Article written by Rodolfo Benevenuto.
As soon as I disclosed my plans of studying abroad to my family and friends, the question I was asked most was: What about your wife? Are you going to live apart?
My answer was: Why should we?
Since I met my wife, around 6 years ago, we have always been dreaming about many different ways of experiencing the world to learn as much as we can and eventually come back home and do something really meaningful for our country. Of course, all of these plans were made considering we live together. We had considered the famous organic farms, the reputable volunteering programs (ADRA, for example), a sabbatical year, and last but not least, to study abroad.
After a couple of years struggling with the lack of courage to go abroad, we eventually realised that the most structured, productive and financially safe way for us to do that would be through a post-grad opportunity.
After one year running after applications, TOEFL exams, research projects, motivation letters, recommendation letters, scholarships, and many other bureaucratic processes, we finally managed to come together to do our PhD in Dublin, Ireland.
For this reason, I want to share some precious pieces of information that I think every couple should know, before giving up hope of studying abroad together.
- Budget is not a barrier
Through Study Portals, you can access plenty of scholarship opportunities that are offered for international students. Moreover, you can also look up for private institutions in your own country (as Fundação Estudar in Brazil), and public programmes that are frequently launched to sponsor students abroad. Moreover, part-time jobs at the university, or telecommuting jobs can also be a good alternative to complement your incomes.
- Use education to reorient your career
We are frequently told that the safer way to improve our future is through education. However, sometimes we are so deeply involved in our routine that we just pass the opportunities we have. If you eventually lost the original purpose that led you to where you are now, reconsider returning to education.
One of the biggest drivers that motivated our decision to study abroad was the idea of reorienting our career in a sense which we could match purpose and work in our daily routine. It has definitely been a positive experience and a successful strategy so far.
- Talk with student ambassadors who live with a partner
This is an essential step for your planning and motivation. Student ambassadors that live with partners can give you a good overview about the life of a couple in the city that you are planning to go to. We, as ambassadors, can give accurate figures about expenses for couples, describe best places to live in, explain about the work opportunities for both, and offer a lot of other useful hints.
- Share emotional balance
Having a partner who shares the same ideas and background as you is extremely important when you face the countless challenges of studying abroad. I would say that it is like riding a tandem bike. Whenever one loses balance the other is right there to back you up on the way to steady you.
- Study and learn together
It’s all about people. Even the most scenic landscapes of the world can be just meaningless if you are isolated, away from the people you love. Studying abroad with your partner is a spectacular opportunity to broaden your outlook of life and share the experience of knowing together the most spellbinding corners of the world.