Our 10 best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay

Asako Maruoka's picture

We’re so excited for you to study abroad! Whether you’re going for a semester or year through your institution or with an external program, or direct enrolling at a university overseas, chances are that you will need to write an essay to get in. This essay could be for admission or for scholarship opportunities. 

This is a chance for you to shine! Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn abroad, and had your eye on a specific country. Perhaps you have taken a language for a few years, and are ready to experience living and speaking in that country. Or, maybe there’s a study abroad program within your degree program that perfectly complements your interests, job prospects, and passions.

Whatever the case, we’re here for you to help you succeed.

Our 10 best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay

Here are our ten best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay from the experts we interviewed:

1. Follow the instructions

Before you get into “what” to write, research carefully the “how” aspect of your custom study abroad essay. Typically, each educational institution or scholarship program is trying to make sure that only the best candidates will attend their program, university, or win a scholarship. If you already know the details of what you need to write, but aren’t sure how to follow them correctly, just ask for the help of a professional academic writer from an online essay service like AdvancedWriters.com. The company specializes in academic writing, and they provide assistance with solving tricky puzzles, such as study abroad essays. With this as a start, you can be sure to craft a compelling, interesting essay.

2. Answer the very important question, “Why our program?” 

After you review the requirements, think over the hidden questions about your own reasons to study abroad. Create a logical connection between your motivation and studying ambitions and resources, academic specialization of the university or program, and what professors you will be studying with. Connect these points precisely, as studying abroad is not about just collecting experiences. 

Too often, we’ve seen students fall into applying for opportunities without thinking the reasons through...maybe their best friend is going, or they heard it was a good thing and are just starting to think about it. Having a deeper reflection as to why you want to go—and why you want to go on this program or directly enroll in this university overseas—is key to writing a successful admissions or scholarship essay. The same is true for your success in the program, obviously.

3. Show an interest in the local culture

You might think that it’s not an important point, but your home university wants you to feel comfortable in the local culture. Incorporate information that you have gleaned from current or past study abroad students, the program details, and location. Don’t shortcut this information by visiting some restaurants from the top-10 list on a review site. Dive deeper into the local experiences you can get while studying abroad, and showcase WHY you’re so interested in studying at that location. 

4. Describe your experience

Writing only about how you sincerely want to study abroad won’t make a good impression—everyone that is applying is in the same situation. You should describe what value you bring with your previous global experiences and interests, your skill set, and your achievements. These things will impress the admissions office, program administrators, or scholarship committee much more than a simple statement of fact that you want to be their student. 

Our 10 best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay

5. Look to the future

This is a fascinating trick that helps to demonstrate your vision of studying abroad. All study abroad essays are quite narrowly specialized in getting into an educational institution or study abroad program, or being rewarded the scholarship. But your life won’t end with this event! Think about how your life is going to change if you study abroad. While you can have no idea of the actual impact of study abroad, you know that it WILL change you, and you will emerge from the experience a much broader, more culturally aware person. Perhaps include details of how studying abroad greatly improves your career prospects, lifetime financial earnings, and global worldview.

6. Follow the guidelines

We can’t say this enough—answer the questions asked, and in the format required. Even the deepest motivation to study abroad won’t make any impact on admissions committees or scholarship readers if this doesn’t happen. Each character matters in that 500-word essay. Without proper headlining, abundant vocabulary, logically intertwined paragraphs, and well-considered points, your essay might stay only a bunch of messy notes. Make each line work to the general goal of the essay...and be sure to submit it on time!

7. Never submit your first try of an admission or scholarship essay...ever

Whatever level of self-respect and admiration you feel for yourself because of the first writing of your study abroad essay, just don’t submit it. Ever. To avoid the fate of Icarus, you should find someone who’ll give your masterpiece a look. If you don’t have a professional writer or editor in the family or as a friend, hire someone. Every published book and article has gone through rounds of editing to make it the best possible product. Do the same for your essay.

8. Respect the deadlines

Time is always running out; we never have enough time to do everything we want. An essay submitted after the deadline speaks for itself. No beautiful words, deep motivation, and life goals will work if you haven’t managed to finish it in time. Here’s a cool tip from us: try to trick yourself and give yourself an earlier deadline. You’ll have some time to review and edit it before submission, which is always a good thing.

Our 10 best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay

9. Have a professional email address and email

No “mylittlekitten @ yahoo.com”, no “please, choose me, I’m your most talented Pokemon!” in the subject line. Be serious, even if you’ve never been before. It’s worth creating a new email address if your personal one is not professional. If you are using your university email address, that’s even better.

10. Don’t give up 

You know the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? If you didn’t get in to your dream university abroad, study abroad program, or scholarship, don’t give up! Try again, whether with a different program or university, or the next available opportunity to do so. Persistence is an important life trait!

Soon you’ll be on your way to new beginnings. Congratulations!

Our 10 best tips for writing the perfect study abroad essay