Procedures to study abroad
Before you go to study abroad you will have to do a whole series of formalities. Depending on the age, the type of study and the duration of these, they may be one or the other. It is not the same to be a minor, do a summer language stay, participate in an exchange program or go to study a master’s degree abroad. Also depending on the country where you want to study, the procedures will be one or the other. Studying inside or outside the European Union involves important differences, both in terms of mobility facilities, as well as the possibilities of scholarships and programs for foreign students.
What is important is that you bear in mind, in all cases, that you must prepare it well in advance, since most of the procedures are slow, and you have to have all the papers in order before leaving. If you do not complete the paperwork on time, it may be that you miss the deadline to enroll in some studies, you lose a plane ticket because you do not have a valid visa to travel, you have to wait another year to request a scholarship application or apply to an official language test, for example.
The best place to go to find out about all the legal procedures is the consulate or embassy of your destination country. Many countries and large training centers such as universities have a Information Agency or Office for Foreign or International Students, where you can also find a lot of information about the procedures to be carried out, legal aspects of the country, the culture of the country, aspects of student life, useful resources, etc. In the case of stays organized within the framework of programs, in your training center of origin They can also help you. All of them can advise you on what to do and where to go to request the different documents.
Here you can find, as an example, the links of some information agencies or offices for foreign students from some of the most popular destinations in our country:
Each country and training center may require specific procedures, but in general they may ask you:
Student visa: Some countries require a visa, which can be of different types depending on nationality, age, type of studies you want to do, the length of stay you request, etc. It is necessary to check the times foreseen to carry out the whole process of application and issuance of the visa, because depending on the case, it will be necessary to allow enough time to gather all the necessary documentation, make an appointment, do a personal interview, a time review of the application to determine if the resolution is positive or not, pay the fees, etc. They may ask you for documents to verify that you have sufficient financial means to make this stay in the country (such as a bank account or the resolution of the scholarship) or the certificate of criminal record, issued by the Ministry of Justice.
It must be taken into account that in case the application is rejected, there are measures to claim or add documents that may be necessary. It is also important that you know if you have to appear in person for the appointment (in most cases), especially if the embassy or consulate is far from your residence and, therefore, plan a displacement. For example, to apply for visas in the United Kingdom you have to appear in person in Madrid. Some countries, such as the United States, also require a biometric or electronic passport. In the case of the Spanish State, all passports issued after 2007 already meet this requirement.
In general, the agreements of the European Economic Area They allow the free movement of movement and residence between national citizens of the countries that are part of it, so a visa is not necessary.
Health insurance: During your stay abroad, you must be covered by medical insurance. Nothing has to happen, but it is important that you know what your rights are and what types of insurance exist depending on where you are going to study, so that if you need it, you do not have to start doing more paperwork. Before traveling, check what type of insurance is required. In your destination center they can inform you about it.
Residence permit: For long stays of more than 3 months, you may have to process, in addition to the visa, a residence permit. This has to be managed in the destination country, but it is preferable that before leaving you ask the embassy or consulate what papers you will need so that you can prepare them.
Work permit: If you want to combine your training experience with a job abroad to help cover your expenses, you will have to apply for the corresponding permit. In some cases, depending on your residence permit and student visa, there may be some restrictions on the types of jobs you can access.
Access documents to the training center:
- School report or academic degree: they will ask you for the certifications of the degrees obtained, with the corresponding qualifications: depending on the studies, it may be necessary to have a fairly high average grade. In other cases, the requirement may only be to have a certain degree, such as the Baccalaureate and the selectivity test, to be able to access a university to study a degree. Regarding university degrees, you can request the European Diploma Supplement (SET), an official document that facilitates the recognition of studies in other EU countries.
- Language tests: Except if you are going to learn a language, in the rest of the cases they will ask you for an official certificate of the language in which the chosen studies are taught, or you will have to pass a series of tests, tests or interviews. It must be taken into account, because perhaps it requires you to prepare it in advance. Depending on the time and the level of studies, they will ask you for different levels of the language. When the studies are at higher levels, and for longer stays, greater linguistic proficiency is required.
- Specific tests for access to those studies: Some studies require passing specific tests, you must inform yourself at the destination study center about the entire admission process.
- Motivation letter addressed to the destination center: You must make a personalized letter in each case, where you record the great interest you have in studying in that specific training center, that you have sought information about it, and that you have the appropriate attitude, skills and competencies to take advantage of your studies and adapt to the student life there.
- Interviews with the center: you must prepare it well to give a good image of yourself. It is important to know who and in what language will do the interview, in order to prepare it.
- Curriculum vitae: in Europe you can use the Europass CV model, which is known in most European institutions. You can also make a more personalized CV or adapted to the institution you are going to.
- Recommendation letters: Since you will depend on the other people to write the letters for you, you have to ask for them in good time so that they do not represent an inconvenience to the other person. It is advisable to tell them the reason for the demand and what aspects you are most interested in that stand out.
Other recommendations on procedures
If you can, find a accommodation before reaching the destination, even if only temporarily for the first few weeks. Think that when you arrive you will have to learn and do many things, and everything will be new for you, so having a guaranteed place where you can eat and sleep the first days will help you to position yourself much better. If you go within the framework of an exchange program, they usually explain or offer you the possibilities of residence, and if not, the foreign student support offices can advise you in this regard.
It is also important arrive with a few days to spareBefore the start of the course, so that you have time to locate yourself a bit, buy what you need, know how to move around the city, check that you have all the documentation in order, etc.
Another important aspect is that you know a little about the characteristics of the country and the recommendations for Spanish citizens who want to stay there. Each country has characteristics and regulations that you have to know and comply with. On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation you can find recommendations for traveling to different countries.
Below we provide you with the links to the embassies of some of the most requested destinations, here you can find detailed information about the country, both the procedures to go there, as well as its educational system and access:
Find out about the studies you can take abroad, the scholarships that exist and how to choose your destination.