, but then there are thousands of universities and courses to choose from. Elab will provide a shortlist report of universities and courses based on your needs and together with a consultant help you make the best choice.
  • How do you apply to study abroad and complete all the application documentation within deadlines? Our consultants will support you all the way with setting your account up in the portals, completing documentation, and submission. They are available in our offices, or online, additionally we provide mentors, tutors, webinars, and consultancy advice along the way(See the list of requirements below).
  • How to study abroad also involves learning to cope with living in a new environment based on your final choice from offers received. Elab will help you find accommodation, plus with your consultant or student mentor provide lots of information on things like, opening bank accounts, visas, and local healthcare.

Study Abroad – Choosing a course to study

Choosing a course to study abroad might appear a simple decision, but in reality, you have to consider a whole variety of factors before you put pen to paper. All of that before you start to fill out your university application formsChoosing a course to study for three years of full-time study is a commitment. Furthermore, it is not easy to transfer from one course to another. Do not assume that you can simply change your mind six weeks into your university life.

However, by the time you are in your final two years at secondary school, you should have a good idea of the subjects you are interested in and excel at. Your educational path may not be narrow, but it has certainly been narrowed, and you still have many options when it comes to choosing what to study at university.

Studying abroad – choosing what to study in Europe 

From the EU or UK perspective, if you want to become a vet, you should study veterinary medicine. Moreover, you are more likely to find work in financial services if you have a degree in accounting and finance. However, do not forget that there are professions where having a degree, any degree, will help you enter an industry. There are many graduate admission schemes in administration and public services. For example, demonstrating that you have completed higher education shows that you have critical thinking and communication abilities.

Studying abroad – choosing what to study in the USA 

Studying abroad and choosing what to study in the USA is very different from how it is done in Europe. In the USA undergraduate students follow either a mandatory Core Curriculum, or design their course based on an Open Curriculum. Students at American universities are given until the end of their second year to choose the majors in which they wish to study further and specialise. This means that applying to a specific university is more important than committing to a course, at the application stage. Given the fact that students can and do explore a whole range of topics and fields in the first year, they are less likely to find choosing subjects to study further an issue. They will have met the professors, done the background reading, attended lectures, and taken part in workshops. After that, they will be in a strong position to decide to choose a specific course to study.

Study Abroad – most popular courses 

For those students who have decided to study abroad, what are the most popular courses? Elab has sent thousands of students to study abroad. From experience the most popular courses to study are:

  • Business & Management
  • Finance
  • Medicine
  • Bio Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Arts & Design
  • Creative Arts
  • IT
  • AI & Video Game Design

The number of applications you can make each academic year is limited, either by the country, or by how much time you have to invest, so it is essential to sit down and think about the direction you wish to take, whether or not you will meet the academic requirements for admission, and if the most popular course will improve your career prospects in your preferred area.

Other popular courses to study abroad that you can consider applying for include: 

  • Advertising
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • Hospitality and travel management
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Veterinary sciences
  • Healthcare

Large retailers often run graduate schemes. So do oil and energy companies, banks, IT, and companies such as Google and Microsoft, and many airlines. Graduate schemes expect applicants to have excellent academic results. Not only that but also related extracurricular activities and some job experience. Competition for places is keen, so make sure you start researching potential employers at the end of your second year at university. You should also go to any job fairs where you can make your interest known.  Provide evidence of your enthusiasm for languages through voluntary or extra-curricular activities. Be proactive!

Study overseas with Elab

Study Abroad – Postgraduate studies

Wanting to study postgraduate level abroad is a good idea if you have completed studies locally and want international exposure. Whilst most Masters programmes are a continuation of your studies, lasting a further one or two years, MBA typically require two or three years relevant business experience and the required GMAT or GRE score depending on the quality of the institution.

Postgraduate studies abroad will definitely broaden your knowledge and change your way of thinking after finishing your home studies you will be exposed to teaching methods and course content that is entirely different from your experience to date.

Investing in postgraduate studies in English abroad whilst quite expensive is generally cost-effective in the long run.

Study Abroad – which country

Study abroad programs are a great idea but which country to choose? Why not enjoy the vibrancy of Italy, the charm of Cambridge, or the freedom of California?

The NetherlandsIreland, and Denmark are also very popular and tuition fees very reasonable or in the case of Denmark free for EU nationals. Choosing in which country to study for you can be tricky with so much choice. Culture, cost, and available courses are the first concern however after weighing it all up you must be prepared to live in this new temporary home for the next three or four years.

