10 Important Considerations You Must Make Before Studying Abroad
Have you just been accepted to an amazing “study abroad” programme? If so, then you must be very excited about the whole new opportunity. You will be meeting new people and making new friends. You will see new places and get into a whirlwind of fun. However, you must consider carefully how you are going to prepare for this life-changing experience to make the most of it.
So, way before you board the plane to your international destination, there are a few things that you have to do and decide upon that can make a huge difference to your entire experience abroad. This will include how you should manage your finances, look for student accommodation, and even use your phone while overseas.
You do not have to worry because all of these are listed below.
1. BEGIN WITH A PASSPORT AND A VISA APPLICATIONIt is without a doubt that you have to possess a valid passport and a visa in order to travel and study abroad. It is much better if you have one that will not expire within 6 months prior to your return home. On the other hand, you have to ensure that you still have blank pages left if you have been travelling in the past.
For those who will be travelling abroad for the first time, you can directly apply for a passport at authorised other government agencies. However, you must know that the process could take 6 to 12 months. It may be possible to expedite the process, but you have to pay extra. So to avoid more expenses, it is much better that you start applying for one in advance.
2. SEE A TRAVEL PHYSICIAN FOR A HEALTH EXAMINATIONBefore you go, decide when you can see a doctor for a physical examination. This way, you can be sure that you are in perfectly good health. Besides, you will need medical records when you go overseas. This might become a need during emergency situations. So, keep a copy of these documents with you at all times.
It is also crucial to know what your host country’s immunisation requirements are. In this way, you will be prepared and be immunised prior to departure. Most scholarship programmes do, however, advise which vaccinations to have while abroad.
Also, if you have any present medical condition that requires frequent intervention and prescription drugs, you should bring enough of the needed supplies. Have these labelled correctly to avoid them being mistaken for prohibited drugs.
3. APPLY FOR TRAVEL INSURANCEWhile staying and studying overseas, make sure that you are already covered with a reliable accident and health insurance policy. Aside from this, you must also be covered for repatriation and emergency evacuation whenever necessary.
If you have a current health insurance provider, make sure that you can still be covered even when overseas – just to be sure. Be covered for cancelled and delayed flights, lost luggage, stolen belongings, evacuation, and other emergencies.
4. PURCHASE A PLANE TICKET – IF REQUIREDWhen you have been accepted into a scholarship programme, check with your grant provider if they will also be paying for your airplane tickets. If not, you have to buy your own tickets from a travel agency. To find affordable airfare, make sure that you check out student travel agencies for a range of inexpensive and flexible prices. Prior to settling for a flight date, do check if it is changeable.
5. LEARN ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION’S CUSTOMS, CULTURE, TRADITIONS, AND MOREBefore you set foot on your host country, it is best to read what their customs, culture, traditions, and people are like. Know a little bit of their economy, geography, history, and government. Talk to people who have been there and watch related films whenever possible. Since you will be living abroad for a long period of time, you have to know how to adapt to a new country and life. In this way, there will be fewer adjustments to do, and you will not be offending the locals unknowingly.
On the other hand, explore your options for local accommodation providers. So, when you get there, you know where you are going to stay and what the neighbourhood near the student housing Brisbane has, for example, would be like. This will make it easier for you to blend in with the locals around the shared accommodation property.
6. IMPROVE YOUR LANGUAGE SKILLSLearn a little about the local language, such as basic greetings, phrases, and words. If possible, take language classes and ask friends who speak the language for tips. Go to websites that have free online classes too. Doing this will greatly help you.
7. KNOW HOW TO MANAGE YOUR FINANCESWhen you are looking forward to studying abroad, create a financial plan to effectively manage your finances overseas. Additionally, set up a foreign bank account when possible. You can do this online, so that you will have the means to withdraw money even while abroad.
Moreover, leave your old credit card and find a new one that offers no exchange fees. Spending on travellers cheque and converting through a foreign exchange counter will only result in higher fees. This will just be making your stay a bit more expensive than planned.
Lastly, bring with you foreign currency to have enough spare cash to spend. This comes in handy especially during your first few weeks abroad.
8. DECIDE CAREFULLY WHAT TO PACKAs much as possible, travel light. However, make sure that you have all the stuff that you need during your trip. Do not bring anything extra to avoid additional baggage fees. Bring with you at least three bags: one for checking in, another as carry on, and a personal item like a purse.
If you are bringing more than one checked bag, you will only be burdening yourself, and this will result in an exhausting travel. Only pack stuff that you find most important, such as shoes, adapters, toiletries, and clothes. Also, bring with you mementos in case you become homesick during your stay in a Brisbane accommodation unit, for instance.
Come up with a packing list and note which items you can bring overseas. Some items might be banned by the airport and even the QUT student accommodation provider. So, to avoid getting into trouble, do a little bit of research to validate.
9. BRING MOBILE PHONES AND CONTACT NUMBERSCommunication, even while far from home, is quite easy nowadays. You can install mobile apps, such as Facebook and Skype, on your phone for free calls. So, even if you do not have an international phone plan, you will still be able to keep in touch with home.
When you have a locked phone, make sure that you call your provider to have it unlocked. In this way, you will be able to use it internationally. Who wants a pricey phone bill anyway?
10. PREPARE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLYMoving away from home may be tough emotionally. To better prepare yourself mentally for this life-changing decision, you have to condition your mind for anything that may happen. Learn to observe without being hypercritical about everything. Set expectations, but know that these are not always true.
You will meet a lot of people, but not every one of them will be good to you. Ask for foreign policies to keep yourself knowledgeable. Read articles and newspapers to stay informed of current affairs. Exercise to stay in good shape.
Talk to your family and friends about this, so you will have a strong support system. So, when the time comes that you will be leaving, you are already prepared holistically.