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A step-by-step study abroad guide by IDP

With close to 50 years of experience and almost 500,000 students placed around the world, IDP Education has the experience to help you find the perfect country, school, and home abroad. 

IDP can be your guide throughout the process of becoming an international student—from choosing the right course and school, to school and visa application assistance and even pre-departure support.

If you’re wondering where to begin your journey, here’s a step-by-step guide to turning your study abroad dream into reality:

1. Research

What subject areas are you most interested in? In what city do you want to study? What are your considerations in choosing a school?

It’s best if you can do your research first and come up with a wish list before going to IDP. Our advice is to look at some course descriptions, university reviews, and their locations. Narrow down your choices according to your priorities and preferences. IDP.com’s course and school finder features will be a huge help in narrowing these down.

You can also talk to your friends and family who have studied overseas. Social media is a great tool for crowdsourcing. With one Facebook post, you can get helpful tips and recommendations from people who have experienced studying or living abroad.  

Having said all these, don’t trust everything you read online. Always consider the fact that some comments or reviews might have been influenced by a single negative or positive personal experience. Remember, different people have different preferences. Just because someone you know likes a certain experience, it doesn’t mean you will. This is where IDP comes in—to help you get accurate and non-biased advice.

2. Speak to an IDP Counsellor

Once you have your wish list, you can book an appointment with an IDP Counsellor. You can do this online or by visiting our office. Our Counsellors are all experienced and certified. They can share not only their expertise in the field, but also their first-hand study abroad experiences, as several of them have been international students themselves.

Your IDP Counsellor will take every detail on your wish list into consideration when giving advice and will do what it takes to find a good match and set you up for success.

3. Submit your application 

Once you’ve decided your course and school, you can start working on your application. This process can be long and tedious, but IDP will be there every step of the way. Your Counsellor will personally contact your chosen school and support your application to improve chances of acceptance. We follow the strictest legal and ethical standards in doing so.

Most schools in English-speaking countries require an English test from foreign students. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test for study, work and migration. IELTS results are recognised by more than 10,000 organisations, including educational institutions, employers, professional associations and governments. 

IDP is a proud co-owner of IELTS, and administers the test in the Philippines.

4. Accept your offer

Upon submission of your application and requirements, the school will do an assessment and notify you of the result. It can take a few weeks or longer depending on the school and your chosen program. This waiting period can be extremely stressful; it’s normal to feel anxious. Know that IDP is here as support, and your Counsellor is one call away if you need any assistance.

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a letter of offer and an acceptance form. Your IDP Counsellor will carefully explain these documents and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before accepting the offer. In the event that you are accepted into more than one school, we will do our best to lay out your options to help make the right decision.

Note that all international students in Australia are required to have health insurance. IDP can provide the assistance that you need to choose the right insurance for you.

5. Practice your English skills

If English is not your first language, you must practice speaking it on a regular basis to improve your communication skills. Remember, most of the people you will be dealing with in school are native English speakers. If you don’t practice, you might not be able to keep up with what your teachers are saying. It could be helpful to watch English news or talk shows, reading books or listening to podcasts to familiarize yourself with the accents and vernacular.

One fun thing to do is learning the local slang in your destination. There are several online sources that describe the differences between Australian, British, and American English.

6. Apply for a student visa

You are one step away from becoming an international student! At this point, you have to apply for a student visa. A student visa is an endorsement by the immigration authorities on your passport. It indicates that you are allowed to enter the country and stay to study for a specified period of time. 

There are several and strict requirements in order to obtain a student visa. At IDP, we provide visa application assistance for those who wish to study in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. 

Learn more about visa application requirements.

7. Ready, steady, go!

And…you are all set! Congratulations on this new adventure and thank you for letting IDP become part of your international academic journey. 

Know that while waiting for you flight, you can still consult your IDP Counsellor on matters such as exchanging money, insurance, SIM cards, and opening a bank account. 

We host regular pre-departure sessions throughout the year to help prepare you for student life in your new country.

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