Everything You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad

11th August 2016

We know better than anyone how challenging it can be to move away from home, let alone to a new country. Let us alleviate any concerns you may have before going to study abroad.

If you haven’t yet registered, join us for free at one of our upcoming fairs, details available here.

Have you decided on what you’re going to study? No? Well you should do that first. Okay? Done? Well then let’s move on to step two- a checklist for how to prepare yourself before the big move.

Culture and Environment

  • Check the weather. Paris is generally pleasant, right? New York is hot in the summer and snowy in the winter? Moving to a new country carries a variety of meteorological dangers, by which I mean it might rain a lot. Weather changes of course, so remain prepared, but a country’s climate can often surprise.
  • Get to know the area. It can be a little tricky doing it from so far away, but it’s best to familiarise yourself as much as possible with your new home. One of the wonders of studying abroad is being able to wander around a new area, get lost and find some new and interesting culture, but if you can, try putting the little yellow man down on Google Maps. That’s a good first step. Now try and check what’s around in general. Anything you particularly want to see? Also check to see what the transport is like or if there is anywhere you may wish to avoid.
  • Try and find your new friends on Facebook. There may be a group for travelling students for that year, or potential friends to meet even before you leave. No group? Why not start one? Plus, you can scout people out before you meet them, and try and avoid any awkwardness that way.
  • Ask your family for advice. They may not always seem like it, but your family can be pretty learned it turns out. Has anyone you know been to the country in question? Or have they ever taken an extended trip abroad? What do they cherish about it? What do they regret? It’s amazing the stories some people have about travel.

What to do before you leave

  • Explain to your bank you will be moving abroad. Banks are good at finding fees that no one knew existed, and using your local card abroad is sure to incur their wrath. See if you can get a global account, or perhaps even start a new overseas account, if possible.
  • Sort out your health care and medical insurance. It’s kinda important, you know. People at university tend to jump off things a lot for some reason. Also, make sure all your medication is available in your new home, or if it is called something different.
  • Inquire about moving companies and get quotes. It really depends on how much you’re bringing with you I suppose as well as the sort of person you are. Some people can survive with a handful of things. Some need a retinue of helpers to carry everything they need. If you’re in the latter category, make sure to book early and check rates.
  • Book your tickets. Obvious enough. But vitally important. You don’t want to be stuck at home with all your fancy new clothes and bags with nowhere to go to.
  • Make travel plans for when you arrive, either from the airport to the university, or to your new home. Being stuck at the airport is not a fun experience and nor is feeling lost and lonely in a new city. Make sure there’s a taxi there, or some form of transport to get you where you need to go.
  • Let everyone know your new address. Especially any companies that require a new address, your bank for example. Or anything you may get delivered, such as an Amazon account. There’s a possibility that you can ultimately leave a few of your addresses the same if your ‘home’ address doesn’t change, i.e. your parents’ house or something similar. Otherwise there could be a fair amount of paperwork to do unfortunately.
  • Get together everything you need to bring with you. You’ll need some cash that has been changed to help you get through the first few days. It’s certain that you have forgotten something you’ll need and you’ll want to be able to buy sheets, or a pillow, a toothbrush or some food if need be. You will also likely need your (valid) passport, a work visa (if you need one), flight tickets, a copy of your birth certificate, proof of health insurance, ISIC, calling card (or new phone), travel adapter and a healthy sense of adventure!
  • Have a leaving party! It can be quite a bit of work can’t it? Preparing to move to a new country. Make sure you say goodbye to all of your friends and family in the right way by having a spectacular celebration before you leave. Just make sure it’s not the evening before- you don’t want to be so hungover you miss your flight!

If you haven’t yet registered, join us for free at one of our upcoming fairs, details available here.

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