Where to study abroad when there are so many countries to choose from? Elab’s consultants will run through the various options depending on your particular interests. Studying abroad is a question of personal choice. Below are some general comments on some of the more popular country choices of where to study abroad:

Study Abroad – Study in the Netherlands 

Study abroad in the Netherlands offers an expanding range of English taught programmes at a number of world class universities in a beautiful and safe country close to the heart of Europe. One of the main drawing cards of the Netherlands for EU students is lower tuition fees, proximity to home, and a big international community. Study in the Netherlands is a very popular choice for students.

When considering study abroad and whether to study in the Netherlands one has to think of the great universities the country has to offer. Examples are:  Leiden University  and the University of Amsterdam. But what about all the beautiful cities to choose from?  Groningen in the north of the Netherlands has been voted the best city to study in the Netherlands and the EU as a whole. Leiden is another beautiful small city in the South, while Amsterdam and Rotterdam have great universities in cultural centres of the Netherlands

Study in the Netherlands does offer a wide range of courses with business, engineering, and IT in English proving very popular. Whilst the application can be relatively straight-forward there are several processes particular to the Netherlands and the more challenging the course, the more challenging the applicationContact Elab for more information.


Study Abroad – Study in Ireland 

Study in Ireland offers an attractive alternative to studying on the mainland with it being English-speaking, with low or zero tuition fees, and a lively social life. Considered one of the friendliest countries in Europe, Ireland offers a mix of world-class universities such as Trinity College in Dublin and the more relaxed but still reasonably ranked universities such as Cork or Galway offering great education and a vibrant student life.

Whilst some may complain about the weather, study in Ireland more than makes up for it with such a warm, good-natured culture that loves nature, literature, and ancient history. The cost of living is reasonable by European standards and travel across Ireland, to the UK, or to Europe is a simple matter.

Another benefit of deciding to study in Ireland is the career opportunities available on graduationIreland punches above its weight economically and this will only grow post-Brexit thanks to its use of English language, close ties with the USA, and business-friendly tax treaties or allowances. Many global companies have business centres in Ireland offering great career opportunities for the more ambitious students not ready to rush home quite yet. 


Study Abroad – Study in England

Study abroad in England is very popular after the USA and Australia for foreign students. It offers world-class tuition and a history of global excellence in the education sectorStudy in England has the largest number of English-speaking universities in Europe and the widest range of English language courses. Prior to Brexit and the availability of student loans, this was by far the most popular destination for European students to study abroad. However many ambitious students still wanting to study abroad choose to study in England and enjoy a world-class education and broader career options.

Choosing to study abroad and study in England opens the door to a wide range of fantastic universities to choose fromOxfordCambridgeImperial College London, and University College London are ranked in the top 10 universities in the world according to the latest QS rankings. The Russell Group of universities includes many other top 100 world-ranked universities.

Studying in England is expensive; however, it is well worth it if you can afford it, plus you will be able to work in your spare time while studying.

London is naturally a very popular choice of place to choose to study abroad, however, many other cities in England and across the UK offer other fantastic choices to study in smaller, close knit communities such as Durham or Warwick.

Elab’s consultants will help you choose a range of universities best suited for you to enjoy all the benefits of choosing to study abroadWe have helped 1,000’s of students to receive great offers.


Study Abroad – Study in Scotland 

Study abroad and study in Scotland has become a popular choice for European students based on lower tuition fees post Brexit but with the same top class education and a vibrant student lifeScotland – It is estimated over 50,000 students from all over the world study in Scotland.

Study abroad in Scotland has its own unique characteristics. The country enjoys breath-taking landscapes, the locals are super-friendly, and the culture-rich, is noisy, and colorful. Scottish institutions work in a collaborative way to give students the best hands-on experience in marine centers or on archeological sites, also by sharing technological materials. Scottish universities are amongst the world leaders in research and have a rich history of modern developments, especially in medical science. Scottish students produce more academic research papers per head than anywhere in the world!

So if you want to study in Scotland then The University of EdinburghUniversity of GlasgowUniversity of St AndrewsUniversity of Aberdeen or Heriot-Watt are a great choice of universities to name just a few. Plus Scotland has scholarships and grants available subject to eligibility.

Study Abroad - maybe Scotland? Foreign students recommend studying in Scotland! According to a survey by the Scottish government, 94% of international students in Scotland said it was a good place to be, and 86% of Scottish students would recommend it to others. Clearly a good choice!

Study Abroad – Study in Italy 

Study in Italy is a wonderful option. The charm of Italy attracts a large number of foreign students, many of whom are part of the Erasmus programme. It is a country steeped in history and culture with more UNESCO heritage sites, than any other country. Then there is the food, wine, mountains, beaches, and beautiful weather. Whatever you are looking for in your studies Italy has it all!

