Your “abroad” is guaranteed: work&study agencies vs. your own way
Looking for more security, political stability, financial opportunities, better healthcare systems, Russians are ready to invest an impressive amount of money in an opportunity to move to another country. As Russians get less and less satisfied with the life in the country, the amount of agencies promising an almost guaranteed place in summer schools, universities, companies etc. grows as well. This article will be concentrated on pros and contras of working with “work&study aboard” agencies. What can you expect from them? When are their services pointless? What should you look at by yourself when preparing a big change in your life? Let’s talk about it openly.
In order to sell their services, agencies often picture countries better than they really are. Do you still think that Germany is a country, which offers great jobs, good pay and a high pension, which you will use to travel the world? Did one promise you that China will change your life as it needs highly qualified professionals? Do you still think that your degree in economics from a top school will give you a bright future in Canada? Mature grown up people get inspired from advertisement and invest everything they have in order to move to another country. The more fare away the country is, the higher the fees of an agency will be.
A very good example is Canada, one of the main offers of “work&study aboard” agencies – and a very expensive one. Do you know that many of those who are born in Canada stop studying, because they see no employment perspectives even if they manage to pay the high study fees? What makes you think if will be different with you? The more far away country is, the higher is the probability of getting “nothing” when you invest all the money you have with the “everything or nothing” attitude.
Let’s imagine that you found a great agency with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. An agency will help you with what you pay for – the way to get into another country, be it a visa, a place at a high school or a Blue Card of a highly qualified professional with a work contract. They will not sit down with you and look though the legislation, analysing the pros and contras of various countries. Moreover, I often read forums, and such agencies are not up to date with the residence permit legislation, which may lead to a big failure. For instance, if you chose a private and expensive Marketing Academy in Germany and put a lot of effort into getting a place there, nobody will tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH after the graduation for the usual 18 months – this rule applies only to state universities. What a damn news if you invested over EUR 8.000 in your fees only! I would never advise you to rely on the legislation knowledge of an agency, especially if you are going to a country without speaking the local language – an agency will definitely be an expert in all the initial visa issues, but that will be it.
The client is the king
An MBA after 2 years of experience in IT? A Master in Public School Management? Whatever you want, an agency will get it for you without doubts. Without talking to you about the adequacy of your idea. Understanding the labour market as well as the general knowledge about the popularity of your future profession remains your own business. As we discovered many new professions in the last 5-10 years (Knowledge Manager, Bitcoin Expert etc.), the classical economic and law studies became less attractive, see my article about mixing professions. If you are not sure, which professions will be in demand when you graduate in the country of your dreams, start with a language course in order to spend some time there and understand the market.
Small mistakes – big pay
Many people are too motivated to get into the country. If your agency promises you that you easily get a job in China with a student visa, a job in Germany with a tourist visa etc., I have bad news for you. In most countries I visited, if you have the wrong visa type, you can’t officially work. If one catches working with a student visa, you will be sent home, and you will get no access to European visas at least next 3 years. If you come with a touristic visa into the country like Germany, you will not be allowed to change your visa to the work visa once you find an employer. Will your new employer wait, while you leave the country, apply for a work visa, pass the check procedures, get the visa and come back? I don’t think so.
“Work&study aboard” agencies can help you to improve your European CV, prepare documents for the study application, collect the documents for the work visa, understand the Blue Card requirements etc. However, do not expect that they will be able to make good decisions for you, to plan your future for the next 3-5 years or to help you to understand the requirements of the labour market. Those things you should do by yourself – so good luck with it!