If you are interested in gaining experience outside of your home country during your graduate studies, you basically have two choices. First, you can apply to PhD programs in a country other than your own. Second, you can enroll in a program in your home country and spend time at a different institution as a visiting student in order to do research for your dissertation. Regardless of your specific path, studying abroad is a valuable experience that can enrich your life in many ways!
In addition to broadening your own horizons, engaging in graduate work outside of your home country tends to be viewed very favorably by both the academic and private sectors. At its most basic, studying in another country will enhance your language skills and offer you valuable chances to enhance your understanding of other cultures. Beyond these opportunities, living and working in another country can:
- Highlight willingness for mobility
- Underscore ambition and drive
- Expand your network to an international scale
- Broaden your exposure to diverse research and teaching methods
- Generate publication and presentation opportunities
No matter where you are planning to study, it is nearly universal that students need to acquire special visas in order to study and live in a foreign country. The best option is to check with your home university, as they can usually offer specific help in the visa application process and answer questions on the matter. If you are not currently a student, you can usually find helpful information on the embassy website of the country where you would like to go.
Generally, graduate entry exams are not necessary for exchange or visiting students, except in the case of language tests. If you are interested in pursuing a full degree in a country such as the United States or Australia, however, it is quite likely that you will have to provide GRE scores as part of your application. Below you can find basic information regarding language tests and entrance examinations for graduate study.
If you are planning to study in a foreign country or would like to enroll in a program taught in English in your own country, you will most likely have to first pass a language assessment exam. The most well recognized tests for the English language are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). These tests are each widely accepted and are viewed as offering a fair assessment of English language skills. Tests for other languages, such as Spanish, French or German, can usually be taken at language institutes or through home universities.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a test required for entry into most Master’s programs in North America, Australia and in certain other countries. The GRE includes verbal, quantitative and analytical sections and adapts in difficulty to the test-takers responses after each section. This test is owned and operated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which also runs the TOEFL English test and many others. The GRE is usually taken on a computer and is offered in locations around the world.