Study Abroad Interview


How to pass a study abroad interview at your home university!

Congratulations, you made it to the last selection round! There is only one interview left before you can start packing your bags and take off. This article goes over tips and tricks on how to nail your study abroad interview successfully.

The purpose of the study abroad interview

To pass that last step, you need to understand the reason behind it first. Like any other interview, the people in charge want to meet you first to understand your motivation and skills better. And in this case, it is not some company, but your home university. You are a potential candidate to represent your university at one of your partner universities abroad. So they want to make sure that you’re the right person for the job. Once abroad, don’t underestimate how often you’ll tell people (fellow students, staff, and professors) where you’re from. Tip number one: Be aware of the fact that you are an ambassador. Act accordingly, dress well (not too fancy, you are still a student), and be very polite!

What will they ask me in the study abroad interview?

You can sum it up in four areas:

Further questions might go along the lines of:

However, it would be best if you had already covered these (5-8) in your letter of motivation. See this article to know what to focus on or check out the letter of motivation template breakdown. Make sure to occasionally drop some hints to points 5-8 anyway, even if not being asked directly. If the faculty staff knows the local language, the entire interview will most likely be in that language anyhow (mostly English). If not, it is essential to point out how well you know the local language.

CV - Your Past

When it comes to your CV, they want to know what you’ve done so far, what qualifies you for the program, or how it fits into your current path. In other words, they refer to your past. You should be able to talk freely about every position you have held. Ideally, you can explain how it relates to the program you are applying for and your long term career goal. But focus on the positions first and present them in as much detail as required.

Motivation - The Present

Explain your choice. What is your motivation, why do you want to do it, and why in that specific country and university? Here, you talk more about the present. Show that it is a great way to improve particular skills, take unique courses, or do some research project. Just as in your letter of motivation, explain your primary reason(s) to go abroad and why it has to be this specific country and university. It would be best if you could show them your enthusiasm and excitement! Try to practice in front of a mirror and review your facial expression. You might also want to record your voice to hear how you sound when talking about your motivation.

Detailed Questions

Just as in any other interview, they can ask you somewhat more tricky or in-depth questions. The same applies here. You might get detailed questions regarding your reasoning to go abroad or your letter of motivation.

So make sure you know what you were talking about in your letter of motivation. If you stated country-specific information or facts about the university, make sure to know way more background information than you provided in the letter. This shows that you’re really interested in the country, its culture, and history. If you can’t elaborate on the facts you mentioned yourself, this puts you in a tough situation.

Goals and Plans - Your Future

In the study abroad interview, explain how the program can help you achieve your long term career goal or plans. Show that there is some thread or recurrent theme in your CV and that participating in that study abroad program is just the logical next step for you. Demonstrate how you can benefit from it or what your hopes and expectations are. Ask yourself, what do you expect to gain from it? Ideally, this rounds up your past (CV), present (motivation), and future (goals).

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