Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Before you can learn a new language, immerse yourself in the local culture and create lifelong experiences, you need to prepare to travel to another country. It doesn’t simply mean getting your passport and packing your suitcase, but you will need to prepare extensively. We have put together a list of the top things that you should know before embarking on your study abroad journey.
Apply for a Passport and Visa
A visa is frequently required when studying abroad. Short language courses may be studied on a tourist visa, but most courses lasting more than three months require a student visa. Always examine the visa requirements for the nation where you wish to study. Your educational dream will be cut short at the airport if you do not have the proper visa.
Before applying for a student visa, you must usually be accepted to a school. The school should give you with the paperwork you need to apply for a student visa once you’ve enrolled and paid the required fees.
When you study abroad, you will almost always be charged a tuition cost. We suggest that you create a budget that includes your expected tuition, course materials, accommodation, flight, visa, and estimated living expenditures. Are you able to make ends meet? Otherwise, you should usually look for less expensive options. Working or applying for scholarships can help you stretch your budget, but keep in mind that getting a job or a scholarship at your selected destination is no certainty.
Arrange for an airport shuttle
Allow your study abroad adviser to arrange for transportation from the airport to your house or school to make your life easier. If you need to hire a car or use public transportation, do your research and download the relevant applications before your trip, as it will save you a lot of time and energy, especially after a long flight. Once you’ve got everything together at your location, keep in mind that you’ll need a trip to the airport before you leave.
Take care of your insurance
Please use your study abroad adviser’s expertise when it comes to travel insurance. You should also contact your health insurance carrier to check if there is a special offer that will cover you while you are travelling and what it does not cover while in a foreign country.
Make copies of important documents
Ensure to keep digital and paper copies of your vital documents such as your passport, insurance information and credit card company information in separate locations. We recommend leaving a copy with relatives or friends at home and bringing both a digital and a physical copy. The digital version should be kept safe but accessible, such as in your email inbox or on a cloud server, as it would be easily accessible if it needed to be presented to some offices or stations.
Do some research about your study abroad destination
The most delicate part of planning for a trip is learning where you are going, what you can do and what not to do, and sites to visit while there. You can either purchase travel guides or google to see what your new home away from home has to offer (we also have a lot of travel information to explore). Getting an overview ahead of time might help you plan any tours and excursions to make the most of your time and save on costs abroad, even though it will be much more interesting to look at in person. Don’t forget to research any local rituals, habits, or traditions that will help you blend in quickly and not offend the rest of the community. Read all about culture shock and how to deal with it here.
First, look into the airline’s weight and size regulations. Please browse through our blog posts to make packing a breeze. If your luggage is delayed, pack essentials, an adapter and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. If you’ll be staying somewhere for more than a few days, buy toiletries there and only bring travel-size containers for the first shower after you arrive. Make sure everything has a name tag once it’s packed away for easy recognition and access to the luggage.
Learn a few words in the native language
For African students travelling to study abroad destinations where English or French is not the language of instruction, we would advice you to learn a few words in the native language pf your new home. Travelling becomes a lot easier when you’re acclimated to the sound of a new language and even know a few sentences in it. (Long flights are excellent opportunities to brush up on fundamental vocabulary). It helps you bring a friendly mood to your new friends and neighbours.
Obtain any prescriptions that you may need
If you need prescription medication or contact lenses regularly:
- Make sure you bring enough for the duration of your trip or a prescription that you can fill overseas.
- Ensure to confirm coverage with your insurance company.
- Inquire whether they are available in the country one travels to and where.
Make a list of important numbers
We don’t recall phone numbers or passwords, for that matter. In the era of smartphones, you can save them in a notebook. If you travel abroad, you may need to get a new phone or log into a school computer: Make a mental note of or write down a few key phone numbers and passwords (or password hints) to call and log in without panicking.
Decide on a cell phone plan.
Depending on how long you’ll be gone, it’s worth buying a SIM card at your location. Check with your cell phone company about roaming rates and data plans before you leave so you don’t have a hefty phone bill. You can receive (free) Wi-Fi in various locations, including your school, your home, and potentially even public areas, but it’s also helpful to have a way to stay connected when you’re not near a hotspot.
Introduce yourself to your host family
If you are staying with a host family or roommates and have their contact information, you should: Before you leave, introduce yourself. Saying hello will be a grand gesture because they’ll probably be as intrigued about you as you are about them. Everyone enjoys receiving gifts, so why not get some extra brownie points by bringing them a small souvenir from your own country, which will also serve as an excellent ice breaker? Here are some more suggestions for individuals staying with a host family while travelling.
There are many things to consider and do before going abroad to study, especially if it’s your first time, but no matter how many times you repack your luggage. Remember to be enthusiastic about the incredible trip you’re about to go on and the beautiful places you are about to visit. That’s why happy dances were invented!