Take This Advice Before You Study Abroad

A collage illustration of the the ten alumni winners of the International Alumni of Impact program

International Education Week (IEW) is a special time to celebrate all that’s been accomplished to make education more accessible on a global scale.  We’ve come a long way, and to help celebrate, we’ve asked nine of our incredible International Alumni of Impact (IAOI) winners for their words of wisdom and study abroad advice they’d give to international students.

Read on to find out what these alumni have to say about persistence, support systems, participation, gratefulness, and confidence.   

Thinking about studying abroad? ApplyBoard offers tons of program options in five different countries to help you achieve your dream. 

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On Pushing Through

Choosing to study abroad in an unfamiliar country is a big choice, and you’ll encounter challenges along the way. Our IAOI winners know a thing or two about overcoming challenges; here’s their study abroad advice: 

“…Embrace new experiences and challenge yourself to step beyond your comfort zone. Remember the wise quote, ‘A ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.’” – Asif Hossain

“As an international student, maintaining faith and optimism is crucial. Defeats offer valuable growth opportunities. Despite circumstances beyond our control, we can choose our mindset and response. Embracing challenges with resilience and determination leads to personal and academic progress. In the face of setbacks, remember they are temporary and don’t define your future. With optimism, discover hidden possibilities and find creative solutions.” – Walter Alvarez-Bardales 

“It is not easy to start from ground zero alone, and it is important we celebrate our resilience.” – Ramneet Brar 

An illustration of six hands together in unity.

On Support Systems

Having a strong support system is key to a successful journey abroad. Whether it’s composed of friends you’ve made in class, professors, or community leaders you’ve befriended from volunteering, it’s important to lean on the individuals who will take your study abroad journey to the next level. Our IAOI award winners Christine and Kajol share their study abroad advice about support systems: 

“… Remember that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or seek support from your university or your community. Canadians are known for their friendly and helpful nature, so please reach out when you need assistance, guidance, or simply someone to talk to.” – Christine Qin Yang 

“… Build a network of well-wishers, community leaders and professionals that will become your support system in a new country.” – Kajol Bhatia 

Read more about ApplyBoard’s International Alumni of Impact program and our ten award winners on our blog

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On Participation

It can feel difficult to put yourself out there, especially when you’re studying in a new country. Despite how scary it might feel, the things you’ll gain from raising your hand in class, starting a conversation with a stranger, or joining a new club far outweigh the initial struggle. Chetanya and Roy offer the following words of wisdom about the benefits of participation.

“I would like to pass this amazing learning that I got in my first year from a professor … that ‘Your Network is Your Net Worth in Canada,’ to all the current [and] upcoming students; rather than just focusing on part-time jobs or studies, spend some time with professors and networking events.” – Chetanya Sharma 

“I strongly recommend [students] to actively participate in various school events or volunteering experiences to share cultures and knowledge.” – Roy Cho  

Illustration of hands holding heart

On Appreciation

Navigating such a big change in your life can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. With so much to learn from the process, practicing gratitude and appreciation can help you make the most of this exciting adventure, and can even give way to more exciting opportunities! Here is what Anjo and Walter have to say about gratitude. 

“Embrace and show the utmost respect for the land by acknowledging the place you’re in. Be welcoming to changes to promote diversity and a network of opportunities to keep going.” – Anjo Colago

“Humility fosters a sense of empathy and reminds us that we are part of a larger community. By remaining humble, we continue to learn and grow, fostering connections and making a positive impact on those around us.”  – Walter Alvarez-Bardales 

Want to nominate yourself for the International Alumni of Impact Awards? Or does someone you know deserve to be nominated? Sign up to be notified when the nomination period for IAOI 2024 opens.

An illustration of hands raised.

On Confidence

While studying abroad can push and challenge you, it’s important to remember how far you’ve come. You’re a deserving student and have the power to make positive change. Christine and Gurpreet offer the following advice about confidence, and staying true to yourself while studying abroad.

“Don’t think of yourself as an outsider. Engag[e] actively in the campus and local community. Remember, you have a unique place and contribution to make within the community.”  – Christine Qin Yang

“To every international student: I would like to convey my message that your legacy is very important, preserving and sharing your culture, values and messaging is very important, and that would surely lead you one day to an authentic success story for you. Be proud and confident of your identity, your skills, and your talents because that will always make you successful in the most unique way possible. Make time to thank and learn from your community and try to give back to it, because when your whole community thrives, it makes for the most satisfying feeling. Believe in yourself, believe in Chardikala (ever-rising spirits of high optimism) and achieve great things!” – Gurpreet Singh Broca 

An illustration of the International Alumni of Impact logo with a male student smiling beside it.

Announcing Our IAOI Scholarship Recipients 

To celebrate our International Alumni of Impact winners’ exceptional contributions, ApplyBoard has created one-time C$1,000 scholarships in each winner’s name, at the institution they graduated from. 

These scholarships are awarded to deserving international students who secured their acceptance to one of these institutions through ApplyBoard. These scholarships aim to support the next generation of international leaders, allowing them to pursue their dreams and positively impact their communities.

Through this program, ApplyBoard has awarded a total of C$10,000 in scholarships to help educate the next generation of leaders. Each recipient has received a one-time C$1,000 scholarship towards their studies in the 2023 summer or fall semesters. 

Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients! We look forward to receiving and sharing their own impactful advice for future students, once they too have graduated and made their mark. 

Whether you’re thinking about studying abroad or already are, we hope this advice helps you make the most of your journey. 

Have these quotes inspired you to start your own study abroad adventure? The ApplyBoard platform offers over 140,000 programs and courses to best fit you. Make your dreams come true, and check it out today.     


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