Steps to Take Before Leaving to Study Abroad
One of the more exciting experiences for a college student, is the opportunity to study abroad. This can give you incalculable life experience, all while continuing your education. Once you have been approved for this program however, there is a lot of steps that you will have to take before you make your move.
The first step to take, is finding out everything you can about the place you are going to live. Just like studying for an exam, you will want to be well prepared once you arrive in your new destination. There are few things in life scarier than being in a foreign land, with no clue where anything is, or how to communicate with the people around you. You should find out things like medical issues such as insurance and hospitals equipped to handle your needs, how currency exchange rates affects you financially, local customs and businesses, and places to go for entertainment. All of these factors can save you from a horrible experience while you are in your new country.
The next step is to make sure you obtain a student visa. This is done through an application process, so you will want to get on top of it as quickly as you can. What country you travel to, and the length of your stay, will determine what rules and regulations will be put upon you while you are there. Contact the American consulate in the country you are traveling to in order to get more information on the steps you will have to take for approval.
Other Helpful Tips
There are other things that you can do that you may not think of that can make life abroad a lot easier. Learning some of the local language will allow you to communicate with the people that live there. Learning key phrases makes it so you can ask a local person where something is, and can help you make friends. If you have medical needs, especially if you take medication or have other prescriptions, make sure you have those things on hand, because it may take some time to find a medical facility that can get you more of what you need to take or use. Make sure that your passport is up to date, and make copies of it, even storing a copy on your hard drive, just in case you lose it. Also, make sure you know the addresses and phone numbers of places you may need to go in case of emergency. This includes police stations, hospitals, fire departments, and the American consulate.
The last two things that you can do to make sure that you will be able to get around in your new country is to contact your cell phone carrier to make sure that they have coverage there, and to get a local up-to-date map. You are far less likely to get lost in a bad area, if you are able to lookup where you are, and how to get to where you need to go. Your cell phone carrier is especially important, because you will want to be able to make a phone call in case of an emergency.
Most important though, is to make sure that you have fun, and continue your education. Moving internationally can be a huge culture shock, but can also be personally rewarding, as you learn more about other cultures. Taking these steps will help you alleviate some potential stress that you could face, so make sure that you follow them prior to making your move.