Study abroad checklist. 9 things you must know before studying abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial experiences. Learning new languages, appreciating other cultures, overcoming the hardships of living in another country, and gaining a better understanding of the world are all benefits of studying abroad. 

The truth is that studying abroad has numerous advantages, ranging from assisting you in finding a suitable profession to increasing your social life. At first, going overseas to study may appear to be an easy decision but isn’t necessarily easy. Going abroad to study presents its own set of challenges, but that’s all part of the thrill and experience.

And at the same time, many prospective studies abroad students have questions about whether or not they are prepared to study in another country but don’t worry, that’s completely natural. One of the things that makes the experience so useful and worthwhile is stepping outside of your comfort zone. Our objective is to make meaningful travel as simple as possible for you.

1. Verify that all of your paperwork is in order

Get your passport as soon as possible, and make sure you apply for your visa(s) in a timely manner. If you have a passport, double-check the date of expiration. Check to see if it will last you beyond your semester abroad. Confirm that the visa will cover the duration of your study abroad program. It is better to coordinate everything when it comes to passports, documents, visas, or processing.

2. Keep up with the latest currency exchange rates

Many students consider daily expenses when determining where to study abroad, yet some of the cheapest nations to visit are also the least stable. If your country’s economy is unusually unstable, don’t expect that the US dollar will have the same worth when you study abroad as it had when you checked the exchange rate five months ago.

When you’re planning for months rather than days, even tiny changes might add up big impact, and you can find yourself spending Western Europe money in what you thought was a budget-friendly place.

How do you keep up with the continuously changing foreign exchange rate and exchange currencies at the best possible time?

Using Google is one simple method. Simply type the currencies into Google (for example, “USD/EUR”), and will return the latest exchange rate. 

3. Make sure you’ve secured your tickets, accommodations, and courses

If you’ve chosen a destination and are ready to travel, make sure your flights are booked, and your accommodations and your courses are in order. You should know who you’ll be meeting and how you’ll handle a completely new atmosphere.

Although each study abroad program is unique, the majority of them include regular courses. Know what classes you’ll be taking and when they’ll meet so you can arrange activities around them. Also, know where you’ll be staying so you can figure out your route.

4. Packing list for Indian students going abroad

If you’ve never traveled internationally for an extended period of time, packing for an entire semester may seem impossible. Although it may seem that one needs more items while going for a long time.

That is why one of the most common mistakes individuals make when going abroad is overpacking rather than underpacking. It’s necessary to plan for all of the seasons you’ll be away from home and to be aware of the country’s weather patterns. Analyze the climate and average temperature of the location you’ve selected for.

It is important to bring the proper luggage – make sure your primary luggage is adaptable, easy to handle, and large enough to store all of your belongings. For example- a four-wheel 360-degree rotating bag will be a good option and will help to keep the weight off your hands.

Also read: List of Scholarships for Indian Students to Study Abroad

Before traveling prepare for gathering all of your necessary documentation and making all of the arrangements you’ll need on the day of your arrival. 

Use this checklist as reference:

  • Back up copies of important documents, photos, and music to cloud storage.
  • Keep your passport, visa, and enrolment letter handy.
  • Save all of your key contact information and contact data in a Google document.
  • Check the weight limitations and food options for your flight.
  • Make arrangements for airport pick-ups and drops in both your home and host country in advance.
  • Download a messenger or online calling app so you can contact your family and friends using available Wi-Fi.
  • Don’t forget electronic gadgets and mobile applications
  • Add something to make your luggage identifiable.
  • You should pack some medicine, especially if you need to take something on prescription.
  • In order to avoid any type of conflict at the airport, check the official website of your airline for a list of banned and restricted items.

5. Receive all essential medical examinations and vaccinations

In the year 2020, COVID-19 made the entire process of studying abroad a little more difficult and vaccination has, predictably, become a requirement.

Because the pandemic is still ongoing, authorities are more concerned about allowing international students to enter. Since that vaccination is a must, Indian students must be well-versed in the relevant regulations, as well as the most recent immigration requirements. Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines.

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for your destination to learn what immunizations or medicines you might need, as well as what diseases or health concerns are a worry.  Make an appointment with your doctor or a travel health specialist at least one month before to your departure. They can assist you in acquiring immunizations, medicines, and information specific to your destination.

6. Set the budget for your studies

Deciding on a budget for your education abroad and making decisions based on that budget will be healthier for you or your family. Regardless of program cost, the cost of living will have an immediate impact on your budget. There is a lot you can do to avoid squandering your money. It simply needs a little extra effort.

