What can be more exciting than studying abroad? You don’t need to worry about a work visa for now, you have all the time to see the country, you are not a tourist, so you will have the opportunity to know the place better and learn the traditions and modern customs.
You will get new friends from different countries, as most probably, you will study in some international programme and communicate with students from around the world. This helps with learning more languages, or mastering one foreign language. Also, receiving an education abroad looks really good on your resume.
Does it mean that everything about studying abroad is so bright and shiny? Unfortunately, no. There are some drawbacks and possible pitfalls, and you need to know about them in advance. Here is a brief list of tips that you may find useful when starting your education abroad.
12 useful tips for students studying abroad
1. Start planning your abroad education in advance
It is the most obvious and boring advice we can give you, but it doesn’t make it bad advice. We all tend to think that there is plenty of time before some event, but in the end we feel like we have wasted days, weeks and months for nothing. Make a list of what you absolutely have to do before the departure and pay at least half an hour a day to cross things off that list.
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2. Get in touch with former students
Don’t be shy — people like to share their experience with others because people inherently like to talk about themselves, it is in their nature. You may feel like no one cares, but mostly students with international experience are open to communication and very helpful. Just try!
3. Actually, read recommendations for foreign students
We bet you have seen those guidelines. Every university that accepts international students has a set of guidelines for those students and their parents (or caregivers). Those sections are widely ignored. Don’t make this mistake. If you find out that the information given is not full, address the administration directly and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
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4. Save as much money as you can
Start saving in advance. Even if you receive financial aid for your trip, you need all the money you can save. You will have unexpected expenditures, you will make more than usual emotional purchases, because you will be stressed and homesick, you won’t be very efficient in shopping, given you are in a new place. That is why it is better not to spend money on some exclusive new luggage, but to save that money and spend it wisely once you arrive at a new place.
5. Think about side jobs and research them in advance
Yes, there is a big fat chance the money you receive as a financial aid and the money you have saved won’t be enough for this endeavour. Check whether students in some specific programmes are allowed to work, and if yes, look for some appropriate jobs in advance.
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6. Research local options for mobile and internet connection
Well, being online, being reachable and not overpaying for it, is both critically important and tricky. In many countries, short term packages are very expensive, so research this issue in advance, so you can get a better deal.
7. Make sure your bank cards work abroad
You may think that it is a stupid idea — why wouldn’t your cards work? Isn’t the banking system modern and interconnected globally now? Well, no. In some countries you cannot pay online with a credit card, you need only a debit card. In some countries, they don’t accept cards without two-stage validation, like chip and photo.
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8. Note down international contacts of services you use
What if your bank card gets stolen? What if you have problems with your mobile phone or insurance? You need to know all the international numbers that can be reached immediately. Remember, 0800 numbers cannot be normally reached from outside the country, so you need contacts designed specifically for international calls.
9. Research insurance rules and find local medical care institutions
Of course, we want to believe that you won’t experience any health problems, or other emergencies, but it is always better to plan for worse. Make sure your insurance coverage is enough for most emergencies and check on the rules in local medical care institutions.
10. Make a packing list in advance
Do you think you will just write a list three days before the departure and it will be enough? No! Write your list in advance, so you can buy, wash, pack things you really need. There is no way you will pack 100% of the needed things — it just doesn’t work this way. Still, you will be much more prepared.
11. When in Rome do as you think is better for you
You need to have your own rules that work for you, no matter what others say. Being a foreigner when studying abroad, you will face much more problems than others do when it comes to settling your life and education. If you feel like you cannot cope with the assignments, address a reliable academic writing service that works internationally, for example SmartWritingService.com, and get the help you need. It is absolutely normal to ask for essay writing assistance when you feel overwhelmed studying abroad.
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12. Try to get the most of this experience
Finally, it may be once in a lifetime opportunity and it would be really stupid to lose it. Try to get the most out of this experience and enjoy every day of your stay as much as you can. Obviously, there will be difficulties, but good planning will help minimise them.
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Of course, the list can go on and on. There is no way you can foresee everything and be 100% prepared for what awaits you when studying abroad. Does it mean you should neglect preparing for those problems and issues you know about? Of course, not. When you cover all the bases you can, some small unexpected problems won’t do you much harm. So, save this article to bookmarks and feel free to address it while preparing for your trip.
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