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Study Abroad Advice for Iranian Students

Many Iranian students would like to study internationally, but some of them aren’t sure how to study abroad or where to start. Do you need to know which English test to take or how to find scholarships for Iranian students? Are you concerned about the student visa process? Unsure about cultural differences? If you’re interested in pursuing an international education, here is some advice to help you know how to study abroad as an Iranian student in your dream destination.

Keep calm and enjoy your student visa

One of the biggest sources of stress for Iranian international students who aren’t sure about how to study abroad is the visa process. The rules and regulations for obtaining a student visa can change quite rapidly depending on the country you choose to live in. However, there are several things you can do to reduce your stress during the visa process!

  • Research and choose a study abroad destination with clear visa guidelines and requirements that you can meet. When you’re accepted to a program, contact the school for information and resources about the student visa if you’re unsure about the next steps.
  • It is common to apply for a student visa and have an interview at the embassy of the country you would like to study in. If there is no embassy for that country in Iran, you may need to make a trip- so plan ahead!
  • Make sure that you've prepared all required documents before your interview- including any specific forms and receipts for any fees that you've paid.
  • Be on time for the interview, but don’t be nervous! Your admission statement already shows that you are academically qualified. All you need to do is show that you intend on studying, and that you can support yourself financially while you do so.

Once this long process is over, you'll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy your dream destination!

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The admission process takes time

International students need to be organized and punctual when applying for a visa to study abroad. The student visa process takes time and can be frustrating, so it's best to start planning from the first day you apply to a school abroad!

  • After receiving more information about the process, make a checklist of required documents and specifications about passport photos or forms that you’ll need.
  • Create a schedule far in advance to ensure that you collect everything on time.
  • Pay attention to the deadlines, and remember that the sooner you send your documents to the school, the better.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Keep in mind that a lot can happen unexpectedly.

While it is great to do everything you can for the visa in advance, make sure that you are still able to relax and live your life as usual until you hear back from the school. Program admission processes can be slow, and many student visa forms will need proof of admission before the application can be formally processed.

Is an English language test your concern?

Some Iranian international students might be a bit nervous to study in another language. If your study abroad program language is in English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, you will likely need to take an English test. Don’t let this discourage you from studying abroad!

If you want to prepare for the test in Iran, be picky and pay close attention to the accreditations of language preparation courses. Look for well-known courses with a good reputation, or hire a qualified private teacher. You don’t want to waste time and money on courses that won’t get you where you need to go!

When you find a qualified teacher or course, practice as much as you can. Your preparation will pay off immediately as you arrive in your study abroad country, and will improve even further once classes begin!

Are you worried about funding abroad?

Are you worried about living expenses and tuition fees? Depending on your program and country of choice, funding may seem like a significant obstacle. However, once you take some time to do research on how to get a scholarship, you’ll find several opportunities and scholarships for Iranian students that will help you support yourself financially.

Start searching for scholarship information in different countries using our scholarship guide. Your unique perspective as an Iranian international student will be valued by many scholarship committees, but these opportunities will often only surface if you look for them. Some universities even offer specific scholarships for Iranian students. For example, the Iranian Scholarship Foundation offers funding for Iranian international students who want to study undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States. Some countries, such as Norway and Germany, have programs with no or low tuition fees for international students.

As with the visa process, it is also important to start working on scholarship applications with plenty of time to spare. Your application may require a written personal statement or letters of recommendation from your teachers in Iran that will take some time to complete.

Don’t be afraid

Moving to another country by yourself can seem scary. You might not only be asking yourself how to study abroad, but also if you should take the leap, especially if it’s your first time away from home. You might feel like you need to make sure that studying abroad is the right decision for you and your long-term goals.

For some Iranian international students, being away from your familiar life in Iran will be a shock at first. However, the independence and confidence you gain from your study abroad experience will be worth it. By daring to step out of your comfort zone, you will gain a global perspective and intercultural communication skills alongside the content of your study abroad program.

Be open to cultural differences

Iranians know that their cultural heritage is one of the oldest in the world. Your study abroad destination will have its own distinctive traditions, customs, and daily ways of life that will be unfamiliar to you. While you do not need to completely assimilate to another culture, part of knowing how to study abroad is also knowing how to adapt to living alongside people who are very different from you!

When you study abroad, you will meet new people from all over the world who will open your mind to different ways of life, just as you will teach others about the Iranian culture and lifestyle. Be open to cultural differences and see diversity as a way to learn. You will become a cultural ambassador of Iran while immersing yourself in the never-ending array of cultures and subcultures in your new environment.

Be emotionally independent

Family is a strong concept in Iran, and many Iranians rely on the strong emotional support that their family provides. Staying away from your family for a long period of time may be hard to imagine. Your parents might be reluctant to agree to your plans. In order to study abroad, you should be prepared for the possible challenges, especially missing your friends and family. 

Your social experience while studying abroad will help give you the support you need to live in another country on your own. You’ll meet and study with other international students who are also living abroad for the first time, just like you. There may also be communities of Iranians in your study abroad destination to help you feel more connected to home. Remember that missing family is a part of the journey. We all love our families, and it doesn’t make us bad people to leave them to study abroad. Make a plan before you leave to stay in touch with your family and friends at home in order to keep close and update them on your exciting experiences abroad!

Always have a backup plan

It can be difficult to know how to study abroad as an Iranian student when the future is not always certain. Political or economic events outside of your control might affect your plans to study abroad, or it could be possible that your visa or program application might be rejected.

Be prepared and always have a backup plan! Apply to more than one program in at least two different countries, and keep your options open. In this way, you can make sure that no matter what happens, you’ll eventually reach your goal of studying abroad.

Be patient

You should be aware that the whole process of moving abroad requires a lot of effort and patience. As you learn how to study abroad as an Iranian student and prepare yourself to face these possible challenges, keep pushing yourself towards your dream to be an international student abroad! Whether you are deciding on a program or looking for scholarships for Iranian students- never forget what your goals are, and never give up on yourself. Good luck!

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Last update: 28 Jul 2021

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