Studying abroad is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have during your college or university career. It broadens your horizons, gives you new perspectives, and allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture.
You also have a chance to get internationally recognized credentials and make long-lasting friendships. Not forgetting, you can even decide to permanently relocate to the country of your dreams after your studies. However, as wonderful as it all sounds, there are a few things you need to take into account. They include:
It all starts with choosing where to study and then checking the requirements for international students. Understand the needs of each country and institution to save yourself trouble later on. Also, start the visa application process as early as possible to avoid delays.
Go through different visa types and gather all the documents you need for a successful application. For instance, check the Spanish non-lucrative visa on Where Can I Live website if considering the country. Learn who is eligible, the application process, and the requirements.
Create a budget and try as much as possible to stick to it. Ensure your costs are covered and you have extra cash for emergencies. Consider the cost of tuition, accommodation, food, transportation, and other activities. Also, remember to factor in the cost of your return ticket home. Look for scholarships and bursaries to help with the costs.
Exchange programs are also an excellent way to cut down on costs. To create a budget, consider the duration of your studies, type of accommodation, and lifestyle. If low on cash, get a part-time job. You can even work remotely or start a small business.
Your Health and Safety
Be aware of the health and safety risks associated with your destination country. Consider the quality of healthcare and whether your medical insurance covers you abroad. Also, factor in any vaccinations you may need.
Research the country’s crime rate and take precautions to avoid becoming a victim. For instance, don’t walk alone at night or in deserted areas. Keep your belongings close and be vigilant of your surroundings at all times.
It also helps to know a few words in the local language in case you need to ask for help. Keep emergency contact details close, such as the number for the nearest embassy, police, and hospital. Also, have a trusted person you can call in an emergency.
Your Academic Goals
Check out the curriculum of your chosen institution to find out what courses are available—research different programs and majors to see if they fit your interests and goals. Also, ensure the courses are offered in English or another language you are proficient in.
Before you book that flight, think about your career plans. What do you want to achieve after completing your studies? Do you intend to stay in the country or return home? Will your chosen course help you achieve your goals? Are there other things you can do to grow or advance your career? Talking to career experts or professionals in your field of study will help you make the right decision.
Consider your accommodation options and try to book in advance. If staying on campus, research the different college dorms and decide based on your budget and preferences.
If living off campus, look for apartments or homes that fit your budget and preferences. You can also look for roommates to help with the costs. Keep in mind that the cost of living differs from one country to another.
Not forgetting, you may experience culture shock when living in a foreign country. It’s normal and part of the experience. To avoid feeling isolated, make an effort to meet new people and get involved in campus life. Join student clubs and organizations, or volunteer in your community.
You can also explore the city or country you’re living in. Visit tourist attractions, try different foods, and learn about the culture and customs. Keep an open mind and be patient as you
adjust to the new environment. Taking time to learn about the country and its culture before the move enables you to hit the ground running.
Because you might also experience homesickness, it helps to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Use social media, video calling, or email to keep in touch. You can even send care packages to loved ones. When possible, visit home during holidays or extended breaks.
Make The Most Out of the Opportunity
There you have it; a few things to think about before studying abroad. Remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will help you grow academically, professionally, and personally. Embrace the challenge and make the most of it.