Although international education might be costly, there are numerous ways to study abroad on a budget, which include:

  • Look for places where the cost of education is comparatively low.
  • Look for scholarship options in the nation you want to study. Some scholarships are fully funded, while others are just partially funded.
  • As a student, look for employment circumstances and alternatives. You may be able to work part-time while studying in some countries.
  • Just control your cost of Living
  • Fill out the study abroad budget template using the research and comparison tool Numbeo (the world’s largest cost of living database) to calculate the costs of living in your host country to help you estimate your income and expenses during your stay abroad.
  • If your study abroad program does not provide accommodation, check with a program advisor about available student housing in your host city.
  • Examine monthly and annual passes, as well as the cost of one mode of transportation, compared to another.
  • Food is one of the most expenses for every student. You should limit your eating out and cook as much as possible at home.
  • Utilize your smartphone: there are a variety of apps that can assist you in saving money with minimal effort. Use the XE Currency Converter app to make sure currency exchangers aren’t taking advantage of you, and the MoneyWise app to keep track of your spending and figure out where your money is going.

7. Select the appropriate country and university

Many factors affect your decision to study abroad, including living conditions, cultural differences, spoken language, distance from your home country, climatic conditions, housing, tuition expenses, and possible post-study career options. The United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand are among the most popular study abroad destinations for international students.

However, you may make a more informed selection about which country to study in by examining the topic you’ll be studying and the most popular occupations in that country. The most crucial aspect of deciding to study abroad is picking the correct university and course.

Education is one of the most valuable and life-changing investments we can make. Selecting a course that fits your interests should be your top concern. You can narrow down the countries if you know which area/course you want to pursue or are interested in.

You must-

  • Examine the activities, interests, and themes that naturally pique your curiosity and those you find enjoyable.
  • Be open-minded while picking a career path.
  • The skills/activities that highlight your personality.
  • The cost and programs of different countries vary. 
  • If you know which course best fits your goals, you can choose the destination. 
  • Analyze the educational systems of various countries; for example, many colleges emphasize practical research rather than theory; consequently, your ability to adapt to such a system is important.
  • Attend university fairs and open days

8. Connect to your Bank

Banking in a foreign country is very different from banking in your own country. It’s important to maintain your connections, particularly with your relationship manager, who may help you better grasp how banking works in another country.

The safest and most effective approach to managing your money is to open a student bank account abroad. During September and October, though, the process might be complex, and it may take several weeks.

In the beginning, you may need to use your international credit card, but you should aim to register a local bank account as soon as possible. The reason for this is that withdrawing money and managing your accounts solely through an international account is not viable for a number of reasons like-

  • Using an overseas card to withdraw money will incur a charge each time.
  • You will not be able to set up debits from an international account
  • Employers will send your wages immediately into your local bank account if you are seeking for part-time work throughout your academic term.
  • Find out if your college has a relationship with a certain bank that they suggest their students to by contacting the international student cell or visiting their website.
  • Many banks in other countries claim that you may open an account over the phone or online, but you should do so in person.

You’ll need the following documents when you go to the bank to open an account:

  • Your passport with a student visa (one or two photocopies)
  • The letter from your college confirming your study details
  • Home address, home telephone number, and your college address and their proofs like letterheads showing the local address, utility bills or apartment contract, etc.
  • An international credit card issued in your name 
  • You’ll also need to present proof of the amount you’d like to deposit and create an account with. Every bank has its own set of criteria, so make sure you ask ahead of time so you don’t forget anything.

9. Research your new city and cultural norms

You’re relocating to another country and starting a new journey. When you study abroad for your entire degree, there are a lot of cultural aspects to keep in mind. Along with the thrill and anticipation, you should learn a little about your destination before arriving at the airport.

As a foreigner, you are unfamiliar with the local culture and all of the unwritten regulations, ideally, you are aware of the written rules that govern your host country.

The first thing you should do is a little research on your intended destination. Speak with people you know who have visited the nation, study travel guides, and consult your university’s website for recommendations and guidance.

Learning the cultural etiquette and values of the country you will be studying can be beneficial.  For example, What is considered friendly and what is deemed impolite. Learning about the country’s basic history, politics, and major events, as well as what the weather will be like, will greatly assist you in adjusting to your new environment.

Living in a new country and adjusting to a new culture does not require you to abandon your own values and traditions. However, it is critical to respect the rights of others.

You’ll not only be acclimating to the culture of your study abroad destination but also be surrounded by international students from all over the world. Life abroad is unique, you should ask questions to learn about local customs and values. Simply ask for assistance if you ever need it.