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Study Abroad - A guide for self-supporting international students2

Écrit par Dr. Damaris Foping

Studying Abroad on Personal Funds  A Practical Guide for International Students  

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Although the dearest wish of those who plan to study abroad is to do so through a scholarship, there are many benefits to self-sponsoring (completely or partially). These include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • When you embark on the self-supporting option, you are in control of the 'when' factor. Indeed those who sponsor their studies abroad out of pocket can travel whenever they feel like it. This is a luxury that those whose departure is conditioned by them being awarded a scholarship grant do not. Scholarships are unpredictable - it can take years of trial and error before you are finally granted one (if ever).
  • Those who can support themselves abroad have a huge advantage when it comes to their admission to programs as some universities greatly facilitate the process for them – all sorts of compromises are possible when it comes to admission criteria – and these tend to come into play for a student who can afford his/her tuition etc... This is not the case when the student admitted will be receiving a college scholarship. For the latter, an excellent academic background is almost always required.
  • Another advantage that those who can fund their own study abroad have is when dealing with the choice of the university to which they wish to gain admission. A number of world-renowned universities are now opening their doors to students who would not have the slightest chance of admission if it wasn’t for the fact that they are capable of paying for their studies out of pocket. Why is this particular fact a huge advantage? Well, it is common knowledge that the reputation of the institution attended weighs in heavily when time comes to knock at the door of the employment market.
  • Another advantage that those who fund their own study abroad have is when dealing with the choice of the program they wish to enroll in abroad. You see, we go abroad in search of opportunities not available in our country of origin, opportunities which will open the door to a bright future for us. Well, as it so happens, at times this might call for a drastic change in your program/major – Paying for your studies out of pocket gives you flexibility in this regard. Such changes are rarely possible when you are applying for a scholarship at the same time. Etc. .....






Every year, thousands of students learn the hard way that when it comes to going abroad for studies, there is such a thing as having "a wrong mindset" - a very frequent problem among African students, especially. Oh yes, when it comes to going abroad for studies, there are right and wrong mindsets. If you are planning on going abroad, whether on personal funds or not, nothing is more important than making sure that, before anything else, you get things right in this regard.


Why is your mindset upon landing overseas so important? Simple: experience has shown that ultimately it will have the greatest influence upon the end result of your visit - i.e., whether you experience a happy ending or not.



OK, let's jump right in:






- This is the vision you must have:


You see, we succeed in life because we become the best at something. You succeed because you become so good in a field that employers from around the globe would do anything to have/keep you. Do you know for example that there are plenty of foreigners (scientists, engineers ......) who entered the United States under a temporary visa and, without ever attempting anything illegal, have never left? They now live permanently in the USA – what happened? Simple: the employer (or the nation itself) has refused to see them go.


Becoming the best in one's field is easier abroad because the best opportunities and institutions are abroad. This is what should drive you abroad—nothing else...READ MORE



What’s next? Considering that you will be the one paying for your studies, it is obvious: the question of money. What does it cost to study abroad? This table presenting countries side by side might prove useful. Note that these costs are indicative only. Tuition costs vary widely within the same nation and there are people who can live on much less than others.

Etats-Unis Canada Angleterre Belgique France Chine Australie


Norvège Finland












     $228- 1,586   $3.800 -$5.9001     

$ 4,118-


$1,602 -









~ $4000 - $9000         





12,817 $16,022 $6.6001



~$11,841             $9,586


 Note: Tuition rates presented here are estimates (in the case of state universities); the costs can be much higher in private universities.

  1. These fees and living costs reflect the average expenditures of an international student enrolled in the prestigious Chinese University Peking University in Beijing.
  2. The costs of living in Australia presented here do not include the expenditures required to cover books, sports equipment, field trips and other study/recreational needs– these depend on the type of training and lifestyle of the student.
  3. This is an estimate of the tuition cost of foreign students from countries not members of the European Union.
  4. Undergraduate - Tuition, housing (National center for education statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76).
  5. The tuition for a 2 year MBA.
  6. Studies in the Francophone community: $ 2.223 - $ 3.753 (2) in the Flemish community costs vary with the training program.
  7. There are exceptions.




One of the most important steps when planning to fund your studies abroad out of pocket is of course choosing the country for these studies. And speaking of choosing a country, you should know with regard to universities that some are more open to foreign students than others. This guide was developed in relation to those nations which are favorite destinations for African students. The fact that the most recent statistics indicate that they are the preferred destinations of African students could be an indication of how geared toward welcoming African students these nations truly are. Below are favorite destinations of African students along with key information that could help you make your choice.



