Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity to travel, meet new people, learn a new language, and expand your worldview. Whether you are going there just for a semester or for a couple of years, it can be a life-changing experience. Of course, some students might feel unsure about it in terms of stress. All these documents, applications, and financial questions can become hard fast. Also, it is a completely new environment, which can seem to be isolating. If I get stuck with my college assignments, where do I go?
All my peers are elsewhere, so how can I get through another essay or research paper? Where do I go with my questions? Those are valid concerns, yet they should not discourage you.
Study abroad will probably have other curriculum and different requirements for academic papers. But there is help out there. You can always ask professors and college advisors for advice, as well as other exchange students. And if you wonder, “Can I just pay someone to write my paper?” – The answer is yes. Online academic help platforms are available from any country globally, which makes them great. You can get expert opinion and assistance with proofreading, editing, or writing from anywhere.
All the worries one might have about your study abroad can be prevented by the right preparation and doing due diligence. And here are the best tips on doing so.
1. Start Planning Early
The earlier you start, the better it is. As soon as you know that you want to go to study abroad, start researching the opportunities. What programs are available for your country? Are there exchange programs in your university? What of them can you apply to? What are the requirements, and how can you fulfill them?
Talk to the college advisor about that and collect all the information. Think about money, documents, living, and academic requirements. It is great to start not later than 6 months before the departure.
2. Get Financial Aid
The next question to address is paying for an exchange program. Research all the options available. Apply for any grants and scholarships you can to reduce disbursements.
There are scholarships dedicated to studying abroad exclusively (Gilman scholarship, for example), so get a look into that. Also, there might be offers for students based on the region they are going to. Overall, there are lots of options like scholarships, private student loans etc; one just needs to research them well.
3. Take Care of Finances
Paying tuition is not all. There are several other issues one needs to resolve, such as:
- Living disbursements, whether the residence is provided or not;
- The money you are going to spend on food, commuting, and going out;
- If you are planning to travel and visit student destinations abroad, put that into your budget too.
Another point is how you are going to pay. Look into what cards are widely used in the country you are going to. You probably will need to get a new one. Look into those that do not charge a foreign transaction fee. Get a debit and/or credit card you can travel to (in most cases, it will be Visa).
When you have an idea of the approximate budget you’ll need, start saving up and getting a side job to earn extra cash.
4. Documents and Visas
Preparing documents can be daunting, but you need to stay productive on this. Find out what document you need to apply to the program and prepare them. Learn whether you need a student visa for the destination you are heading to. Apply for a visa not later than 2 months before departure; the earlier, the better. Make sure you’ve got your passport ready and any other necessary papers, like vaccination, for instance. The passport has to be valid for at least 6 months after arrival.
Also, get an ISIC card – the International Student Identity Card. Any international student can get it, and it gives lots of discounts on almost anything. It allows paying less for traveling, eating out, or enjoying cinemas, museums, or theaters. It works anywhere and can save you some money.
5. Health and Medicines
First of all, you will need health insurance that covers staying abroad. It is not only a requirement but a safety measure.
Secondly, if you take any prescription drugs, you need to get the required amount beforehand. Go to your doctor and explain the situation; it is nothing out of the ordinary. Take all the medications you need with you.
Research where you can get medical help locally, just in case.
6. Pack Light
Of course, it is a relative concept, especially if you are going for a 6-month stay at least. But be reasonable with what you need and what you do not need. Look into the weather conditions and decide what clothes you need to take before your travel. Remember that almost anything is available there as well (especially if you are going to Europe). You don’t need to take a 6-month worth of toiletries or shampoos; just buy them there.
But think of what you’ll need for studying. It means essential gadgets for students, such as a laptop, a charger, and a socket adaptor. The sockets will be different almost surely. Find out what adaptor you need and get it beforehand.
7. Learn the Language
Those who are traveling to English-speaking countries do not really need it. But learning a new language is a splendid opportunity, so why miss that. The majority of exchange programs offer language courses from the basic level. Also, you may start learning some things at home.
Begin with the most used phrases, like “hello,” “thank you,” “have a great day,” or “sorry.” Even a few words in the local language might go a long way. And it shows your respect for other cultures as well.
8. Stay Culturally Sensitive and Safe
There is nothing like exploring other cultures while study abroad. It is fun, exciting, and eye-opening. What you need is to stay open and respect the local traditions and etiquette. Be mindful of the local cultural norms, even if it is something as subtle as clothes. As for staying safe is just a reasonable precaution. Communicate with locals and make friends. Ask them about the places that are safe for tourists. If any districts are unsafe, do not go there, especially alone.
Making new friends is great and will help to beat homesickness. Do not isolate yourself and try to reach out to people and have fun together.
Also, be aware of your belongings and keep them protected. It would also be quite good to learn local emergency numbers just in case. It is not to say that it is more dangerous out there. These are the measures you are probably following in your home city as well.
Remember that study abroad is an exciting experience. Take your camera and notebook and prepare to document the adventure. Book flights 3 months beforehand (this is the time of the best discounts usually) and do not get the return ticket right away. Maybe you’ll want to stay and travel a bit after the program is done. Pack some good walking shoes and be ready to see the world