Whether you just want to do a semester or an entire program abroad, it’s likely a study abroad essay will be required. Students are beginning to realize what a great opportunity it is to take their studies abroad. Not only is it a great way to make new friends, practice your language skills, and travel while studying, it’s also great to put on a resume. So, it’s no wonder students are lining up to pick their top destinations and programs to study abroad.
To make sure they pick students who are ready and serious about studying abroad, most schools will, therefore, require a study abroad essay. The essay is a chance to make a great first impression and show the university administration that you’re ready to make the commitment to take your education even further by going abroad.
Consider some of the following tips to really make your study abroad essay stand out!
1) Explain Why Study Abroad Will Make a Difference for Your Studies
A lot of students want to study abroad just for the experience and the excitement of living and learning abroad. These are important aspects, of course; however, school administration wants to know why going to your top study abroad destination will make a difference for your education.
Be specific! Explain the impact studying abroad will have on your personal and professional growth. Don’t just highlight how you think you will learn a lot. What do you expect to get from the program specifically? Is there a reason you picked one country over another to study in?
The more specific you are the better. It shows the university that you have given serious thought to your studies and that you are ready for the commitment!
2) Let Them Know Why You Picked Where You Want to Study
Instead of just saying you will study anywhere, as long as it’s abroad, tell the university why you picked your top study abroad destination. Write with enthusiasm and let admissions know what you are excited to see and do in your new home.
Make sure you do the research in advance! Name some museums you would be interested in exploring or some monument you would be interested in seeing. It’s in your favor if you can also tie these back to your study program!
This will show your school that you will not take your study abroad experience for granted, and that you already have things to do to integrate into your new home easier.
3) Describe Why You’re Qualified
Whether you are recently entering college or ready to graduate, your experience says a lot about what you will accomplish on your study abroad. If you want to make your study abroad essay stand out, make sure to make mention of your previous experience.
Mention major academic accomplishments, work experience, or skills that you might find useful abroad, such as knowledge of a second language.
The university knows you will learn a lot during your time abroad, but the more you can bring to the program, the better!
4) Show Your Personality
The best study abroad essays are the ones with a little bit of personality! Your essay should still sound professional, but don’t be afraid to let yourself shine through as well. Studying abroad comes with challenges, and if the university gets a sense you are ready for them, you will move to the top of the list.
Add a personal story about something relevant to living and studying abroad. Describe a time you traveled somewhere new or met a friend from a different country. A well-rounded individual with some experience is the perfect candidate to take their studies overseas.
Showing some enthusiasm while also keeping your expectations realistic is the right way to show the admissions team that you have thought long and hard about your decision to study abroad, and that you are ready to pack up and move abroad.
5) Follow Instructions
It might sound simple, but if you don’t want your study abroad essay to be immediately tossed aside, make sure to read and follow all the instructions given. Some universities will ask specific questions or ask students to format their essays in a particular way.
Don’t ignore these instructions! It’s the first step to making a great impression.
If the essay is open-ended—great! Follow our tips to get inspired. But, if there are specific questions, make sure you answer them clearly and concisely. There might not be any right or wrong answers, but your school will still be looking for students who are able to express themselves and get their point across.
The Perfect Study Abroad Essay
If you followed our advice so far, you’ll be looking at the study abroad essay that’s going to get you into the program of your choice at the study abroad destination of your dreams!
Don't forget to proofread before handing in your essay. If possible, it's great to have someone take a look over it as well, especially if it's a professor or someone who has written a study aborad essay before.
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