Ok….what should guide your choice? Here are 5 key factors:

  1. Start by trying to understand why a particular country is a popular destination for foreign students – that might interest you (more details are provided in this regard below).
  2. What about the language being spoken in the given country? – why is this important? note that if you do not speak the language, it complicates things for obvious reasons: language classes/language tests become mandatory (more details are provided in this regard below).
  3. University admission – How easy is admission to their universities and how confident are you that you might be admitted? In some countries like the United States, in addition to language tests (for citizens of non English speaking countries), there are entry exams for vocational schools and ordinary programs – more details are provided in this regard below, and one of our consultants can help you as well if you choose that option).
  4. The living costs and tuition fees - nations differ widely in this regard - comparative (above) and in depth data (below) are provided here for your convenience.

OK, let's begin. Below you will find valuable information regarding studies in some of the most popular destinations for international students abroad:




Is Studying in the United States Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?consultantsatlantisetats-unies

We can help you with that!

One thing Americans pride themselves about is that the United States is the one country of the world where you can literally become anything you want. Hundreds of American universities are among the best in the world – the flexibility of programs offered is amazing - If you are ambitious and above all can pay out of pocket for your studies, USA is THE destination for you.




consultantsatlantisangleterreIs Studying in the UK Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?

We can help you with that!


We go abroad to acquire the necessary knowledge to become the best in our field, nothing else; England is accordingly one of the best destinations – it's universities have a reputation for excellence. READ MORE


Is Studying in Canada Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?consultantsatlantiscanada

We can help you with that!


 Did you know that contrary to what takes place in countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, entrance tests such as the TOEFL, GRE or IELTS are not always required for admission in Canadian universities and colleges

 Here are some other facts that may also interest you:


  • French and English are the two official languages ​​of Canada. This is a great advantage for Francophone or Anglophone students who can benefit from a quality education without having to pass a language test. READ MORE



consultantsatlaallemangneIs Studying in Germany Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?

We can help you with that!



 Did you know for instance that the flexibility of the German higher education system is such that it makes it possible for a student to receive only part of their studies in Germany or, even better, for  students to set the date of their exams themselves?



Several other reasons may explain the fact that German higher education is nowadays increasingly attractive to foreign students. READ MORE


Is Studying in France Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?consultantsatlantisfrance


We can help you with that!



Did you know for instance that unlike in universities of developed nations like Anglo-Saxon countries, the entry requirements for French universities are less selective? According to statistics, France is the favorite destination for African students.


 Here are some other facts that may also interest you:


  • France shares the same language as many African countries – so no need for language tests for French speaking students. The country also has historic ties with most African countries READ MORE


Is Studying in Australia Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?H.A.S.etudiezetrangerconsultant5

We can help you with that!


Did you know that new immigration laws allow for a greater openness of Australia to foreigners?


 Here are some other facts that may also interest you:


  • Contrary to what happens in other countries like the United States, 'undergraduate' studies are generally only 3 years instead of 4 years.
  • There are several Masters programs including MBA that are obtainable in a single year- this is great news for those paying for everything out of pocket, for it greatly reduces degree costs.

  • The proximity of Australia to Southeast Asia is a great plus as well.





Here are several points you might want to consider:



  1. Tuition fees to study towards a bachelor's, master's, and even doctorate are often negligible - FREE.
  2. Moreover the cost of living in this country is one of the lowest among developed nations.
  3. The educational system in this country is one of the most advanced in the world.
  4. Finland is a healthy place to live. Much is being done there to keep the environment as healthy as possible. READ MORE




Is Studying in Belgium Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?consultantsatlantisbelgique


We can help you with that!



Did you know that the qualifications obtained abroad are recognized in Belgium? This is a tremendous asset as it can greatly limit the duration of your training there.

Here are some other facts that may also interest you:


  1. The cultural and linguistic diversity of Belgium allows a greater openness READ MORE


consultantsatlantischineIs Studying in China Something You Have Been Contemplating Forever?

 We can help you with that!


Did you know that in an effort to encourage international students to choose China as a destination for studies abroad, the Chinese government gives out tons of scholarships every year? Oh yes! A list of universities where you can study free is included here.








There is no greater move than going abroad for a better education, especially if you are one of those with big dreams – everybody knows that! A less popular fact though is that life in nations overseas isn't exactly paradise! Consulting1




As a matter of fact, every year thousands learn the hard way that "Going abroad is one thing; succeeding once abroad, however, is a different matter altogether." 



In this section, we will be talking about study abroad consultant agencies (which, by the way are different from mere placement agencies) and why taking advantage of these services might not be such bad idea.   


Let's jump right to the heart of the matter, shall we?

It's a fact that in the euphoria that accompanies departures abroad, experience has shown that only a few people take the time to focus on truly getting ready for what’s actually bringing them abroad, i.e., their studies/prospective career. Believe it or not, only a few  realize that going abroad is in fact a HUGE investment; and because it is an investment, taking precautionary measures to ensure a good "return on investment," i.e., landing your dream job/becoming a success upon graduation, is vital.


Let's lend ourselves to a fun Questions & Answers game, shall we?



