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What does it take to study abroad as a mature-aged student?

Perhaps you’re well past your university years, but you still yearn for the joy of learning something new

Studying as a mature-aged student is a common path for many, be that for a late career change, or simply pursuing an interest that you now have time to devote towards.

Taking one step further, perhaps you could take your studies abroad? Unlike a younger cohort, studying abroad doesn’t have to be a glorified holiday, it’s a chance to push yourself and improve your skills both professionally and personally whilst exploring a new country or city. Here’s some points to consider before taking the leap:

Research courses and institutions that suit your circumstances

There are many options for mature-aged students to take up study, so if you can’t give up all responsibilities and head abroad, you could try a short-term study course, which can span as little as a couple of weeks. Or you could invest in a more immersive experience by taking a summer study abroad program, or even a whole university semester to earn that degree you’ve always wanted.

Short-term course options could mean taking up a language course in Spain or Italy, which many programs around the world offer people of all ages and abilities. Besides, Italy is known for being a great place for those looking to retire abroad, so why not take it one step further and learn the language while you’re there?

Long term study could mean enrolling in a university course (either full-time or part-time depending on what your limits and responsibilities are) in your home country and then applying to study abroad through your institution. This can vary according to institution so it’s best to do some research into the course you’d like to study and whether the university (whether in your city or online) offers the option to study abroad.

Entry requirements and managing finances

Once you’ve considered the commitment involved in selecting a course, it’s time to apply and pay any tuition fees. Depending on where you go international students often need to pay their tuition fees upfront, not to mention the extra costs like textbooks – along with the expenses of moving overseas. It can be a little more expensive to study abroad but what better time in life to immerse yourself in a new experience. 

Of course, transferring lump sums like a rental deposit for your new home or a semester’s worth of tuition can be made easier by using an international money transfer specialist like OFX. With smaller margins on the exchange rates compared to the banks and a simple process to transfer, it makes that aspect of studying abroad more affordable.

As for applying to a course, when looking at short-term options, it’s best to investigate the specific requirements of the program provider and whether there are any restrictions or specific conditions. For a longer-term commitment to a university course, entry requirements can vary greatly and require extensive research. Some courses have primarily academic requirements like previous study or English language proficiency, and sometimes previous work experience can count too. Others may require something like a portfolio of work, or an interview as part of the application.

Studying abroad doesn’t have to be restricted to the younger generation. In fact, sadly, many simply wouldn’t have the appreciation for the opportunity that a mature student would. For many older adults, studying abroad can be a great opportunity to expand on previous knowledge, or a chance to learn an entirely new skill altogether. With the ability to travel more readily available than ever, hitting the books doesn’t have to stay local either. Why not really expand your horizons this year and make the leap to study abroad?  After all, no matter what stage we are in life, we should never stop learning.

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