It’s official: you got accepted, and soon you’ll be studying abroad! One of the most exciting and beneficial things you can do as a student is fly off on exchange and study somewhere new for a semester or two. There are so many great things about studying abroad: you get to meet new people, experience a new culture, and maybe even learn a new language. But, before you leave, there are a few things you’ll need to have prepared...
Apply for a passport or VISA
Your passport should be up to date and current, and if you need a student VISA this should be applied for. You should also check whether or not your passport might expire while you are abroad.
Where are you staying?
If you haven’t already figured this out, now is the time to do it! Will you live in dorms or campus housing, or will you live alone? Many universities offer student housing, ranging from dorm rooms to apartments to studios. If you are going to the USA, for example, be prepared for dorm culture; it is rare for you to get your own room, and you will most likely be eating at a cafeteria. Each country and each institution is different!
Pack or buy weather-appropriate clothes
Going to Finland? Don’t forget to buy your winter coats. Or, flying to Australia? Then you’ll probably need sandals rather than snow shoes. There could be nothing worse than arriving at your destination and realising you’ve packed for the totally opposite climate. It would also suck if you had to buy a whole new wardrobe while you were there. To avoid this mistake, either use your common knowledge or do a little research on the type of climate and weather temperatures you will be getting yourself in to.
Research about your new home
It’s always a good idea to do a bit of Googling before you arrive somewhere new. Check out local customs, holidays, or top things to do where you’ll be staying. Also, read up on the college or university you will be attending. What classes will you have? What kind of societies or activities can you take part in? This way, you'll be ready to dive head-first into your new experiences!
Find out the cheapest way to stay connected
You probably don’t want to spend a fortune on long-distance calls when you are studying abroad. But, you still want to keep in touch with your parents and your mates back home. The best way to keep in touch is through apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Skype, where you can call for free. Either way, you'll probably be needing internet data, since WiFi coverage isn't everywhere. The solution? Sign up for a cheap sim only deal through College Life - prices start at €4.50 per month.
Learn some basic phrases
If you are going to study abroad somewhere where they do not speak your native language, don’t stress! Most likely, you will be studying in English, so your classes are sorted. That being said, it’s probably best to learn a few common phrases or words so that you can survive. Hello, my name is, or I need help are just a few examples. Also, you really don’t want to be that annoying person who only communicates in English and doesn’t even try to learn something new…
Do some mental preparation
Studying abroad, while perhaps being one of the best experiences of your life, can also be a bit nerve-racking. You might be in a completely different culture than that you are used to, or have a hard time learning the language. You might also really miss home, your family and friends, or your normal routines. It’s totally normal to feel nervous, even a bit scared. And guess what? You are not the only one! Most likely, you will meet other exchange students that are in the same boat as you. And that’s at least one thing you can bond over, right? And think about it this way: this is a majorly cool experience that you get to be part of, one that you might remember for a really long time!
Are your bags packed? Passport at the ready? With these 7 tips, you will, without a doubt, have the best exchange ever! As your trip comes closer and you count down the days, these tips will have you saying ‘I was born prepared’.
What are your study abroad experiences? Do you have any tips on how to prepare? Comment down below!