Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and gain unique experiences. Before you go, however, there are several things you need to consider. From sorting out your finances to researching your destination, there are a lot of preparations that need to be made. Taking the time to do these preparations will help ensure a smooth and successful experience. Here is a list of things to do before studying abroad to make sure you are properly organised before your departure.
Researching your destination
Before moving abroad to your chosen study abroad destination it is highly recommended that you do a thorough online study on it. Research its people, culture, food, interesting places to visit, and of course, language. If you don’t speak the language of your chosen destination, plan to take an introductory course before setting out. Later, after living there and immersing yourself in the local culture, your fluency and communication skills will greatly improve.
One of the biggest factors to consider is where you will be living once you get there. There are multiple options you can choose from, such as on-campus housing or off-campus housing. Check the rent and distance from the university if you are choosing to live off-campus and possible transportation routes and costs. If you are choosing to live in the university dormitory, you won’t have to worry about getting to campus. So research your options and secure housing before you land there.
Leave a Paper Trail
Make sure that you have made multiple copies of your important personal and health documents in both paper and digital formats such as your birth certificate, passport, degrees, travel insurance, medical history and vaccination card). Keep digital and paper copies with you all the time and give one set of copies to a trusted friend or family member. This way you will save time and stress if you need to show them in a hurry.
Save as much money as you can
Studying abroad has various costs associated with it. You will need money for the application fee, for tuition, accommodation, travel and whatnot. So, start saving beforehand.
Contact your Bank
Another thing to do is to discuss available options with your home bank. Determine the costs of getting access to your money while living abroad. Will the bank charge an exorbitant fee to use a foreign ATM? If necessary, you may want to open an account with a bank that offers favourable services. Beware of fees, commissions and other costs associated with accessing your money. We would recommend withdrawing enough money to last you a week or two if you are using your ATM card.
Making travel arrangements
You have been accepted into the university of your choice, you know how when it begins and ends. Now, it’s time to make travel arrangements. If you have time then we would suggest booking in advance as reserving early can help you save money.
Confirm Health Insurance
You may not think that health insurance is important when you are about to have the adventure of a lifetime. Sorry to burst your bubble but it is. You don’t know your future and you have no idea what trouble will end up in a foreign hospital, so make sure you have insurance to cover the cost if god forbid you ever end up in a hospital.
Pack and Pack Lightly
Start packing a week before your departure, this way you may have enough time to put more or take out stuff. Check your luggage limit before you start packing so that you only take the important stuff. Another important thing to remember is travel light. It is easier to handle lightweight luggage and you may need to travel from one place to another after getting there or you need to take a short flight to get to your destination. Handling multiple or heavy bags will become a huge burden.
Work on your emotional health
As the date of departure gets closer, you will likely experience a mixture of different emotions such as excitement, stress, giddiness and worry. Know that this is completely normal. Make sure to reach out to friends and family, and see them often. Make plans to visit your favourite spots in the city, restaurants or anything you think you will miss while being in the other country. Or stay in and hibernate in your house with your family, do whatever you need in order to feel ready.
Staying connected with loved ones
Take some time out of your busy schedule to let others who care for you know what you are doing and if the experience is as you expected. Share whatever you want, your family won’t care much for the time difference. Taking and staying connected to your loved ones can help if you are feeling homesick.
Staying organised throughout the process
Try to stay organised from the get-go. Make a to-do list and do everything according to it. This way you can make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Travelling to stay and study in a foreign country is not easy. You can’t plan everything, there will be things that won’t go your way but with planning and preparations, the likelihood of that happening will be less.
Charge Your Electronics
This is very important, once you reach your study abroad destination you could need your mobile or laptop for multiple reasons. So, charge it up fully before leaving for the airport and keep chargers in the backpack you will be carrying.
Now you know what you need to do before studying abroad. In order to be successful in your goal of learning another language, you will also need to prepare yourself emotionally and financially. You also need to consider various other factors including the weather and culture of your destination. Do this research and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful student abroad.