If you’re about to embark on a new adventure and begin your studies in a new country, there’s a lot to be excited about!
However, there’s also a boat load of elements that you need to plan very thoroughly if you want your travel and overall experience to go smoothly. Moving abroad for your degree is no small feat, so being well-prepared and clued up before you jet off is a smart move to make.
Here’s what you need to plan and organize in the months leading up to your departure.
Do All the Admin
First of all, getting your ducks in a row in terms of documentation is essential. Make sure that you’re registered for your diploma or degree and that any upfront feed have been paid to allow you admission. Apply for your visa, book your plane tickets, and look for accommodation.
You will also need to look into less-obvious factors like signing up for global health insurance and getting any vaccinations that your designation country might require you to have. Try to have both physical and digital copies of any essential documentation on hand when you’re traveling, and keep everything organized in binders or folders.
Research Your Destination
It’s also a good idea to get clued up on the country you’re going to be living in for the next few years. When attending university, your academics should be your number one priority. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be experiencing life off campus!
Get to know a little about your destination, what the culture and people are like, what there is to do and see, and what cuisine awaits you there. Learn about any cultural cues and etiquette that might differ from what you’re used to, and make a list of some essential attractions, landmarks, activities, restaurants, shows, etc. that you want to experience while you’re there.
Plan Your Finances
Budgeting is an essential part of successful travel, so don’t leave this to chance. Create a budget for your trip – visas, flight tickets, short-term accommodation, etc. Make sure you factor in smaller details too, like snacks at the airport and souvenirs you might grab on the way.
Next, make sure to create a rough budget for your day-to-day living expenses during your time abroad. Plan out what you’ll be spending on accommodation and food, tuition, transport, etc. and try to include some funding for extra travel and experiences too. If you plan to work during your time abroad too, you’ll need to allocate your income carefully.
Prep Your Packing Plan
When you’re “moving away” for a short period of time, it can be tough to know what to pack. Most students get stuck between taking everything they might need and packing barely the essentials.
Make sure you have a clear idea of what will be in your dorm room (or whatever accommodation you’ll be staying in), and then figure out what makes sense to travel with and what should be bought once you arrive. Be sure to pack clothing for different weather conditions, and bring along the items you simply can’t live without. Some kind of token of home is also a good idea to bring with you.
Learn the Language
Moving to a new country that speaks a different language can be incredibly overwhelming. Since you’ll be living there for a few years, you will probably need to put some serious effort into learning the language and practicing when you arrive.
However, getting a quick head start before you depart is a great idea too. Spend some time getting down the basics by learning some simple but important words and phrases. This should be enough to get you by in the first few weeks, and opting for a language learning app is probably your best bet in this situation.
Get to Know Your Campus
Doing a little digging on your university website might help you prepare a little better for what les ahead. Check online to see if you can find a map of the campus, a list of clubs or teams you might be able to join, and what other facilities will be available to you.
Checking out the university’s social media pages might help you get a better idea of what campus culture is like too. A great idea is to join online community groups for the university or even for your specific department.
Create a Pre-Departure Checklist
If you’re prone to getting frazzled when there’s a lot going on, then a simple list might help you stay calm and collected and ensure that you’re not forgetting anything.
A few weeks before your trip, when your brain is still calm and rational, start compiling a list of everything you need to do and take with you up until the moment of your departure – and even beyond (such as where you need to go when you land). This will help you feel more in control and make everything a little more simple.