Starting University is an exciting time – you’ll be meeting lots of new faces, having new experiences and dedicating yourself to learning – but choosing to study abroad can add an extra dimension of complexity.
While the pull of a foreign country which is new, exciting and different can be strong – being away from home, in a different country with a potential language barrier can be difficult.
Luckily, we’ve put together a useful checklist of things to consider when moving abroad to study, so that your relocation goes as smoothly as possible – leaving you to focus on all the positives that studying abroad can offer.
Make sure you cover everything from the costs, to the climate, culture and language – and make sure that you pick somewhere that suits you as an individual.
Real life advice from people who have made the move will be invaluable and can even help you to make a decision if you’re struggling.
Maybe spend your Gap Year working and saving to fund your trip – it’ll help you in the long run and you’ll be living abroad so will have the opportunity to travel plenty later!
Once you’ve picked your city/country do further research into more specific landmarks/places you want to see/visit, food you want to sample and plan to dedicate some of your free time to travelling around your new home.
There are no two ways about it – if you move abroad you will need to be prepared to learn the language – it may sound obvious but necessary so enrol on a course back home to get to grips with the basics before you leave!
Make sure that you have everything you need to study abroad – student visa, passport, travel documents, etc.
Make sure you have an idea of the cost of living before you go so you can budget effectively. Being a student is always going to be tight financially – and being abroad is no exception – make sure you have what you need for rent/food/bills as well as any emergencies.
Being thrown into a new environment with lots of new people can be tricky – but especially in a foreign country – be friendly and make the effort to talk to people on your course, at your accommodation or anywhere you can really!
Embrace the freedom that comes with travelling and arrive with just a case of necessities – climate appropriate clothes/shoes, a few personal items to remind you of home, and the essentials (passport, visa, prescriptions, etc.)
Travelling is all about adventure and trying new things – from local food to the music, culture and language – not only is it a lot of fun it will also make the transition easier and help you feel at home in no time.
Take time to understand them and make sure you get them right and don’t offend the locals.
Again, it is crucial that you know what the local laws entail so you’re not at risk of breaking them.
You’re not going to adapt straight away, this is true of studying at home, and even more so abroad. Finding your way around, learning the local language and making friends will all take time. Don’t panic, and learn to embrace the challenges!
Don’t just stick to the one city – you live abroad now – explore!
It is vital that this is in place to cater for any nasty surprises, Expacare can help with our specific Student Insurance Plans.
Make sure you know the location of the nearest bank, embassy, doctor, hospital, etc in advance so that you are prepared in any eventuality.
Get your phone set up, whether this requires obtaining a foreign sim card or an additional data package and download Skype, WhatsApp or whatever other communication channels you intend to use. However, you choose to stay in touch with family and friends, make sure you can do so from the off.
While it’s bound to be a stressful time starting life as a student, particularly abroad, remember that it’s meant to be fun and you decided to do it for a reason – so enjoy!
The above is by no means exhaustive but should hopefully act as a useful starter for preparing yourself to study abroad.
Visit out Internation Student Health Insurance Plans page to find out more information, or call us on +44 (0)1344 233950 to speak to our helpful support team.