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As the impact of COVID is gradually reducing, the universities around the world are opening their doors for the international students who wish to study abroad.
Studying abroad is so much fun due to the various benefits that studying in such an environment offers to the students. As an international student, it can be a bit overwhelming to study abroad, especially if it's your first time in a foreign country. Recent studies show that the majority of students who choose to study abroad are under graduates!!
We spoke to a number of students who are currently studying abroad (both under graduates and post graduates). We asked them what they wished they’d known before travelling to study abroad. From visa’s and health insurance to bank accounts and tuition fees, we have a lot to consider before deciding to study abroad. We have broken down all these processes into a step by step guide.
Here are the top 20 things you need to make sure before making the leap across the pond.
1. Plan Your Funding and Scholarships
• The very first step in your study abroad process is to make sure that you have the finance to fund your degree.
• Also, you will need to provide evidence that you can cover your course fee as well as living expenses while studying abroad.
• Estimate how much you will spend during your time abroad. If you don’t have enough money to fund you have other options available such as educational loans, exchange programs, international scholarships, etc.
• Let your plan to study abroad be known to all your family and friends. Tell them exactly to which location you are going.
• Any of them might have their friends / relatives out there which could end up being invaluable for you.
• If possible, talk to the alumni of the study abroad programs to get an idea of successes and struggles from their experience.
3. Organise all the Necessary Travel Documents
• To study abroad, you will need a passport, visa and many other documents. Organise all the required paper works in advance.
• Visa type may vary based on the choice of your foreign country, university and course.
• The visa process may take a while to fill out and several weeks to arrive. So, give yourself plenty of time to apply and get a visa.
• Check the expiry date of your passport and apply beforehand if required.
• Studying abroad comes with few discomforts as you need to adjust to new terrain.
• To avoid this, you need to make plans for all your basic necessities after arriving abroad like adjusting to the local foods, medicines that are not available, etc.
• Notify your home bank account about your time away from the country.
• Carry some currency of your destination country with you to spend for the first few days till you set up your student bank account there.
5. Pack Smart
• Before you start packing to study abroad, write down a list of everything you think you will need. First priority should be your documents.
• It is easy to over-pack though, so list out only important things which you will not be able to get / overpriced in a foreign country.
• Remember you will get student discounts for certain items with your student ID card.
• Make sure that your wardrobe is in accordance with the culture and climate of your study destination as few countries prefer conservative looks and others don’t.
• Be sure to pack some home comforts with you like photographs, books or any other memorabilia.
6. Do a Complete Physical Checkup
• Before leaving for your study abroad experience, get a complete health check up and make sure that you are up to date with all your vaccines.
• Ask your doctor whether there are any specific recommendations or additional vaccines prescribed for your study destination.
• Ensure that you will get the regular supply of your prescriptions abroad. If not, carry alternative prescriptions from the doctor which will be easily accessible while you study abroad.
7. Be ready to accept a new culture
• Learn the local customs as much as possible before you head to study abroad. Be appreciative of the people in the new environment.
• Even though you may know the language of the country you are going to study, there are still chances for misunderstanding.
• Take up online language courses and tutorials and keep yourself updated on the country’s accent.
8. Sort Out Your Accommodation
• When you choose to study abroad, you have to get your accommodation sorted out before landing there.
• The first preference to look out is the university itself as they offer house guarantees to their students. It may be either self-catered or catered.
• Another choice is to rent a room from a private landlord. You can opt for private accommodation after your first year because you would be well aware of the area you live in.
• If you choose for private rentals, do check all the facilities provided by the landlord before signing the rental agreement.
9. Research your study destination
• One of the most exciting parts about going to study abroad is that you get to explore a new place, new people and new culture.
• There is no harm in really getting to know your way around the country’s customs, law, weather, etc.
• Look up the landmarks and tourist attractions over there and plan for weekend trips with your friends to really maximize your time.
• Understand direction-inclined apps like google maps, etc. as well as manual maps in that region to find your way in an unknown region.
10. Figure Out Public Transportation
• You need to ensure that you are well aware of the kind of transportation system used in the country before arrival.