Tuition fees to study in Italy are low and financial assistance is available for those in need. Whilst Rome, Milan, and Bologna are reasonably expensive cities to live in, other beautiful cities such as Pisa, Padua, Bari, or Turin are more affordable. 

So what English courses could you choose to study in Italy and how do I apply? There are many courses in English available including fashion, architecture, computer science, and medicine. Whilst such a culturally-rich destination offering low-cost courses is naturally of great interest, the application process and communication with Italian admission departments can be tough. It is not a hands-off automated process.

Thankfully if you want to study in Italy Elab has offices in Milan and Rome with great staff happy to help you.  

Study Abroad - Is Italy best for studying? Italy is a popular destination for international students. It offers quality higher education with more affordable tuition fees than other Western European countries. There are around 32,000 international students in Ital yeach year and the numbers are growing

Study Abroad – Study in the USA 

Looking to study abroad in the USA can be daunting with almost 5,000 colleges and universities to choose from. However, it is a wonderful problem to have with such a wide range of world-class institutions available.

Study in the USA has everything to offer if you can afford it. Tuition fees can range from $25,000  – $60,000 per annum. Having said that there are scholarships or financial aid available for admitted students if financial need can be clearly demonstrated and justified. Sports scholarships are available for the best athletes selected under Elab’s Sport USA programs.

As would be expected, studying aborad in the USA offers world class facilities in beautiful surroundings. Classroom technology is first class and the campus grounds are spacious and well maintained. The method of education differs from that of Europe with students starting with a general core or open curriculum and then picking their majors, or specializations, after their second year of study.  Study programs are more engaging, relaxed, and relevant. Courses are creative and focused on problem-solving. Cultural diversity in the classroom is actively encouraged in the admission process to broaden views, learnings, and debate on global issues.

The application process to study in the USA 

The application process to study in the USA is different from the approach used in Europe, and more time consuming. So start early. There is no limit to the number of applications and they are made directly to the university/college, or often via the Common App system typically with a January deadline. However, these deadlines can differ and need to be checked individually with the institution.

Documents required to involve items such as transcripts, references, SAT/GRE/GMAT results, additional essays, personal statements, and English language proficiency results (e.g. TOEFL). Elab consultants will again check the requirements with selected universities or colleges once the study path and target applications are chosen as they will differ between institutions, and prepare a detailed plan to get the best results.   

To shed more light on studying in the USA please read our great Blogs about:

The above are just a few of the great universities in the USA however, there is a wide range of universities to suit any students abilities or aspirations. Give Elab a call and we will help you create the perfect list for you. 

Study Abroad -Is America good for students? The US is still the best choice for international students and this is largely because of the prestige of having a US-certified university degree. Higher study programs in the US are known for their exceptional standard of quality in terms of learning experiences, intellectual rigor, and innovative practices.

Study Abroad – Study in Denmark 

Studying in Denmark is a popular choice amongst our students and why not with free education for EU students, happy locals, and a great social welfare system. Danes have a down to earth, practical way of approaching life and their education system is no different. Danish higher education works closely with local industry and other businesses to ensure students have an immersive education and gain practical experience for later life.

Despite the fact the Danish government has recently significantly reduced the availability of undergraduate places in courses taught in English, there are still some great universities with English speaking courses for EU students wanting to study abroad.

  • The beautiful Aarhus University on the Jutland Peninsula offers business, management and cognitive science degrees. 
  • Many international students head to Copenhagen Business School considered one of the best business schools in Europe
  • The University of Southern Denmark is a relatively new university by European standards yet offers a number of degrees in English including Engineering, Humanities, and Business and Social Studies.

Study abroad in Denmark offers a good education with zero tuition fee options in a happy and safe country close to home. Don’t forget your living costs though! 

Study in Denmark with Elab Education agency number 1 in studying abroad

Study Abroad – Costs & Scholarships

Study Abroad costs are determined by a number of factors so it is important to have a good idea about your budget before beginning the process of narrowing down the options to match your budget and balance that with your needs, wants, and aspirations.

Study abroad costs include both tuition fees and your everyday living costs, which differ from country to country and then city to city.

