7 Things to Know Before You Study Abroad
Have you made the decision to study abroad or are you thinking about it? Studying abroad can be one of the most amazing experiences any student can have. Not only are you attending a different school, but you are going to get immersed in an entirely different culture than what you are used to. You make new friends from all over the world, and gain a great deal of knowledge about international politics, food, and daily life.
Before you embark on your trip, here are a few things that you should know about your school and country of choice.
1. How much is this going to cost?
Not just your tuition and scholarships, but daily living expenses can often be overlooked. Know the conversion rate for currency, have an idea of local bus, train, and air fares, and find out if you are going to have student meal plan. This will make budgeting for travel and food much easier. Try and find a fellow student that has studied in your chosen country or university to help, or contact the international office at the school. Don’t forget to budget for nights out, a cell phone (if needed), and make sure to have an emergency fund so you can get quick money if needed. Don’t worry, travelling within a country can be fairly cheap, and there are great deals on airline tickets within Europe.
2. Dress Protocol: Is it going to be cold or hot where you are going?
Try and decide ahead of time how much travelling or backpacking you will be doing, because some types of clothing are easier to pack and keep clean than others. Ask yourself, how much do I really wear this top, or how versatile are these shoes? Find out what the climate is like so you can pack accordingly. Ireland, for example is often rainy, where Italy will be much drier, so pack accordingly. Plan ahead so you can start asking for needed items for birthday and Christmas gifts. Plus check out black Friday sales, since you can get some great deals!
3. What is the grading system at the school you are visiting?
Find out if classes are passed by simply taking one test, or will you have projects and homework as well. How does the grading system differ from your home university? Check with the international advisor at your home school and aboard university, as well as the register offices at both institutions. Sometimes classes are done on a pass/fail basis, or on an actual grading scale.
4. What do you need to provide for housing?
Some schools provide kitchenware, and some do not. Are you living in dorms, an apartment, or a house? Will you have to provide your own bed sheets and pillow? This is important to know so you can budget and pack accordingly. Many times there are inexpensive options for bedding around universities, and some schools partner with companies to offer convenient options for study abroad students.
5. What sort of documentation will you need?
Make sure your passport is up to date if you are considering studying abroad. US passports can take 6-12 weeks to get processed so make sure you have plenty of time. Check and see if you will need a student visa. Students from the United States studying in Ireland, for example, do not need visas. But if you are planning on going to a country outside of the European Union, you will probably need to get one.
6. What vaccinations are necessary?
If you are visiting South or Central America, very often you will need to get certain vaccinations for diseases that are unique to those regions. When studying in Europe and the United States, very often, special vaccinations are not needed. Check with your doctor as well as the school to see what vaccinations or tests you will need to have done. Your international adviser can also offer advice as well.
7. What is the culture like?
The world is always changing, and not all governments are the same. Before you travel, make sure to check out the political situation is in your country of choice. It is not advisable to go to countries with an unstable political atmosphere. The last thing you want is to get stuck in a country because of civil unrest. If boarders are closed, you can have trouble getting home. Make sure to find out where the embassies are and how to contact them. Try to find out what the main religion is and a little bit about the history of the country. How is the student life set up at the university?
Remember, Studying abroad is a great opportunity. Be knowledgeable about traveling, and you will reduce the risk of encountering major problems when away from home.blog comments powered by Disqus
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