Preparing to Study Abroad

Student women over flags background

Studying abroad is an adventure. It involves making a lot of friends, immersing in a different culture, and exploring an unfamiliar land. It basically expands your horizon. As daunting as it may be, brave souls always take a leap of faith when they decide to study abroad. After all, it can be quite scary to leave the comforts of home for an extended period.

Preparation is vital to aid the troubled heart. Important things like fixing documents months beforehand can help ease the worries; a cleared visa, health insurance, saved up money, are the international college students’ life anchors.

Here’s a list to help you check off everything you need to study abroad:

1. Passport and Visa

Traveling abroad requires a valid passport and visa. Securing a passport can take quite a while, around six to 12 months, which is why making sure that you have it months prior can take the burden off of your shoulder. In the case that you already have both of them, verifying that they would not expire by the time you plan to come back to your country will help you avoid any potential trouble.

If your departure date is within six months, you can have the process expedited though it might be a little heavier on the pockets. Studying abroad also requires a visa, unless it’s under three months in which case, most countries let students in with a tourist visa that can last for 90 days. The application for visas can also be time-consuming so cramming it won’t do you any good.

2. Medical records

Most study abroad agencies or even your school program would require your medical records. The documents are then forwarded to your exchange university in the event of an emergency. It might also be an excellent time to consider getting health insurance. Researching your target exchange country’s requirements for immunization is also vital because you’re going to need to get them before you leave. This will not just be for legal requirements but also for your safety.

Smiling boy learning French at the classroom

3. Plane tickets

Plane tickets can be a little pricey. It all boils down to luck, timing, and promotions. Of course, your destination and flight date will also factor into the price. Being strategic on when you purchase your tickets can save you a lot more money than you think and you might want that extra cash for later. Search for sites that can help you find the best deals across different airlines. Try to get into exchange programs that will also assist your travel and accommodation needs. There are a lot of organizations that would offer you cheap tickets.

4. Travel insurance

Bouncing off from the health insurance bit above, making sure that you have travel insurance is a must. As tragic as accidents and natural calamities are, they are often inevitable and outside the realms of human control.

Being covered by travel and health insurance can save you the trouble of going through stressful paperwork in a foreign country. At least get the basic things covered (i.e., delayed or canceled flights, accidents, natural disasters, damaged or lost luggage, etc.)

An adventure is always fun, but preparing for it is a part of the process.