University tuition fees can range from free/no fees to extremely expensive. Here are some guidelines for studying abroad costs, however it all depends on the final country choice, your course, and available scholarships and grants:

Study in the USA has everything to offer for those who can afford it. Tuition fees can range from $25,000  – $60,000 

Denmark:                   Free for EU nationals

Netherlands:             EUR 2,200

Ireland:                       EUR 3,000

Italy:                            EUR 4,000

UK:                               GBP 11,000 – GBP 40,000

USA:                             USD 25,000 – USD 60,000


However, there is a paradox to study abroad costs. Some of the best universities in the world, namely the US Ivy League, offer full scholarships however, getting accepted is extremely difficult. Alternatively, it is much easier to study abroad for free as an EU resident in countries such as AustriaDenmarkGermany, or France but is that the best choice for you? While these countries offer some great universities, there is not the depth of course choice that the typically more expensive options like the UK or the USA have to offer. In addition, some highly ranked universities and specialised courses have higher tuition fees for that very reason – high ranking, first rate facilities, great demand for places, better career path.

When thinking whether to study abroad and costs, students should not forget that university is about an investment in your future and costs are only one element of the equation. The benefits in the marketplace after graduation from a prestigious university is far greater than graduating from what could be classified as a cheap or easy option. We all don’t have the luxury of a wide choice however, Elab will work hard to get each student into the best university available which meets our student’s profile.    

Study Abroad – For free 

Study abroad for free is an option however requires further investigation and understanding. Some countries such as DenmarkAustriaNorwaySwedenGermany, and France do offer zero tuition fees however the range of courses in English and places may be limited.

Many students do study abroad for free however, the application process is still quite complicated and students must also consider the living costs. For example the study abroad costs in Norway and Sweden are relatively high. There are interesting alternatives with very reasonable tuition fees to consider in the NetherlandsIreland, and Italy.

Study abroad in the USA can also technically be for free however, students still need to complete a complex application process and meet certain criteria to obtain scholarships (see below).

Study Abroad – Scholarships 

Scholarships, grants and loans are available in many countries and individual universities including some of the more prestigious destinations with higher fees such as the US and UK.

The Netherlands and Ireland have low fees but in certain cases they also providesprovide further financial support by way of scholarships and grants.

Italy only offers support based on the family’s financial capabilities after placement in a university which can be a little troubling if applying to a more expensive private university or for a specialised course and you want to have a clearer picture of your final budget.

However, the study abroad scholarships and grants available vary country by country together with eligibility and deadlines. Contact a professional company like Elab to assist you further.

Study Abroad – Living abroad 

Studying and living abroad requires a different mindset than just flying off for a two-week seaside break during your summer holidays. You will be studying and living in a foreign country for three to four years and will be creating a temporary home from home, where you can relax, work and socialise. You need to consider two things: how to organise the practical details and how to become emotionally ready to start your adventure. 

Study Abroad – Four Important Steps 

Four obvious but vital steps to take when preparing to study and live abroad:

  1. Sort out your accommodation – student residence or rental
  2. Check that your passport is valid and that you have a visa – if necessary
  3. Look at scholarship possibilities and apply before the deadline
  4. Read through the course syllabus and modules. Buy your course books
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Living abroad – Get emotionally ready 

You have probably spent your whole life up to this point surrounded by family and a close circle of friends who know you well and with whom you feel comfortable and at ease. Now, you are faced with meeting strangers and forging new relationships and, particularly in the first few weeks on campus, you might feel a little lost or lonely. Don’t worry, this will soon pass after you start living abroad.

Now that you have decided to study and live abroad get involved! Universities organise fresher weeks so that you can mix and mingle with your peers, find shared interests, join clubs and societies and start to build a network. By the time the first month is over, you will know exactly where to go for your classes, you will have found the cosiest seat in the library, the best café in the area and got involved in sports, drama, cinema clubs or debating groups – whatever you enjoy. If you have decided to live in student accommodation, then the chances are that you will start meeting up with your fellow students in the communal kitchen, cook together and plan shared outings. If you are in residential accommodation, your flat mates will soon start stealing your milk and getting to know you over mugs of tea.

Don’t forget that these days, it is cheap and easy to keep in touch with people you miss. If you suddenly feel nostalgic WhatsApp and Zoom allow you to call home for free, to see friendly, familiar faces


Study abroad – University Life 

When living and studying abroad make sure you sort out a local SIM card once you arrive at your destination. You will usually need to show proof of address, bank statements, and personal ID to get a contract. Shop around and check to see if there are any student discounts available before choosing a provider. And don’t forget to send your new number to the people you want to talk.

Remain positive. Try to focus on why you decided to study abroad and live in another country. You are here because it is an amazing opportunity to familiarise yourself with a different culture, to get a degree in a subject you love and to take the first step down your chosen career path. Your horizons are expanding, and many exciting experiences are just round the corner, waiting for you. Look for opportunities while studying abroad as perhaps you will discover a love of cross-country skiing in NorwaySweden or Finland? Maybe you will decide to pick up flamenco dancing in Spain or finally get round to learning how to ride a bike, and join the thousands of other students in the Netherlands who cannot imagine a life without wheels. You are the author of your own, personal adventure if you study abroad, so go out there and live it.

