Studying abroad tends to be an extremely valuable experience – you get a chance to learn a new language, meet a new culture, without procrastinating and with learning a whole lot of new stuff. In fact, the best way to spend your 20s (and even later periods in life), is by going somewhere outside your culture and be exposed to a different language and, above all, a different way of learning. However, simply choosing a target country and setting sails for new learning endeavours isn’t quite that simple. You need to think quite a deal ahead and plan your stay in a new environment. We hope that this guide will help you get through preparations for your abroad-study experience.
Find what fits you
Regardless of whether you are looking to work, volunteer or study abroad and no matter the level of your degree, you can rest assured that nowadays there’s always a program waiting for you. Whether it’s a cultural exchange program, or a field-based one, there are many different ones, with different price points each.
Most colleges are equipped with departments for international education, so you should definitely use the power of the Internet, as well as a lot of spare time that you have on your hands to pick the right fit.
This, however, isn’t the only fit that you’ll need to find – you always have to think about money. In order to reach your goal of studying abroad, you’ll need to save up some cash (you’re looking at the ballpark of around $5000, for a six-week term). If you need to save up, try applying for jobs and/or paid internships, to meet the monetary demands of the desired program.
Documents and preparations
Naturally, seeing as how you’re going abroad for an extended period of time, you’ll have to think about documentation. Make sure you’ve got your passport, student visa, banking, housing and insurance paperwork in order, as well as financial aid. There is few things worse than having to take care of vital bureaucratic stuff from your new temporary home abroad.
School programs vary, especially those abroad to those of your country – this is why you need to check in with the program you join, in order to make sure you know what the school needs from you – proof of citizenship, proof of medical insurance, passport copies and the like.
When it comes to where you’ll stay, this depends on what your aims are and how much you’re willing to spend. Some schools offer their college campus for free, others require you to pay, while some require you to find your own temporary home. If you’re on a limited budget, you can always opt to share accommodation with someone, as an excellent complement to your pocket.
A certain degree of stress is to be expected when moving to a foreign country – you should prepare for new customs, laws and new social mores in general, by means of the Internet.
Additionally, every city has certain neighborhoods with high crime levels, so you should definitely get to know which parts of the city to avoid, at least at the very beginning of your temporary life there. Make sure you prepare yourself to get into a mindset where you won’t go out alone late at night, regardless of your gender, age, nationality or race. Tread carefully in order to avoid inconveniences, or even worse. Finally, make sure you equip your smartphone with emergency numbers, before you even set off from your home country.
Make sure you speak up! Not only does a language barrier tend to be tedious, but, in reference to the previous paragraph, tends to attract trouble with locals. At the very beginning it will be difficult, but you’ll quickly pick up on the language, seeing as how you’ll be surrounded with people speaking it.
Once you’ve gotten a hold of the basics of the target language, not only will you be able to express yourself easily, but also to understand what people are saying, which is crucial in staying safe.
Studying in a foreign country will probably be an exhausting and frustrating experience in the very beginning, but if you make sure you’ve covered all your basics outlined here, you can rest assured that staying in the target country will soon turn out to be a breeze and a fun experience.
Author: Diana Smith