While the prospect of studying abroad is exciting, it’s also overwhelming. Making all necessary arrangements can quickly become hectic, especially if it’s your first time moving abroad. With applications, paperwork, deadlines, and arrangements to make many months in advance, the process can become extremely challenging if you’re not well-organised.
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With so much to do in a short period, you can forget essential steps and make mistakes if you’re not careful. This article will discuss how to prepare to study abroad to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything important.
How to Prepare for Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t always start out that way. Before you can start enjoying life in another country and take in another culture, you have to go through preparation. Since it’s not as simple as boarding a plane and starting your adventure, the following steps on how to prepare to study abroad can be helpful guidelines.
1. Figure Out Documentation
Documentation is one of the most important parts of having to prepare to study abroad. The necessary documents you’ll require are your passport and your visa. If you don’t already have a passport, this is the first thing you will need to tackle during the preparation for studying abroad. It’s also important to apply for a new passport if the one you currently have is about to expire or doesn’t have enough blank pages.
After this, the next thing you need to do is apply for a visa. Unless you’re an EU citizen going to another EU country to study abroad, you’ll need a visa to enter the country. The visa process for studying abroad can be complicated and can take a while, so it’s best to apply well in advance. For some countries, a visa may take as long as six months to obtain. Check out the country’s visa requirements through the embassy or consulate near you or on the embassy’s website and ensure you have taken care of all the requirements before submitting your application.
2. Exchange Currency Beforehand
When studying abroad, you’ll need to ensure you have at least a small amount of the local currency available to make necessary purchases. Exchanging currency at the airport is possible, but you won’t get favourable rates. Additionally, your first few days in a new country will be busy, and you may not have time to go to a bank and get your money exchanged. Prepare to study abroad by taking care of this before you step foot on the plane.
3. Inform Your Bank About the Move
When talking about how to prepare to study abroad, we must mention informing your bank about the move. Studying abroad requires funds, and if you don’t let your bank know about your travel plans beforehand, they may deem your account activity fraudulent. If they block your debit or credit cards, you won’t be able to make purchases and may face difficulties getting the issue resolved. It’s best to prepare by letting your bank know about this before leaving the country. This way, you’ll have access to your accounts at all times.
4. Take the Necessary Exams
Some countries require a proficiency exam to know that you’ll be able to deal with the workload and understand the language of instruction. The UK is one such country. If you’re studying abroad at a UK university, you’ll need to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test
to prove that you can handle assignments and lectures in English.
The requirements for testing vary depending on your location and your familiarity with the language, so make sure you have looked up the latest requirements. Some universities require IELTS results, while others require passing the Secure English Language Test (SELT). Some even choose to test your English skills themselves. When it comes to preparing for studying abroad, it’s critical to figure out the requirements for your specific university and programme.
5. Pack Wisely
When you’re starting to prepare to study abroad, you must think about packing up your entire life into a few suitcases. We’re sure you’ve heard not to overpack, but we’re here to tell you to pack wisely. Start packing at least a week or two before you’re going to leave to ensure you do not forget things simply because you’re in a hurry. Additionally, this will give you plenty of time to buy things you don’t have.
It’s also essential to keep the weather in mind when packing. If your study abroad location is warm, don’t waste your time packing sweaters and coats you won’t end up using. Also, make sure to pack neutrals or outfits you can mix and match and keep the baggage limit in mind when packing. Ignoring the limit or forgetting to check it beforehand can lead to later paying exorbitant fees at the airport. Most international flights only allow one or two checked bags, so you must be careful when packing.
It’s also essential to know the difference between items you put in your carry-on vs. your checked luggage. When it comes to valuables like electronics and jewellery, you must always have them in your carry-on. The same is true for essentials like a change of clothes, prescriptions, and toiletries. If you make the mistake of adding these to your checked luggage, you’ll face problems if your luggage gets lost.
6. Organise an Airport Transfer
When you arrive at your new location, you may not know where to go. If you aren’t familiar with public transportation or haven’t done your research beforehand, you may end up lost. You might even have to get a taxi, which can cost a lot of money for long distances. Arranging for an airport transfer beforehand will save you hassle when you arrive at your study abroad destination.
While the steps you need to take to prepare to study abroad can be challenging and overwhelming, studying abroad can be a wonderful experience for students. In addition to expanding your horizons, studying abroad will help you appreciate different cultures and make you a more global citizen. We hope this article on how to prepare for studying abroad was useful and helps make your journey a smoother one.