In 2020 alone, about 100,000 Nigerians travelled to study abroad. One would expect that number might have been higher if not for COVID-19. A quick peep at your Twitter feed this year will show so many “Welcome to a new dispensation” tweets.
You know how the story goes. 😀
As a young professional, you probably have the same dream too — to further your education outside the country and in the process, boost your career prospects. But, a lot of preparation goes into making it a reality.
A big chunk of that involves money, whether you’re getting funded by a scholarship or not. So, where do you start?
First, look for scholarships
Except money is the least of your worries, the best way to kickstart your study abroad applications is to search for relevant scholarships to you as a Nigerian (or African). In many ways, this will determine your choice of institution or course. The good news is that there are a lot of scholarships out there.
💡 Tip: Looking for scholarships on the internet can be a rabbit role. Just ask people who have succeeded. You’ll definitely need a lot of data and a stable device to get this done. If you don't have the latter, you can always use Carbon Zero to purchase a laptop in installment, at zero interest.
Create a plan for application fees
While some colleges and universities waive application fees, many schools require you to pay a fixed amount to process your application. If you’re applying to more than one school, you can set aside a fund dedicated to catering to this need.
Also bear in mind that, as part of your application process, you will need to send transcripts from your alma mater to the school abroad. There’s usually a fee required to process this too.
Your “Application” savings plan should ideally cover this. This way, whether you’re broke or not, it won’t stop you from applying to schools you find interesting.
Go long-term with a Study Abroad fund
While you’re courting schools and applying to them, hoping you find one that accepts your application, you also want to be prepared. This is especially because some schools give only a few months before resumption. If you’re lucky, you can extend your arrival.
But the point is to start saving some amount of money from your current job specifically for your study abroad plan. Doing this also helps when it comes to getting help from family and friends. Some people want to see commitment from you before contributing their hard-earned money.
For instance, your uncle will likely support you with funds if you already saved like 500,000 naira or one million naira for your school fees.
Another reason you want to start setting aside some money may not necessarily be for your program. It could be for settling down during your first few months of your Masters program. This is important for when you find a scholarship that only covers your tuition and not accommodation or feeding.
So, while you settle down to look for part-time jobs, you have some cash to spend.