Opportunity knocks only once as they say. If you are given the chance to travel abroad to study, get through an internship program, or just to spend vacations, you should grab it. This is your visa to broadening your horizons and achieving many goals. It may be costly at first, but it will become your investment in your future. Money, however, is not the only concern of young people who are thinking about getting their education abroad. Take a look at our student travel checklist as your guide.
1. Study the Language
As the first step, you should learn the language. International programs for students, as a rule, offer courses in English regardless of the target country, so the most common requirement is obtaining an IELTS certificate. Still, if you want to make connections with other students and feel more comfortable outside the campus, you should learn the mother tongue of the country, be it English or any other. On the other hand, some study programs allow an applicant to learn Asian languages.
Pay equal attention to your writing skills, as well as speaking ones. This is particularly important if you plan on finding a job during your stay. Moreover, college assignments are often submitted in writing.
You might be thinking, is paperhelp legit? Well, it’s fine to ask a professional writer for help, especially if you are still learning the language. Sometimes, it is difficult to do all the things at the same time. If you are busy adapting to your new life abroad and have a part-time job, it is practical to consult a writer to do the essay for you.
Aside from the study programs, you may also seek lessons online, forums and apps like Duolingo. These academic supplements provide flexible schedules and affordable fees to learn different languages. There are also many free crowd-sourced materials online.
2. Check your Financial Condition
Financial condition matters big time if you intend to go abroad. Since you’re far away from your family, it will be difficult to find ways to support yourself. Check whether your finances can shoulder the expenses for the visa, accommodation, language courses, tuition, school fees, and other expenses.
If there’s an opportunity to opt for a “study now and pay later” program, it would be great. However, if you’re considering a personal loan, you should think twice. Applying for a student loan is a risky move since you’ll have quite a hefty debt to pay off once you graduate and it might be crippling for an entry-level specialist with no work experience.
Finding a scholarship will be the best option. Don’t despair if you get rejected and apply to other providers. There are scholarships for students that are available only under certain conditions, and if those conditions aren’t a deal-breaker for you, opt for them. For example, some foundations pay for your education abroad but expect the beneficiary student to return a highly qualified professional and work in the home country. If you don’t intend to build your future in the target country and all you want is to spend a few years there, obtain a degree and come back home – this can be a great chance for you.
3. Inquire details of your Bank Account
Before going abroad, you should first settle the things between you and your bank. Ask the bank representative if they allow withdrawing from the ATM in other countries and is it possible to pay using your card in shops and online.
In case it isn’t, ask for a different type of card. Usually, those have higher annual or monthly fees for the upkeep, but offer better security and more flexible options. If your bank doesn’t offer a card that will be valid abroad, find a bank that offers an international banking system. If it’s impossible to find one, then turn to one of the target country’s banking institutions and apply for an account.
Having an account in a local bank might be required anyway if you plan to work or to receive accommodation money (some scholarships have this option).
4. Use Your International Student ID
Student ID promotes discounts on travel, food, and accommodation. It is a big help especially in managing your budget. Get an international student ID so that you can enjoy the privileges and benefits as a student. Be practical and resourceful enough to exercise your rights as a student. Do research what benefits your ID offers both within the target country and abroad.
Apart from daily benefits, such as cheaper commute or bargains at the online stores, your ID sometimes gives you the right to visit museums, lectures and other cultural events free of charge. Take this opportunity to make your leisure educational as well as affordable.
5. Learn about the Culture and Environment
Instead of feeling anxious about being in a foreign environment, try to see it as an opportunity to understand the customs, etiquettes, and values of the country you are visiting. Don’t just focus on alien and exotic aspects of it – look for common traits as well.
In this way, you will be able to understand all people better. It will build your emotional intelligence, tact, and empathy. You will know how to interact with people who are seemingly different from you and to be open to new things. Of course, it might be a bit stressing the first few weeks, but you will soon get over the culture shock and will enjoy building friendships with your peers.
6. Explore the Place
Don’t rush out to explore the famous sights immediately upon the arrival. For starters, it will be best just to wander around and learn about the place where you are going to live. Learn where to go if you need to shop for food and supplies, where are the nearest pharmacy, hospital, post office, bus stop, etc.
It is also a smart thing to learn where your home country’s embassy is or the nearest authority that represents your country (check online for phone numbers and save them to your contact list). It is important to know all these things so that you will know what to do in case of an emergency. That’s the thing about emergencies – once they happen, you have little to no time to do your research. You must come prepared.
Of course, seize the day and enjoy the moment in the country. Do not just focus and limit yourself to studies. Take time to explore the best famous sights as well, take pictures, enjoy your stay and create happy memories!