Study abroad, but what, when and where? Check out ISIC's tips to choosing your study abroad destination!

How to choose where to study abroad?

Many students dream about studying abroad and many also make this dream a reality. However, fulfilling these dreams requires thorough thinking and planning, whether it's a 2-week language course or an entire degree abroad. We've put together some things to remember and thoughts to go through before starting to pack your bags. Read through and let the planning commence! 

Is studying abroad my thing?

Studying abroad often sounds dreamy, but the everyday life with its routines and hard work will be a part of your student life abroad as well, guaranteed. On top of that, you won't have the safety and security of your friends and family from home with you, so student life abroad may at first feel quite lonely and not glamorous at all. Take time to think well in advance if studying abroad is your thing and if the image you have about studying abroad is realistic.  

Do you like to travel to places previously unfamiliar to you? Do you want or are you able to spend a long time apart from your friends, family and everyday life at home? Would you enjoy being immersed in a new culture, or would that likely be a straining, even distressing experience? What do you wish to get out of studying abroad? 

Think about what motivates you and about the goals you set for studying abroad. Will studying abroad boost your personal development or your professional skills? If you opt to do a degree abroad, will the degree help you be employed on your dream field? If you are going on an exchange, can you include the exchange studies (courses and credits) to your degree at home? 

As you'll spend some time planning your studies abroad, and studying abroad may bring big changes to your life, it's well worth the time to think about your motivation and goals, before heading out to the world. To many students, studying abroad is a wonderful experience during which one gains independence and confidence, not to mention the improvement in language and general studying skills. Studying abroad however also means stepping outside your comfort zone with quite a leap, and leaving your safety net behind. 

How to pick a destination? Or courses? 

If you've had a dream about studying abroad for a while now, you may already have a certain country and school in your mind as your dream destination. If you are not quite sure on where you'd like to head for studies, it may be helpful to list your own interests to help you pick the right destination for you. Think about

  • If you want to study in a big city or a small town, even on the countryside
  • If you you want to study abroad in an English speaking country or would you rather study on another language, or perhaps even learn a new one
  • If you love travelling and maybe you'd like your study abroad destination to have good connections for short weekend trips

After answering these questions, you maybe have a slightly better picture about where you'd ideally like to live and study abroad. Experiences of other students may be of help when finding your destination, so why not take a look at student experiences at KILROY! If you are already a student in your home country, take a look at the exchange study options at your institution and faculty. This is often a great place to start looking for your study abroad destination. 

Lähtisinkö opiskelemaan ulkomaille? 

The course selection when studying abroad is extensive to say the least, whether you are doing a degree or a short summer course. Think about what type and style of studying is most beneficial to you as a person, a student and a future professional. Sometimes your dream field of study is not available in your home country, so going abroad to study or studying remotely at a foreign institute are pretty much your options. A summer course could be a great way to improve your writing and language skills for the next semester. A 6-month internship or exchange may be just the right time for you abroad to build international working and studying experience. 

Your decision is usually also based on a good gut feeling on what is your way of studying abroad. Alongside all the lists and plans you've made, a gut feeling on what is the right destination for you is an important part of making your decision. 


In the Nordics, studying is free for EU citizens, and in other EU countries EU citizens usually either study for free or for a lower tuition fee. Outside the EU, many countries charge a tuition fee and the prices for studying abroad are usually significantly higher. That is why it's important to keep in mind the price of your studies abroad while making decisions about your destination. Countries can differ vastly when it comes to tuition fees for international students, and there are differences between degrees, fields of study and course prices. If you haven't yet made your decision about your destination and are pondering on the expenses of your study abroad term, check out Top Universities' lists about affordable and free study abroad destinations. For funding your studies abroad, don't forget to check out our Scholarships and grants -article.

Lähtisinkö opiskelemaan ulkomaille? 

Studying abroad is to many students one of the best experiences in their lives. If you even remotely feel like studying abroad may be your thing, start dreaming and planning now! 

Sources: Studying Abroad: Getting Started

Top Universities: 10 of the Most Affordable Places to Study Abroad

Top Universities: Where Can You Study Abroad for Free

Hostelworld: The 10 Best Places To Study Abroad For Students Who Love To Travel How to Pick Your University Abroad in 2018 - 6 Essential Ways to Decide

GenTwenty: 6 Ways to Decide Where You Want to Study Abroad