Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in a college student's career. Getting to know another culture, living in a new environment, learning a new language, meeting people: all these add up to a kind of education different from what one acquires on campus. No wonder that so many returnees from overseas study say that the experience changed their lives. It is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that every college student should take advantage of. Most of today’s students are choosing to study abroad to see the World. These individuals not only have the chance to receive a more broadly based education, but are also afforded the opportunity to meet new people and be exposed to different cultures and cuisine and dabble in new languages. But one should never forget that no single location will have everything you are looking for. Stay open-minded when choosing a location.
Open minded students tend to gain the most from study abroad
Now that you have made the decision to study abroad, the world is your oyster. There are so many places to visit, people to meet, programs to study and cultural aspects to pique your interest. Not only will you experience differences and similarities in the world around you, but you will probably notice a change within yourself.
Study abroad builds skills such as maturity, independence, self-reliance, adaptability, and responsibility in addition to adding and international perspective to your university studies. You are about to embark on what could be a very significant life- changing experience. As exciting as the prospects are, there are several steps that you should complete in anticipation of your program.
Passport, visa and travel ticket are something which must be checked. They must be in a safe place and handy at the same time.
Students must know the basic visa regulations of the country they are going to study in. In one country, you may travel with an e-visa however in another you are not only required to have a stamped visa but also require carrying the original passport all the time.
So as a rule of thumb, know the local visa guidelines to avoid any hassles with the authorities. Besides, you should also check with the universities or institute if you require bringing some documents for the enrollment process. Healthcare policies are mandatory in some countries and ensure if you have a relevant one.
International students are advised to have access to sufficient funds for their initial 2-3 months expenses. In this online world, you actually do not have to carry suitcase full of currency. You can carry a few hundred dollars in cash and rest in the form of traveler’s cheques. International students can open an account in most of the international banks even from the home countries. Direct transfer of money to your account is another smart way of giving away the worries of cash carrying and being robbed.
Home sweet home is soon going to be a thing of the past. You will not have a pre-installed convenience system as back in home provided by the parents. Accommodation is really important when you land in a new country. Check if your relatives, friends or acquaintances can make some temporary or permanent arrangements. Otherwise, most of the institutions have the facility of on campus accommodation or can assist in getting an accommodation. You usually require informing the institutions in advance since places are usually limited.
Clothing Nothing could be more suicidal if you are carrying shorts for a temperature like - 10C. Likewise, overcoats will be a burden if the temperature is 30°-40° C. Know the climate of the destination country and take the clothes accordingly. You can also buy clothes in the new country if there are economical options available. As a rule of thumb, always carry a mix of casual and formal wear.
Food - Usually, in most of the countries you can have home country’s food and spices. You should check if the food you are accustomed to is available there or not and carry if not available.
Accessories - In London, an umbrella is your best friend. However to survive the notorious ozone layer depletion of Australia, you must have sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your self from harmful ultraviolet rays. Before taking electronic equipments like mobile, laptop etc, ensure if they meet electricity voltage and design specification set by local regulatory authorities. In some countries, you may have to carry an adapter for your electronic equipments.
Miscellaneous - There are a few simple things which can actually make your overseas education experience an asset of life-time. How true “When in Rome do as Roman do! The greatest advantage of studying abroad is exchange of culture and exploration of new set of ideologies. Make local friends and networks which will be great supporting system out there. It is also very important to know the local social and cultural customs and behave accordingly to be accepted by the locals. These simple gestures towards the local community can really help you in immersing into the new culture and society.