Study Abroad? Top 20 Need-To-Knows to Travel Smart
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As the impact of COVID is gradually reduced, universities around the world are opening their doors to international students who wish to study abroad.
Studying abroad is so much fun due to the various benefits that studying in such an environment offers students.
As an international student, it can be a bit overwhelming to study abroad, especially if it's your first time in a foreign country. Recent studies show that the majority of students who choose to study abroad are
We spoke to a number of students who are currently studying abroad (both undergrads and postgraduates). We asked them what they wished they’d known before travelling to study abroad.
From visas and health insurance to bank accounts and tuition fees, we have a lot to consider before deciding to study abroad. We have broken down all these processes into a step-by-step guide.
Here are the top 20 things you need to make sure of before making the leap across the pond.
1. PLAN YOUR FUNDING AND SCHOLARSHIPS:
- The very first step in your study abroad process is to make sure that you have the finances to fund your degree.
- Also, you will need to provide evidence that you can cover your course fee as well as your living expenses while studying abroad.
- Estimate how much you will spend during your time abroad. If you don’t have enough money to fund your education, you have other options available, such as educational loans, exchange programmes, international scholarships, etc.
2. SEARCH OUT ALUMNI AND LOCAL CONNECTIONS:
- Let your plan to study abroad be known to all your family and friends. Tell them exactly where you are going.
- Any of them might have friends or relatives out there, which could end up being invaluable for you.
- If possible, talk to the alumni of the study abroad programmes to get an idea of their successes and struggles.
3. ORGANISE ALL THE NECESSARY TRAVEL DOCUMENTS:
- To study abroad, you will need a passport, a visa, and many other documents. Organise all the required paperwork in advance.
- Visa types may vary based on your choice of foreign country, university, and course.
- The visa process may take a while to fill out and several weeks to arrive. So, give yourself plenty of time to apply and get a visa.
- Check the expiration date of your passport and apply beforehand if required.
Let’s see these scholarships in detail.
4. LIST OUT ALL THE NECESSITIES NEEDED ABROAD:
Scotland’s Saltire Scholarship
- Studying abroad comes with a few discomforts as you need to adjust to new terrain.
- To avoid this, you need to make plans for all your basic necessities after arriving abroad, like adjusting to the local foods, medicines that are not available, etc.
- Notify your home bank account about your time away from the country.
- Carry some currency from your destination country with you to spend for the first few days until you set up your student bank account there.
5. PACK SMART:
- Before you start packing to study abroad, write down a list of everything you think you will need. Your first priority should be your documents.
- It is easy to overpack, though, so list out only important things that you will not be able to get or that are overpriced in a foreign country.
- Remember, you will get student discounts for certain items with your student ID card.
- Make sure that your wardrobe is in accordance with the culture and climate of your study destination, as few countries prefer conservative looks and others don’t.
- Be sure to pack some home comforts with you, like photographs, books, or any other memorabilia.
6. DO A COMPLETE PHYSICAL CHECKUP:
- Before leaving for your study abroad experience, get a complete health checkup and make sure that you are up to date with all your vaccines.
- Ask your doctor whether there are any specific recommendations or additional vaccines prescribed for your study destination.
- Ensure that you will get a regular supply of your prescriptions abroad. If not, carry alternative prescriptions from the doctor, which will be easily accessible while you study abroad.
7. BE READY TO ACCEPT A NEW CULTURE:
- Learn the local customs as much as possible before you head to study abroad. Be appreciative of the people in the new environment.
- Even though you may know the language of the country you are going to study, there are still chances for misunderstanding.
- Take up online language courses and tutorials and keep yourself updated on the country’s accent.
8. SORT OUT YOUR ACCOMMODATION
- When you choose to study abroad, you have to get your accommodations sorted out before landing there.
- The first place to look is the university itself, as they offer house guarantees to their students. It may be either self-catered or catered.
- Another choice is to rent a room from a private landlord. You can opt for private accommodation after your first year because you will be well aware of the area you live in.
- If you choose private rentals, check all the facilities provided by the landlord before signing the rental agreement.
9. RESEARCH YOUR STUDY DESTINATION:
- One of the most exciting parts of going to study abroad is that you get to explore a new place, new people, and a new culture.
- There is no harm in really getting to know your way around the country’s customs, laws, weather, etc.
- Look up the landmarks and tourist attractions over there and plan weekend trips with your friends to really maximise your time.
- Understand direction-inclined apps like Google Maps, etc., as well as manual maps in that region, to find your way in an unknown region.