A1 - Truth being said, the answer is "yes,"— assuming of course that you have sufficient experience when it comes to studies abroad. If you are hesitant, however, or wish to avoid leaving anything to chance, getting help might not be a bad idea - remember that studies abroad are a huge investment and that it is your future which is at stake here.



A2 - Hiring good experts to lead you through the process, especially when you will be paying for tuition etc..out of pocket, is (1) putting their years of experience (education, study abroad, academic/professional orientation) in the service of your future and (2) taking precautionary measures to ensure that your financial sacrifices pay off big time in the future.

 Speaking of consulting firms, some are better than others - so caution! When it comes to study broad consulting agencies in general, if you look closely, you will notice that most of the agencies that flood local and internet advertisements are mere placement agencies. A placement agency simply finds you a place in a university abroad and often also assists you with purchasing tickets and doing hotel reservations—basically their job ends with getting you on the plane. How do you recognize great ones? Even though evaluating consulting agencies can be tricky, how much attention they give to your specific reason for going abroad + what career you intend to pursue after graduation is what determines the quality of a study abroad consulting agency.



A3 - Two groups of people:

  • Parents who after saving for years are finally ready to send their child abroad AND who are in need of help to ensure that the success of their child will result from their sacrifices.
  • A student ready to go abroad and in need of advice to make the most of his/her adventure abroad.



Services rendered by these consultants as well as the fees they charge vary widely. Below are a few examples of such services:



WHY DID WE (a nongovernmental organization) DECIDE TO GET INTO THE GAME


Did you know that, according to the UNESCO, African students are the most mobile in the world”? Oh yes, “students from sub-Saharan Africa seeking higher education are the most mobile in the world, with one out of 16 studying abroad, according to a new study carried out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization” - UNESCO 

An overwhelming number of those that set sail for the West every year do so on personal funds (a situation which unbeknownst to many provides tremendous flexibility) and, more often than not, head for the West for all the wrong reasons - isn't that incredible?

Something had to be done to help raise awareness on key issues and especially to help these students and their families get the most out of the huge investment that represents going abroad for studies. That's where we come in!






Contrary to the typical consulting agency and because of the very nature and mission of our organization, we do not limit ourselves to finding a place in a program abroad for the student. Streets of these developed nations are full of ex-students who after their training found themselves without prospects. The last thing you need is ending up there as well. They are not bad or stupid individuals, they simply weren't well-prepared when they landed. By offering to accompany these students, what we hope to accomplish is actually prepping them to become the next generation of African leaders.



We are HAS (HelpforAfricanStudents, Inc) and Atlantis is merely our study abroad chapter. Note that students who can't afford studies abroad were not forgotten. We have a whole section dedicated to helping them find fundsMoreover, our organization hosts the most comprehensive scholarship search engine/database exclusively dedicated to African students on the net today.








The remainder of this guide is chiefly reserved for those who have decided to hire the services of a consulting agency. Even though we do offer such services, note that the agency you choose to go with doesn’t have to be us. Besides, for the time being, we accept only a limited number of cases on a monthly basis. Simply make sure that it is a quality agency, i.e., one that does far more than just sticking you (or your child, if you are a parent) on a plane and into a university abroad. The approach used by the agency needs to be one that clearly has the student's long-term best interests at heart.

Note that consulting services – at least as far as this guide is concerned, are reserved for those who already have tuition + living expenses money at hand. In other words, those who can afford tuition and living costs abroad. The step 5 below is a presentation of the philosophy that drives our consulting approach.

What is the special about Atlantis?


As we mentioned above, Atlantis is far from being a mere placement agency. At Atlantis, our goal is to help raise the next generation of African leaders – not to increase the population of foreign nations.




As mentioned above and according to UNESCO, African students are the most mobile in the world”. This translates into a lot of money being spent every year. Regardless of who is paying the bills, our objective is to help ensure that all these financial sacrifices pay off big time in the future, not only for the family but for the continent of Africa. Our mission is to help these students get the most out of their experience abroad. At Atlantis, we are fully aware that even though developed nations are loaded with opportunities, unless students are taught how to (1) identify them and (2) take advantage of them, they will never become all they were meant to be.


At Atlantis, our consultants go out of their way to prepare the student conducting all sorts of statistical analyses and literature searches to make sure that every move is well calculated. Students are involved in every critical step, an important move which will earn them vital critical thinking skills that will carry them throughout their professional live.


Furthermore, at Atlantis we remain in touch with the student during the first few months following his/her landing abroad - these months are crucial. As stated above, we go out of our way to equip the student psychologically to ensure their successful transition to life abroad.



Incorporated in the state of Mississippi in January 2009, we are now a tax exempt nonprofit corporation and one of the very few U.S. organizations whose sole target is the African student (university age). Well known in many universities across Africa, our organization is the owner of the largest database exclusively dedicated to African students on the World Wide Web today.
Our Entity Identity Number (EIN) with the U.S. federal government is 26-4590665
Our Business ID number with the state of Mississippi is 943878

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