A study abroad preparation checklist, a list of dos and don’ts, and a smorgasbord of things to bring to study abroad are all included in this package. Let’s start!
It shouldn’t be all that difficult to study abroad, right? You’ve talked to friends and classmates who have participated in study abroad and read reviews written by previous participants, as well as brochures, program descriptions, and eager advisors.
Even though you can logically say, “I got this,” a small voice in the back of your head still asks, “But do you really?” To tell you the truth, a trip to another country involves a lot of preparation. But don’t worry; we’re there for you. Learn everything you need to know as a first-time international student by reading on.
How to Get Ready for Study Abroad
- You need the right paperwork
When you study abroad, you have to go to another country; wahoo! You will need a brand-new form of identification, a passport, to accomplish this. Since passport processing can take several weeks, it is best to coordinate as soon as possible.
When you leave the United States and enter the new country, you will be asked to show your passport. If you want to study abroad, you may also need a visa; All of this depends on where you’re going. Make both digital and physical copies of your passport and visa, and make sure you know exactly what you need by talking to your advisor.
- The best time to purchase plane tickets is three months in advance
Your mom or grandma might try to get you to buy your ticket six months or more in advance, but even though they’re giving you peace of mind, it actually costs them a lot more than they should. In fact, the best time to purchase your ticket is three months before your departure, when prices are typically at their lowest.
The flight will be an excellent way to begin the journey. Depending on how strong your bladder is, you can choose a seat in the aisle or the window. For a movie marathon, you might get your own personal TV screen, and the food isn’t as bad as it used to be. Enjoy!
- Constantly safeguard your valuables
It is likely that you will be traveling with some of your most prized possessions, such as your passport, iPod, smartphone, laptop, fine jewelry, or cash. It is absolutely necessary for you to actively try to organize your belongings.
Although theft is not necessarily more likely when you are abroad than when you are at home, you will probably be more distracted (because you are having so much fun!). Place your cash in a money belt or other convenient location before you leave your dorm, apartment, or homestay. Secure anything you take with you!
- Get your online and bank passwords in order
A problem with your bank is one of the most frustrating things you could run into while studying abroad. Be sure to inform them in advance and provide specific dates regarding when and where you will be studying abroad. By doing this, you will significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing an “uh oh” moment when your credit or ATM card is unexpectedly declined.
In lieu of cash, many students participating in study abroad travel with debit cards. Understudies take out amounts of cash from the ATM depending on the situation, as unfamiliar ATMs appropriate cash in the nearby money. This aids in cutting down on bank wait times.
- Bring sturdy shoes for walking
Face the facts. Americans rarely walk anywhere; We typically get in our cars and drive five minutes to the store. Sometimes, we choose to drive across a large parking lot to get a spot that is closer to our next task.
In many other nations, life is not quite like this. As you continue to explore all of the nooks and crannies of your study abroad destination, you will walk a lot more than usual. Even though your heels are adorable, you simply won’t be able to walk the long city blocks and cobblestone streets in them. By investing in a quality pair of walking shoes, you will not only save your lower back, feet, and overall sanity but also yourself.
- You can get the essential toiletries you need elsewhere
Before going abroad to study, it might be in your best interest to stock up on your precious serums if you have a particular affinity for particular cosmetic brands. However, finding soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent, makeup, contact solution, and other toiletries abroad won’t be difficult if your hair shines regardless of Pantene and you don’t mind switching to a new scent of Old Spice.
The fact that some of these items may be significantly less expensive abroad is one advantage of the second option. First, if you just toss it in the shopping cart without thinking about it, your parents might pay for it. You get to decide!
- Therefore, where should I reside?
A shared apartment, a dorm on an international university campus, or a homestay are all possible housing options for your study abroad program. When it comes to selecting your overseas living situation, there is no right or wrong choice despite the abundance of options.
Having said that, in order for students to have the most effective, immersive, and interesting experience possible, we do advise them to deliberately push themselves outside of their comfort zones and look for housing that is less isolating than a private apartment. When the opportunity arises to interact with foreigners, whether they are local or not, it would be a shame to remain so isolated.
- Insurance and Medicines
If you already take prescription medications, you should make arrangements with your doctor to have them filled out while you are studying abroad. You shouldn’t count on your study abroad destination to have your particular medications ready.
Drugs that are available over the counter can be easily found abroad, but they sometimes have different names; To determine what to look for in the neighborhood pharmacy, all it takes is a brief Google search. The number of well-known pharmaceutical brands in your study abroad destination might surprise you!
