First thing you want to decide is where you want to go studying. In my opinion and I believe most of people would agree on this one, study abroad is a great opportunity to broaden your perspective. The lessons you will get in one place and the other place will be the same, but study abroad offers you tons of experience to be in touch with diversity. When I looked up at the VU Amsterdam website, I saw two valuable points, which are research university and living in diversity. If you have special concern like me, then you can start from there, or these numbers of thought that you can adapt:
- Place that offers more than just knowledge. Why? Because studying all the time is boring. You want to go back to your place with some enrichment like you can be more tolerant with diversity, you can be more discipline, you can speak new language and so on. My choice is the Netherlands. We all agree that the Netherlands is a good example when you talk about diversity. And probably you wonder how can that be? So yeah, that is the same thought i want to explore in the next year during my study there.
- Major. Not all of the university in this world has every major. So, it’s important to check the program itself. You can always pick any major, but make sure that you can take that. For example, I had Bachelor degree in Economics, anthropology seems nice to me, but probably I can’t take Master in Anthropology. Another thing is whether your bachelor degree from abroad is treated the same like the bachelor degree in country that you want to go, because if it’s not, then most likely you need to take pre-master first. Since my interest is always in Economics. So yeah, again this time i pick Master degree in Economics.
- University Ranking. Some of my friends say it is important, and some don’t. It’s again back to your own decision. But what I want to say is that you should be careful with this one. That is only a general measurement. If you want to study specific area like Economics, try to sort by the subject like Economics area so you can see deeper measurement. You also may want to be more focus on some practical issues such as the relationship between lecturer and students, how big the class is, the uniqueness of the major you choose, etc etc. I ended up picking Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). First, they offer a small class which is so important for me. Big class is too overwhelming and I can’t really focus on my study so we can have intimacy learning in class as well as the relationship with the lecturer. Second, Even though VU is not in the top 10 universities in the world, but they are still in top 150 universities in the world :p
- The requirement. When you look at the requirement, don’t put yourself to the corner and judge yourself. Motivation letter, IELTS/TOEFL score, GPA, GRE/GMAT, recommendation letter and so on. Since all of these documents are the common in every university, so you can take look at some example and remember DO NOT COPY! You can adapt them, but the admission team want to see you, they want to know why should you be selected and why you are different from the others. English tests such as IELTS and TOEFL sometimes can be annoyed. Some of my friends need to take 2 or 3 times to get the minimum required score. You can take a preparation course and make sure that you don’t rely only to the course, train yourself at home by doing tons tons of exercises. Trust me, it helps a lot!
So, once you already have your choice, prepare as earlier as possible. Take one year a head with preparing all of the requirements and don’t forget to always keeping the positive faith!
I wish you tons of luck in chasing your dreams!