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The unofficial guide to applying for study abroad at Glasgow Uni

Because everyone needs some more help than what’s on the Moodle


Have you been considering going abroad next year? Are you already fantasising about doing lectures on a beach in Spain? Do you have absolutely no clue how to start applying? I am graciously volunteering my services to be your guide through the storm.

I managed to survive the process last year and came out the other end with a place at the University of Amsterdam next semester so, I like to think I sort of know what I’m talking about. Whether that statement is true or not is yet to be seen, but I’m sure this guide has some of the answers you’re looking for.

First steps

If you’re still weighing up whether you want to study abroad don’t worry. It is a huge decision to make and so many factors are involved: it isn’t cheap (especially during the cost of living crisis), you could be moving far away from home, and you’ll have a whole new culture to grapple with. Some great ways to explore your options are attending the go abroad team’s events, watching exchange student vlogs, and getting in contact with students at the uni who have been away previously.

Location, location, location

Now, where in this big wide world are you going to go? If you’re a serious scholar you might want to consider the classes your host university will be offering, as well as how they fare in world rankings. If you are a party animal or craving that Bama rush experience, maybe head to the US. And if you’re into your travel, definitely take a look Down Under or to the Far East; the uni has partner universities as far afield as Singapore. Ultimately the choice is yours, though I will recommend a scroll on pinterest to further any romanticisations.

Before you get too lost in your Mamma-Mia-esque daydream, there are some important things you need to know. In your application you get to pick three universities which you will then rank according to your preference. The uni’s exchange partners can be found on the Study Abroad website and Moodle. A big tip from me would be to filter via your subject as certain unis will offer additional subject-specific places. This means you’ll only be competing against those in your course and given that it feels like the Hunger Games when you’re fighting for a place – who wouldn’t want the odds to be in their favour?

One more pointer before I bore you; it might say that the status of a host university is undecided – but don’t be put off from applying to them! My top choice hadn’t been confirmed as a partner when I sent the application off and I still got a spot there (it’s called lucky girl syndrome what can I say). Just remember that the university strongly advise that no more than one of your choices should be pending.

Research and the application itself

Before you get too lost in your Mamma-Mia-esque daydream, there are some important things you need to know. In your application you get to pick three universities which you will then rank according to your preference. The uni’s exchange partners can be found on the Study Abroad website and Moodle. A big tip from me would be to filter via your subject as certain unis will offer additional subject-specific places. This means you’ll only be competing against those in your course and given that it feels like the Hunger Games when you’re fighting for a place – who wouldn’t want the odds to be in their favour?

One more pointer before I bore you; it might say that the status of a host university is undecided – but don’t be put off from applying to them! My top choice hadn’t been confirmed as a partner when I sent the application off and I still got a spot there (it’s called lucky girl syndrome what can I say). Just remember that the university strongly advise that no more than one of your choices should be pending.

Research and the application itself

 

  • Personal motivation: This section is your chance to talk about why you want to go to a specific university or place. Things I referred to in my application in relation to my choice of uni were links to Glasgow University, the vibe of the campus, and the activities which interested me. When explaining my preferred location, I spoke of the cities’ defining characteristics, language barriers, people, and general way of life.

 

  • Budget: While I wish I could say this only involves a comparison of the price of a pint, this part has several issues which need to be considered. For example, health and travel insurance, rent, visa costs, food, phone contracts, recreational activities e.g. the gym, travel, and an equivalent to your Pret subscription (which you will, of course, dearly miss while being away). The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

 

The dreaded wait

After you’ve sent off your application, the next step is arguably the most gruelling: The wait for getting your reply. This usually takes around a month and a half, if not more (the uni tends to extend deadlines as we are all aware), and it can be quite a stressful time. I remember during this period of my application process I was having anxiety dreams about going on the student portal and seeing each of my choices had been rejected.

However, I spoke to my fellow course mates and realised everyone was feeling like this, and as bad as it was, we couldn’t do anything to speed it up. So have faith in yourself and light some candles to stay zen – you got this babe!

Results time

The long-awaited day has arrived! With your hands shaking and course group chats going mental, you open the email. If you’re successful in your top 3 choices then give yourself a pat on the back; you’ve made it through the first part of the process relatively unscathed. If you’ve been unsuccessful in this round of applications it doesn’t make you any less worthy of going abroad. In fact, the university offers a clearing process where you can reapply for universities where there are still places available. So head out there and show the uni that they were wrong the first time around, it wouldn’t be the first time its happened.

A parting note

Hopefully you learnt something on this journey we have taken together through the study abroad process, and be sure to the let us know if you have any queries left unanswered. Au revoir et bonne chance!

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