Over the past few years, the number of students willing to receive education abroad has grown impressively (Lee, 2011), mostly because of the globalization process and the options that it opens in terms of high quality education perspectives (Foster 178).
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However, because of the lack of information, which the companies providing studying abroad provide to students (Salisbury, Paulsen and Pascarella 4), the latter are exposed to a range of threats, including financial concerns, problems related to academic life, cultural issues, etc.
A closer look at the information provided by the majority of the companies specializing in student transfer and the related services will reveal that a range of essential data, especially the information concerning the financial aspects of studying in a foreign country, is underrepresented greatly.
True, most companies provide a detailed overview of the existing financing options regarding the choice of the curriculum, the educational establishment, etc. Difficulties emerge, however, when it comes to identifying the costs for and the options regarding board and lodging, the rent for an apartment in the campus, the costs for the course materials, particularly, textbooks, etc.
In a weird way, a range of companies prefer to omit the information specified, substituting it with the trivia that has little to no relation to the information that students may find actually important (Deacon 4).
Apart from the financial issues in general and funding in particular, most organizations providing learners with a chance to become international students also skip such an essential piece of information about overseas studying as visa, their acquisition, their duration, and the additional documents that must be filed together with the visa for a student to be able to commence their studying in a foreign state (U.S. Department of State para. 2).
For example, a range of companies offering students studying in the United States do not mention the fact that neither of the traditional types of visas, i.e., a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary residence or an immigrant visa for a permanent stay, can be accepted when filed by an exchange student – instead, a student visa must be provided (Kato and Sparber 2).
In addition, the type of the student visa (either F-1 or M-1) depends on the type of educational establishment that a student enrolls in (U.S. Department of State para. 5), which most companies providing student exchange facilities prefer to omit for some reason (Kato and Sparber 4).
The formal issues, though, are not the only reason for concern when it comes to the data skipped by the companies providing students with a change to study abroad; cultural issues are also often omitted (Kim and Okazaki 3). The language skills required for becoming a foreign exchange student are also rarely mentioned by most companies providing the corresponding services (Tyner 379).
Such a gap in the information regarding education abroad is truly upsetting, since it leads to students being unable to determine whether their skills will allow them to study properly.
As a result, a range of learners, who have enough potential for becoming international students, miss their opportunity for acquiring professional skills, receiving unique experience and undergoing outstanding training due to the fact that they were unable to evaluate their language skills correspondingly. Likewise, the information on healthcare is also rarely present on such sites (Rekhter 227).
One must admit, though, that a number of authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom are aware of the issue and do everything possible to address it as promptly as possible (Watson 16). According to the official reports, the British Council has recently launched a portal, which allows the UK students to access the information concerning studying abroad (Baumann et al. 6).
This portal lists not only the facts that can be found in practically every single site of a company facilitating studying abroad, but also a range of unique facts, which most of its visitors will find crucial for making their decision on becoming a foreign student (Thomas para. 7).
Being overly certain about one’s less than mediocre language skills, in its turn, is a nonetheless drastic mistake, which a range of students make because of the lack of the corresponding information provided in the official sites of the companies providing services for studying abroad.
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True, the students, who overrate their command of English, rarely pass the stage of getting the language certificate required for the transfer; however, the effort, time and money spent on retrieving the specified certificate are still too valuable to dismiss the fact that the official sites recommending the programs for studying abroad fail to mention such relevant and essential data.
Though the concept of studying abroad is getting increasingly popular among a range of students all over the world, it may trigger a range of complexities due to the specifics of operation of most companies providing the related facilities.
While, encouraged by the globalization process, the idea of studying abroad seems an entirely beneficial and altogether positive experience, which a student must acquire in order to enjoy a unique opportunity of learning new professional and communicational skills, studying abroad remains practically unattainable for the majority of students all over the world.
Though at present, a range of measures have been undertaken in order to address the issue, the problem persists.
Baumann, Andrea, Marcos Costa, Matheus Grasselli, Giri Kanagaretnam, James King, Peter Mascher, Alessandra Massaro, Reem Mustafa, Robert O’Brien, Gary Purdy, Gary Warner and May Zhai. Forward with Integrity: Internationalization Task Force Position Paper. Hamilton, ON: McMatsre University, 2013. Print.
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Kim, Hyun Joo and Sumie Okazaki. “Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 1.1 (2013), 1–10. Print.
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Thomas, Dan. “Lack of Information Hampering UK and US Study Abroad.” The Pie News 11 Mar. 2013. Web.
Tyner, Nicole. “International Cooperation: The Study Abroad Experience.” Michigan Academician 41.3 (2013), 377-388. Print.
U.S. Department of State. “Student Visa.” Bureau of Consular Affairs. 2014. Web.
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