Applying for an International University from the UAE: A Dubai Student's Experience |

Applying for an International University from the UAE: A Dubai Student's Experience

Read what a Dubai-based student at Swiss International Scientific School has to say about her university decision and application process

Posted on

31 May 2021

Last updated on 29 July 2021
Applying for international colleges as a secondary school student from the UAE

Meet Nil Keskin, a graduate at Dubai's high-performing IB curriculum school, with aspirations in Economics.

Hello everyone!

My name is Nil Keskin and I am a grade 12 student at Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai. I am currently in my last year of the IB Diploma Programme. I take mathematics application and interpretation, business management and English language and literature at higher level; and biology, chemistry and French language and literature at standard level.

When choosing where to study, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be in Europe because of the following factors: First of all, I speak fluent English and French and I can practice both in a lot of European countries. Secondly, I love travelling and I can travel to so many different countries in Europe for rather affordable prices. And lastly, I will be close to my family while still getting an excellent education

SEE ALSO: How IB Education Opens Doors For Students to Their Dream Colleges

After considering different countries in Europe, I decided to target one that impressed me the most: the Netherlands. The process of finding a university in the Netherlands took time, as there is a wide range of universities. To narrow down my choices, I first looked at their entry requirements.

Once I identified the ones that I am eligible to apply to, I created a Microsoft Word document and I literally put all the information that would help me with my decision (e.g. classes offered, opportunity for study abroad, internships, cost of living, finding a dorm, student life, international outlook etc.). I then noticed that Amsterdam and Gröningen were the best fit for my criteria.

Gröningen, Netherlands

Pictured: Gröningen, Netherlands

The international community in both cities impressed me because I knew from the beginning of my application process that I wanted to be in a multicultural environment. Furthermore, the availability of a wide range of social and cultural activities interested me as they will allow me to both expand my horizon and my international network.

As an Economics student who eventually aspires to enter the business world, connections are very important. Now of course, with COVID, these activities are probably not happening as often anymore, which makes me a little bit sad, but I believe that Netherlands managed the situation quite well and that these activities will resume at one point during my 3 years in the Netherlands.

I did not find the application process in the Netherlands to be difficult. I had enough IB predicted points to apply to the best universities in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I was ready to spend a lot of time on my motivational letter, which is an important part of the application process.

SEE ALSO: The IB Diploma Programme: An Advantage for University Admissions?

And to be honest, because I want to go to the Netherlands a lot and I am genuinely interested in Economics, the application process was not stressful but rather exciting. I enjoyed researching and learning more about my potential future life a lot!

Applying for international universities as a student from the UAE

I am going to be honest with you guys, the best piece of advice that I can give you is to apply early. We all know how stressful the last two years of high school are, whether you are doing A-levels, IB, French Baccalaureate or any other diploma.

The earlier you get your offer, the less stressful it is going to be for you because you know that you have secured a place. But don’t forget that especially for European universities, grades are extremely important.

If you think you can wait a little while more and improve your grade to the requirements of the university, it might be wise to wait and apply later with the student profile they are looking for. To decide on when to apply according to your academic profile, I highly advise you to communicate with your teachers and university counsellors.

Having said that, don’t forget to enjoy your last years of high school, because you will never get them back. Focus on your studies and perform your best, but don’t forget to spend time with your loved ones, especially in the UAE, because people go to many different parts of the World once secondary school is over.

I wish you all the best with your applications! Have a great day!

Nil received a number of offers, one of them being University of Gröningen to study BSc in Economic.

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