A study abroad journey is nothing less than unlocking Pandora’s box! On the one hand, you are exposed to the possibilities of different experiences in a new culture while gaining valuable education. On the other hand, there are enormous chances for unsuspecting students to get scammed because of unfamiliar territories. As you embark on this tedious yet enriching journey, it is of utmost importance that you stay alert and aware of potential scams. To ensure a safe and successful study abroad experience, here are five essential tips to keep in mind:
Do Your Homework, Research and Verify:
Before committing to your study abroad programme, undertake extensive research. Almost every international destination has an education system in place. Hence, it is crucial to understand the registration and verification procedures of your shortlisted university. For instance, if you plan to study in Canada, the UK or Australia, you can verify their university registrations on official websites, including the Designated Learning Institutes list in Canada, the Register of Sponsors in the UK, and CRICOS in Australia. Check whether the university is a public or private undertaking, student’s profiles, placement history, industry recognitions etc.
Understand Refund Policy to Avoid Financial Surprises:
Once you receive an offer letter from the university, it is essential to carefully review the financial details, including the total amount payable and the accompanying refund policy. Understanding the refund policy is crucial to avoid unpleasant surprises, especially during a visa rejection. Remember that all credible universities will have a clear and transparent fee structure, timelines, refund policy etc. As a prospective student, you should carefully read and interpret the refund policy, which is a crucial component of the offer letter, to ensure that you are aware of the financial implications of your choice.
Housing Scams are Real:
Accommodation is an important aspect when you decide to study abroad. And, yes, house scams are indeed real. When students land abroad, they usually approach their relatives or apply for campus accommodation. However, in case you miss out on both, we recommend opting for hostels or private accommodations referred by universities or trustworthy accommodations associated with the local government for international students. For example, in the UK, you can find many private student halls around university areas. Additionally, you can also find exclusive student accommodation with some leading student accommodation providers/operators, such as Scape in Sydney, Student Roost in the UK and University Living in Canada.
Guard Personal Information:
In the digital era, protecting your personal data has become paramount. Especially when studying abroad, safeguarding your personal information is the key to avoiding identity theft and related scams. Use caution when disclosing private information like your passport details, social security number, or bank account information. Only divulge this information to credible entities, including your study abroad programme or the relevant government agencies. Important papers should be kept securely in both physical and digital form. Do not send them over unprotected networks or to strangers.
Garnering Information is Vital:
Your best line of defence against fraud is knowledge. Keep up with the latest fraudster tactics and be aware of frequent scams that prey on international students—following reliable sources like official government websites, embassy alerts, or dependable travel discussion groups to keep informed about potential threats. Keep in constant contact with your university, study abroad programme, and other students. They can offer advice, share their experiences, and warn you about odd behaviour or situations.
Feel reassured now that you are aware of potential scams. Your study abroad journey will undoubtedly be positive and transformative, albeit with some challenges. By simply being proactive and cautious, you minimise the risk of falling victim to scams to a large extent. Throughout your journey, always rely on your gut, ask for help when necessary, and exercise caution. A memorable and con-free international study experience depends on awareness and preventative steps. Safe travels, and take advantage of this life-changing chance!