University life is exhilarating and full of possibilities. One day, you will look back and, like so many others before you, say: “those were the best days of my life”.

Studying abroad is not only about educational and cultural experiences. It looks great on your resume as it provides excellent career opportunities. You will learn so much from your time abroad besides the local language and your specific area of study.

Study Abroad – application requirements

Applying to study abroad has specific requirements based on country, university and course. Generally, there are some common requirements, however, universities require a lot more than this, and formats and deadlines must be met:

  • As most applications close before you finish high school, your high school grades are a frequent requirement for the application – usually your second-and third-year grades in the four-year high school system and sometimes your predicted grades for your final year.
  • If you are writing the high school diploma requirements to study abroad include your “Świadectwo ukończenia Liceum”, “Świadectwo Dojrzałości” “diploma di maturità” sworn translated into English, and an English certificate proving your proficiency in the language.
  • IB students are often exempt from the English certificate, but you still need to confirm this on an individual basis with the university you will be applying to.
  • Additional entry exams – these vary depending on the course you want to study and the country you are applying to. Examples of extra exams you might be asked to partake in include:
    • SAT 
    • GMAT 
    • ACT 
    • TOLC (the TOLC exam has many variants for different courses, the TOLG-E, TOLC-I etc.) or the OMPT-a (Netherlands), but these will also be clearly stated in the application requirements.
    • Medicine entrance exams 
  • Personal statement – this is written by you to show you are the right candidate for the University and course you want to apply to. The usual length is around one-page A4 (400-500 words). However, there is an art to this and Elab provides support and instructions.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) – this is a snapshot of your education, professional experience, skills and any additional activities that you have been part of. The usual length is one A4 page, however, two pages are also widely accepted.
  • References – these are filled out by your teachers and their form varies. 
  • Other documents may also be required, and you need to check the course-specific requirements for your course.

Study abroad requirements also vary by country for example

  • Most Italian universities only look at your high school grades and you just need to pass your Matura after receiving an offer from the university.
  • Universities in the UK give out conditional offers based on your predicted grades, and the equivalent Matura/ diploma di maturità requirements you need to obtain to fulfil your offer and secure your place (this will usually be in the form of markes obtained in three advanced subjects and the overall (average) score. Some courses require specific advanced subjects at matura/ diploma di maturità.
  • Denmark for example requires a specific number of hours in subjects for some of their courses. It may turn out, that in order to study Business at the Copenhagen Business School you will need 200+ hours of math throughout your high school program, so be on the lookout and check well in advance.

Study abroad requirements appear difficult however, this is an investment in your future and well worth the effort. Elab continues to successfully help hundreds of students and their parents with applications through our Five Steps to Success program

Study Abroad – IELTS & TOFL Exams

Study abroad on a university course or high school taught in English  normally require an English certificate, (with some exemptions). Below are the most commonly accepted English exams in Europe:

  • IELTS – the IELTS exam is split into reading, writing, listening, and speaking and you will get a grade for each section together with an overall score (average of the sub-scores ranging from 1 to 9). Typical requirements for an undergraduate degree are a 6.0 average with a minimum of 5.5 in each section, however if you are planning to study in an English-speaking country these may be higher – 6.5 overall with 5.5/6 in each sub-section. The exams cost is around PLN 770 and it is conducted frequently. Elab provides tutors to help students improve their scores and pass the exam
  • TOEFL – the TOEFL exam is split into the same sub-sections as IELTS: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with each section being graded out of 30 points for an overall maximum score of 120 points. Typical requirements for an undergraduate degree vary from around 75 in the Netherlands and Italy, to up to 95 in the United Kingdom. Elab will confirm requirements in the application planning step in our Five Steps to Success.
  • Other English certificates include the Cambridge English Language Assessment (CAE – Cambridge English Advanced), as well as the Pearson English Language Test (PTE) – these are less common, and we recommend checking whether these exams are accepted for your application. 

Study Abroad – Applying with Elab’s support

To ensure we match students with a university and course suiting their ambitions and aspirations we use our unique five steps approach which begins with building your profile.

  • Each year we help young students send out over 1,200 glossy, well-prepared applications to study abroad.
  • At the end of Elab’s Five Steps to Success application process we make sure you and all our other applicants find the best suited course in a great location.

So why not come to Elab and meet one of our friendly consultants and tell us your concerns. We promise an informative session and will explain what programs we have available and how we can help you!

  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
Enjoyyour studies abroad!
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