Try not to panic if you ever need medical assistance abroad! You can get care in decent medical facilities in most foreign countries. Make sure you bring your insurance card and passport with you when you go to the clinic or the hospital. You will probably have to pay for the medical bills up front and then file a claim for them with your insurance company.
- Respect for other cultures
The student bears some responsibility when they study abroad. It is essential that you keep in mind the cultural norms of the country where you will be living and functioning. This could have an impact on how you dress, how you talk, and how you interact with the locals.
Travelers must practice sensitivity throughout their journeys because their actions may otherwise unnecessarily offend others or tarnish the reputation of all travelers.
- Embassies, security, and locations that you probably won’t want to visit with other tourists
Your resident programming staff will likely be your first point of contact in the event of an emergency while studying abroad. However, in the event of an emergency, you should direct your reservation to the embassy of your nation. Keep the location’s phone number and address on hand to avoid confusion in these chaotic circumstances.
Caution: There is nothing your country, your family, your friends, or the staff of your program can do if you are caught doing something illegal while studying abroad. Yes, you will be subject to a foreign jurisdiction; therefore, if you would prefer to have fun abroad rather than spend your days behind bars, avoid flirting with breaking any local laws!
Finally, a collection of pointers on how to get ready for international study
- Plugs. The plugs in other countries might surprise first-time students! Yes, what you’re accustomed to might not work abroad, and it’s highly likely that it won’t. You will need to either buy an adaptor before you go (a quick search on the internet should yield a plethora of options) or while you are in the country (certainly cheaper but slightly more difficult). If you don’t pay attention to the voltage at your study abroad destination, you run the risk of damaging your phones or hair dryers.
- Jetlag. It’s true! The general term “jetlag” is used to describe feeling tired after a long flight. resembled a zombie). You will have difficulty adjusting to a new time zone as your body adjusts to your epic time travel. Be patient with your body as it adjusts to a new time zone because it can take up to two weeks to fully adjust. Accept your inevitable early bedtimes or early rises and avoid napping.
Photos. You should bring a few extra SD cards to swap in if you want to document your entire experience with your camera, or you should buy a big-daddy 16GB card right away.
- Laundry. During your study abroad program, you’ll have to pay a lot of money to do your laundry. You could start hand-washing your clothes and hanging them to dry to offset the costs. They may be transported to the closest laundromat by other students, or your lodging may have a washer and dryer. Regardless, ensure that you include additional funds in your budget to cover these upcoming expenses.
Checklist for Abroad Study
We’ve put together this handy-dandy resource as a checklist for students traveling abroad because we love you so much. For those of our friends who aren’t as visual, here’s a text version:
Step 1: Find a program The first thing you should do on your list for studying abroad is to look at programs to see what else is available. Are you interested in studying abroad for a semester, summer, or year? Or fewer? Do you want to go to school in a developed or a developing nation? Which type of housing is best? Compare programs side by side and read reviews. Pick your favorite and size them up!
Talk to your parents and your academic, study abroad, and other campus advisors from there. to guarantee that your credits will transfer and that you will be ready to go.
Step 2: Get your finances in order. The next step on the checklist for going abroad is to get your cash flow in order. Making a budget, finding a part-time job, and opening a savings account are all part of this step’s careful financial planning. The list continues! You can save money every day in a variety of ways instead of waiting for gratification in the future.
Find as many study abroad scholarships as you can and apply for as many as you can to take it to the next level.
Step 3: Tie up any loose ends Before you can start your study abroad experience, there are a lot of things you need to tie up. Here is a short list of things you can do to make preparing for study abroad easy, similar to the advice above. Check the vaccination requirements for your destination, get your passport and visa, and make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup (and those shots — ugh!). Make reservations for your flights, but also ensure that your campus ducks are in line. Confirm your housing for the upcoming year and enroll in classes for the upcoming semester. Get an international phone plan, activate travel alerts on your bank cards, and purchase travel insurance.
Step 4: Get your things together and leave immediately!
Who would have thought that getting ready for a global education could be so fun? You must have had a lot of assistance along the way, and your friends and family are sure to appreciate it. Make sure you thank them. Your checklist for studying abroad is now out of date. Your checklist for preparing for study abroad is now out of date. It’s time for the real fun and learning to begin.
Now everything will be perfect!
You will have an absolutely trouble-free, stress-free, and enjoyable time abroad if you memorize this entire article…NOT.
Traveling in nature can be chaotic. There may be unexpected last-minute changes to the plan, missed connections, or other sudden obstacles. Your study abroad experience won’t just be for the sake of having fun if you learn to roll with the punches and have a little fun along the way. Additionally, you will learn a lot and significantly develop as a person (which bodes well for your future!).
And before you know it, you’ll be studying abroad for the second, third, or even fourth time.