Start researching a year before you intend to leave.
Scrupulously look into the content of the course you’re interest in and the enrolment conditions. You’ll need to assess whether you have the language proficiency to follow the chosen pathway and prepare yourself for any potential entrance exams.
Keep note of deadlines for enrolling and sending in any forms and documents requested. Plan at least two months for administrative formalities: sitting language tests, preparing your CV, cover letter and letter of recommendation (in the language of the destination country), getting your diploma translated by a certified translator.
Make sure you have enough money in your account to support yourself, which you may be asked to prove.
In the UK and Ireland, you need to register with a central body. Central Application Office for Ireland www.cao.ie
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for the UK : www.ucas.ac.uk
For other countries in Europe, you register directly with the admissions service of the chosen school or institution.
Checking the recognition of qualifications
It’s essential you check the recognition of your academic qualifications before you go and in preparation for your return (resuming your studies or career). Procedures vary between countries and the host school or institution is often the only body to assess the worth of your qualification, especially in the private sector, and accept your enrolment or not.
The ENIC-NARIC website can help you with recognition of academic or vocational qualifications even if its opinion is optional.
You will have to send the overseas institution, a year in advance, a request for « academic exemption » accompanied by a statement of your qualifications and a description of the course already completed, translated into the language of the host country.
To have international diplomas recognised in France, you can obtain a statement of comparability for a foreign qualification or a statement of recognition for a period of study or training completed abroad (when the qualification has no equivalent in the French education system). Expect to pay administration fees.
The BMD system in Europe makes finding equivalences and student mobility easier. Outside Europe, higher education institutions act independently in terms of recognising diplomas.
Financing your studies
If you choose not to leave affiliated to a programme, you will have to finance your studies yourself. You will have to plan for any expenses before you go (administrative formalities, travel, enrolment, health insurance, passport and visa, language tests, etc.) and expenses when you get there (accommodation, transport, meals, etc.).
Financial aid in these circumstances is almost non-existent. Some countries and universities may offer study grants, generally for students with a ‘very strong academic record’ and often educated to Bac+3 level (three years in higher education).
Some local authorities (essentially at the regional or city level) may award grants, but they are few and far between.
If you are entitled to a grant on social grounds, you can apply for a bursary from the Council of Europe to study in the European Union, provided that the institution is accredited and the chosen programme will advance your studies.