• Kristen Black

How to Get Started

So to start, I'm not a blogger or an expert or anything, but I have had a lot of people asking me about different parts of the process of going to school abroad. So, I decided to keep a section on my website of all the steps I am going through, broken down as I go, in case it can help anyone that may be interested in doing the same thing!

It also may not seem so complicated, but it has been over a year of figuring out how a million different things work, from big things like visas to small things like finding out american hair styling tools definitely will not work in Europe, even with a travel adapter (I learned that after blowing my straightener, hair drier, adapter and all the outlets in the room). There are so many things you'll never think of until it comes up, but hopefully by documenting everything I am doing, someone can find their way a bit easier and be more prepared.

So if you're interested in going to grad school abroad, here is what you should be doing right now to get started...

1. Google

Start by googling what you want. For me I wanted to go to school in France, specifically Paris. I also knew I wanted to do a masters "en alternance." (I can make a separate post about what that is for people interested - but basically it's a way to go to school for free)

So, my search looked like this "Paris Master Design Graphique en Alternance." I searched in french because I wanted to go to a french speaking school, but you can also search something like "France Masters International Business English Alternating Internship." Try different key words and see what comes up. I found plenty of schools with no application fees, and I started there. I was already accepted to one before I applied to any that had a fee. The school looked great and offered what I wanted, so I just stopped there.

You can also find schools on Campus France. Here is a link to programs in English:

If you're wanting to get help through FAFSA to fund your education definitely visit this site and scroll down to "International Schools in General" and click the green text and an excel sheet will pop up with all international schools that they work with (However, most are still way more expensive than doing a program "en alternance.")

2. Apply

Start applying everywhere (especially the schools with no application fees). Get your CV/Resume and a cover letter ready and add them to the applications that ask for them. If you are applying in another language it can be hard to choose things such as what kind of former degree you have, since European degrees are not exactly the same as ours. For example when I applied, I listed that I had completed Bac +3 (BAC is the test they pass to exit high school, then the + is the amount of years you have studied after. I did 4 to get my bachelors in the US but it may be better to put BAC +3 since that typically means a bachelors degree in France, since their college would usually only be 3 years - I know, kind of confusing.) However, if you list BAC +4 instead of BAC +3 I don't think it will really change much.

If you happen to be applying to school in France in French, you can follow this link to see my CV and Cover Letter that I submitted last year (in French ) to use as a guide. It has been checked by several french speakers, as well as my admissions counselor so the vocab and french should all be correct.

3. Wait

Now just take a break and wait to hear back from some schools. For me I heard back within a couple of weeks, had an interview the next week on Skype, then within a few days I received an acceptance email. Then that is when I started the year long process of working out all of the details, which is where it gets more complicated.

Just make sure to start as soon as possible if you are planning on going to school next year. My school did not have a deadline, but some might. There is definitely still time, but it is all a process so the sooner you get started the better! I'll make a post later explaining "en alternance" for people interested, then one explaining the steps after you've been accepted. So, if studying abroad still sounds like something you would like to do, stay tuned. Lol

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