Studying abroad can be one of the most enlightening and fun things you do as a student. There are many reasons one might choose to study abroad. From being a foreign language major and wanting to travel to the native country, to pursuing an international studies degree, to having an interest in a particular county’s history, here are some tips for you before you embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
1. Prepare The Basics
Make sure you have money and know whether or not your credit cards will work and what fees might be charged. Make sure your flights, housing and courses are all taken care of before departing, and see if credits will transfer. Check and see if your host country uses the same kind of electrical outlets and voltage that your devices require, and purchase an adapter if necessary. Finally, try and get information on what products you can buy in your host country and what items you should plan to bring with you.
2. Have Some Understanding Of The Language
While part of the purpose of studying abroad is to learn and become more proficient in another language, you should make an effort to have a basic understanding of your host country’s language before you leave. This might require college courses or outside tutoring. If you are not a native English speaker and are looking to study abroad in an English-speaking country, taking the TOEFL test, which analyses your college-level English ability, can be a smart idea. There are plenty of helpful programs like BestMyTest in order to get you as prepared as possible before the test.
3. Obtain Necessary And Helpful Travel Documents
Your first step should be to make sure your passport is still valid. If it is not, apply for a renewal with plenty of time to spare. Seek information on visas to your chosen country and make sure you understand the limits and requirements. Getting an International Student Identity Card is also a good idea, as many establishments offer discounts to students who possess one.
4. Be Prepared For The Culture
This is especially important if you have never been to your host country before. Keep up-to-date on the news and any information issued by the State Department or any equivalent agency. Internet research and talking to other students who have studied abroad in your destination country can also give you a good idea what to expect there.
While it can seem stressful getting everything in order before you embark on a study abroad program, remember that you can always turn to your academic adviser, embassy or other study abroad program coordinator for help or advice. These tips should put you on the right track to ensure you have a fantastic study abroad experience.