Have you considered going abroad for University Image Credit: Wiki Commons


  • Understanding the entry requirements of the university you want to visit
  • A very important factor to consider when choosing a university is location
  • The top reason to go to university was because students were passionate about their subject

Choosing a university can be a big decision. It can set you up for a greater choice of jobs and careers and a chance for better pay. There is clear evidence that investing time and effort into achieving University qualifications will pay back overtime. Surveys of employer’s show that at least a third of current jobs in the UAE require workers qualified to degree level. This proportion will continue to grow and the number of jobs for young people without skills or qualifications is expected to continue to decline.

We spoke to an expert, Mrs. Farzana Saeed Hussain who is the Director of Secondary School at the International School of Creative Science about how a student can make the best decision with their university career.

Things to think about:

Entry requirements

Understanding the entry requirements of the university you want to visit are very important. After completion of studies here in UAE, many students tend to travel back to their home countries or pursue an education in the North America, Europe or Australia.

- Farzana Saeed Hussain

Understanding the entry requirements of the university you want to visit are very important. After completion of studies here in UAE, many students tend to travel back to their home countries or pursue an education in the North America, Europe or Australia. It’s imperative that students understand the requirements for prior educational qualifications needed for each country, so that they plan and work towards the goal of studying in the university they want to attend. Some universities require British curriculum qualifications and some require American so understanding the requirements prior to applying is wise.

Rankings (domestic and international)

The cost of further education rises yearly so students should make sure they get value for money. The degree (level) should match the costs. Students, who want to secure a job straight after university, have bigger chances of achieving that, if the ranking of the university is high. The quality of teaching and learning will also play a role in the ranking as students perceive the better the university the higher the chances for quality learning to take place.

Fees and scholarships

Due to financial constraints, some students need to look for alternatives instead of paying full fees. Many believe that scholarships are primarily designed for students who are in dire need of financial assistance. This is not the case. In fact, winning a scholarship can be beneficial to any student. Scholarships are given to students with great grades or promising athletic skills. In order to gain a potential scholarship, students should plan ahead, study hard and achieve great results, so that they are eligible.

Questions you might have

Does location matter?

Location, location, location.

A very important factor to consider when choosing a university is location. Whether you want to study in your home country or travel abroad, where you study influences your life for the next four years.

I was very keen to study at NYU Abu Dhabi as it felt like I would be studying abroad in a campus that is 20 minutes away from home

- Fatima Mohammed Al Dhaheri

"I wanted to major in Arts and Law as this is what I have always been passionate about and loved, and I knew that NYU Abu Dhabi would equip me with the necessary tools to eventually become a global leader with international aspirations" she told Gulf News.

Many students I’ve come across explained the importance of proximity from their families. Many don’t want to leave, because of culture and cost.

Students felt that the expenses of moving abroad and the cultural learnings of parents, restrict their mobility. Most students I speak to opted for UAE based universities, even though international Universities are ranked far higher.

Khalid Walid Saleh, a former graduate from Florida State University and Rice University in Texas, grew up in Dubai, but chose to study abroad so he could get a different experience.

Choosing to leave the comfort of your home for university is a mighty challenge. Bursting the proverbial bubble to start a life of your own takes guts. It’s not easy.

- Khalid Walid Saleh

"It takes an adjustment period, but anything that’s worth it takes time. It’s not for everyone. University abroad is a stepping stone for an independent life, an experience that’s not only rewarding, but one that fosters growth" he told Gulf News.

However, no matter where you are, your university should be located in a place where students can easily access clinics and hospital for training/internships, and coffee shop and restaurants to lounge in. They should also have the university in a place where it’s easy for many students around the country to reach.

What if you don’t know what you want to do?

For the lost ones out there, stop worrying! I know seeing your friends choosing universities, yet having no clue what you want to do, is at times worrisome. However it is completely okay, everyone walks on their own path with their own pace. Start of by learning what you enjoy studying and use the internet to explore all the possible jobs out there, I am sure there is something out there for you. I also suggest that you ask someone who knows you well enough for advice. Also ask your teachers, they always help. Never hurts to get a second opinion. Take it slow and take your time going to different internships and exploring different subjects.

What were some important reasons for you to attend university?

Some students said that they wanted to go to university because everyone around them went to university, indicating that many students wanted to go to university of their own accord rather than because of peer influence.

I knew that I needed to be at a school driven by impact, both from an administrative and a cultural level.

- Tatyana Ivelisse Brown

Tatyana Ivelisse Brown, a New York University Abu Dhabi student told Gulf News, That would be central in challenging me to be better and do better for the world. I think when choosing a school we need to be honest with ourselves about the impact we want to have and if the university we choose is able to meet our mission. When the two match, magic happens."

Students were given a list of factors and had to list their top three reasons for going to university. The top reason was revealed as being passionate about their subject, with the continuation of learning and development coming in a close second. High-quality teaching and the availability of scholarships were two of the most important factors that students looked at when choosing a university.

How does university help in ways other than studies?

University gives students experience in different perspectives in life. University helps students in critical thinking and prepares them for the world of work. Skills such as team work, problem solving and taking initiative develops in the students abilities.

Making new friends while being in a whole new surroundings and being able to adapt to new places is also developed. Students become more independent while trying out new different things and participating in activities. And if you're planning to live on campus, you learn how to do a-lot of things on your own that teaches you a-lot about living life in a prosperous way. It really gives you a learning experience that prepares you for real life. It is not all about academic but also being able to build your personality and appreciation for others while also being tolerant about other people's values and beliefs.