Identifying the perfect university or institute for your overseas education is the kick-starter to the whole journey and that is why the most important thing to remember during this frightening and yet exciting and rewarding process is being exposed to unbiased and well-researched first-hand information.
There is something you must know and remember when eliciting the help of agencies of overseas education. While most are free or inexpensive, you must be careful with the kind of information you choose to absorb. Agencies of this nature are only able to operate for free because they are paid from elsewhere – the universities. It’s no secret that even the greatest of universities benefit largely from student fees and thus encourage an inflow of as many students as possible, setting the bar low for quality but enabling them to provide an infrastructure that justifies their reputation and ranking. As a result, while the services they offer are truly a blessing, agencies will inevitably try to push you toward institutions from which they would get commisionary benefits. It is imperative to be able to find a university that is the right fit for you and your lifestyle and for this reason, it is of paramount importance that you have access to unbiased and correct information. For example, I chose the University of Queensland over the University of Melbourne primarily because their course structure was close to what I wished to study but also for the weather because I was raised in a hot little city and knew I wouldn’t survive the winters in. My agent repeatedly told me how great the University of Melbourne is (and this might simply be due to it’s slightly higher world ranking or could be because they provide higher commision) but I had a clearer image of what I personally needed and expected from my college education than my agent.
Through my experience with applications and with an agent, I identified that this particular middleman was far from necessary. The physical process of filling in and submitting the application is straight-forward and fairly easy to do and agents were only able to help me with this uncomplicated part of the process. What I needed, instead, was someone who has already been in my place and can provide me with the information that can equip me enough to make the right, informed decision; be it in terms of coursework, jobs and career or rent, food and entertainment. I spent the better part of a month trying to connect with other international students from different universities to get an idea of what I should be prepared for if I did make the respective choice. The information I had gathered in this way was completely first hand from a student’s perspective and was unbiased in that the students had nothing to gain or lose by telling me what they really felt.
It was my good fortune that some students responded to me and so I made friends in this new world I was about to be a part of, even before I packed my bags to leave. This uncomplicated everything for me. Although the arrival of my visa was very delayed and I made it to Australia just in time for the university to start, the connections who had turned into friends had not only picked me up from the airport and arranged temporary living arrangements, but also provided me with a local sim card and number and helped me file all my paperwork before classes began.
Having almost completed my course, I can say with certain confidence that I have made the right choice of university and course. My university is a great fit for me in every way I can think of – from the culture of the city I live in, to the nature of educating I am subjected to – all of which I might have missed if I didn’t do the right research before I made my educated choice.