• This will help you to get details in terms of time, cost and distance between the places in that country that you may want to visit.
• Sometimes yearly student passes for the bus/train may help you save the cost. If yes, invest in such passes with student discounts.
11. Get your health and travel insurance covered
• If you already have any health insurance, check whether it covers while you are abroad.
• For few countries, you may have to pay the health surcharge as a part of your visa application.
• Don’t forget to take a travel insurance which covers the extra expenses which may occur due to loss of your belongings, cancelled travel plans, serious illness or injury, etc.
12. Set up a student bank account
• Having a local bank account is a good way to avoid foreign currency exchanges and makes it easier for you to pay your bills.
• Check with your home country branch whether they have services in the place where you study abroad.
• If not, open a new account in the destination country. Check for the banks that provide student bank accounts to international students.
• Use prepaid cards until you have your own bank account as carrying cash is not safe.
• To open a bank account, you may need to produce the following documents.
~Address proof – both in your home country as well as destination country
~Student ID Card
• Part time jobs are a great way to earn some extra money and develop your communication skills in the new country.
• And yes!!!! You may get an employee discount depending on your job.
• But do not rely on your part time jobs for your expenses.
• Keep yourself updated on the rights and options you have to work in the foreign country. This includes working hours, pay, etc.
• Make sure that you have all the legal documents to support your part time work.
• Be sure to know and obey the laws of the host country for common activities like alcohol consumption, driving, etc.
• Even a minor incident can create a lot of trouble for the foreign students.
• You should know the nearest home country embassy and keep its phone number handy as well in case you are in trouble.
15. Stay connected with your family and friends
• Figure out low-cost international call providers in the foreign country while you study abroad.
• Alternatively, you can use Android /IOS apps like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc.
• You can plan your Wi-Fi and internet options depending on the type of accommodation you chose.
• For private rentals, the monthly bills may include the internet charges.
• By staying in touch with your family and friends, you can go a long way in staving off homesickness.
16. Have emergency contact numbers
• It's really a good idea to include the numbers of trusted contacts both from your home country as well as in your study destination as a list of emergency numbers in case you need it.
• Inform your kith and kin priorly that you are providing their contacts for emergency purposes.
• Prior leaving to study abroad, find out how to contact the police, ambulance or any other emergency services in the new country.
17. Carry the soft copy of all your documents
• Even though hard copy is more important, it is better to save the soft copy of all your important documents in cloud or google drive.
• Make sure you can access it easily with any of the devices.
• Also, make sure you carry your student id card with you all the time as will be the instant savior if you get into trouble.
18. Make backup plans
• However, everything may not go as per your plan in a completely new country. So, allow your plans to be flexible enough to accommodate changes.
• Keep an open mind about your upcoming adventure. That’s the fun part while you study abroad.
19. Save for emergencies
• It's really important that you watch the way you spend during your initial days while going to study abroad.
• Don’t make people around you think that you have so much money which may get you in trouble.
• Even if you are getting constant allowances / stipends, make sure to save a lot because it will help you to face any unforeseen contingencies.
• Students who study abroad are always entitled to certain discounts that are not applicable for the public. Use those opportunities and save every penny you could.
20. Go with your new self
• Having your original personality is wonderful. However it is advisable to start in a clean slate when you study abroad.
• Show yourself gradually when it becomes appropriate.
• Love and relationships can be the reason why some people have double thoughts to study abroad.
• You must understand that whatever comes in your way, study is your ultimate goal.
It may be hard for you to pack your life in a couple of suitcases and move to study abroad. It can be overwhelming when the new place is nothing like your home.
However, Studying abroad is a good thing as mentioned above. It’s a dream that people should embrace and learn to build their own self with the help of sophisticated learning.
You can observe the above tips carefully as it will make your study abroad process smooth and harmonious.
Appreciate and embrace the opportunity!!! It’s ok to feel nervous. But the excitement will kick-in in no time!!!!
Now that you have gotten the tips, see how to proceed for January 2021 intake
Have no idea of how to proceed with the study abroad process? Feel free to contact us [email protected]
Our student counselors are available 24/7 to guide you: +91 94889 72333 / +91 85082 58508