10. FIGURE OUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATIONS:
- You need to ensure that you are well aware of the kind of transportation system used in the country before your arrival.
- This will help you get details in terms of time, cost, and distance between the places in that country that you may want to visit.
- Sometimes yearly student passes for the bus or train may help you save on the cost. If yes, invest in such passes with student discounts.
11. GET YOUR HEALTH AND TRAVEL INSURANCE COVERED:
- If you already have any health insurance, check whether it covers you while you are abroad.
- In a few countries, you may have to pay the health surcharge as part of your visa application.
- Don’t forget to take out travel insurance that covers the extra expenses that may occur due to loss of your belongings, cancelled travel plans, serious illness or injury, etc.
12. SET UP A STUDENT BANK ACCOUNT:
- Having a local bank account is a good way to avoid foreign currency exchanges and makes it easier for you to pay your bills.
- Check with your home country branch to see if they have services in the place where you study abroad.
- If not, open a new account in the destination country. Check for banks that provide student bank accounts to international students.
- Use prepaid cards until you have your own bank account, as carrying cash is not safe.
- To open a bank account, you may need to produce the following documents:
Address proof, both in your home country as well as the destination country
Student ID Card
13. CONSIDER FINDING A PART-TIME JOB:
- Part-time jobs are a great way to earn some extra money and develop your communication skills in a new country.
- And yes!!!! You may get an employee discount, depending on your job.
- But do not rely on your part-time jobs for your expenses.
- Keep yourself updated on the rights and options you have to work in a foreign country. This includes working hours, pay, etc.
- Make sure that you have all the legal documents to support your part-time work.
14. KNOW THE LAWS AND STICK TO THEM:
- Be sure to know and obey the laws of the host country for common activities like alcohol consumption, driving, etc.
- Even a minor incident can cause a lot of trouble for foreign students.
- You should know the nearest home country embassy and keep its phone number handy as well, in case you are in trouble.
15. STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
- Figure out low-cost international call providers in the foreign country while you study abroad.
- Alternatively, you can use Android or iOS apps like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc.
- You can plan your Wi-Fi and internet options depending on the type of accommodation you choose.
- For private rentals, the monthly bills may include internet charges.
- By staying in touch with your family and friends, you can go a long way towards staving off homesickness.
16. HAVE EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS:
- It's really a good idea to include the numbers of trusted contacts, both from your home country as well as from your study destination, as a list of emergency numbers in case you need them.
- Inform your kith and kin beforehand that you are providing their contacts for emergency purposes.
- Prior to leaving to study abroad, find out how to contact the police, ambulance, or any other emergency services in the new country.
17. CARRY A SOFT COPY OF ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS:
- Even though a hard copy is more important, it is better to save a soft copy of all your important documents in the cloud or on Google Drive.
- Make sure you can access it easily with any of the devices.
- Also, make sure you carry your student ID card with you all the time, as it will be your instant saviour if you get into trouble.
18. MAKE BACKUP PLANS:
Whoever fails to plan already plans to fail.
- However, everything may not go as planned in a completely new country. So, allow your plans to be flexible enough to accommodate changes.
- Keep an open mind about your upcoming adventure. That’s the fun part of studying abroad.
19. SAVE FOR EMERGENCIES:
- It's really important that you watch how you spend your initial days while going to study abroad.
- Don’t make people around you think that you have so much money, which may get you into trouble.
- Even if you are getting constant allowances or stipends, make sure to save a lot because it will help you face any unforeseen contingencies.
- Students who study abroad are always entitled to certain discounts that are not applicable to the general public. Use those opportunities and save every penny you can.
20. GO WITH YOUR NEW SELF:
- Having your original personality is wonderful. However, it is advisable to start with a clean slate when you study abroad.
- Show yourself gradually when it becomes appropriate.
- Love and relationships can be the reason why some people have second thoughts about studying abroad.
- You must understand that whatever comes your way, studying is your ultimate goal.
It may be hard for you to pack your life into a couple of suitcases and move to study abroad. It can be overwhelming when the new place is nothing like your home.
However, studying abroad is a good thing, as mentioned above. It’s a dream that people should embrace and learn to build themselves with the help of sophisticated learning.
You can observe the above tips, as they will make your study abroad process smooth and harmonious.
Appreciate and embrace the opportunity! It’s okay to feel nervous. But the excitement will kick in in no time!
Now that you have the tips see how to proceed for the January 2021 intake.
Have no idea how to proceed with the study abroad process? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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