Making the decision to study abroad can be life-changing, and can offer you unique opportunities which will be both liberating and exciting. A new chapter awaits you, and there are so many possibilities, opportunities, and new experiences for you to discover.
However, getting the most out of your time studying abroad takes a certain amount of savvy and having the right mindset, which is why it’s so important to be prepared. Today, we’re going to explore the 12 key tips you need to know to get the most out of this new chapter of your life.
1. Research Your Destination
You’re going to be jumping into the deep end by moving to a new country, so you can put your best foot forward by doing some prior research. Whether you’re searching online, reading local newspapers, or even reading a travel guide, the more you know, the better off you’ll be.
2. Get Organised
The more organised you are, the more you’ll be ready to face any unexpected situations that come your way. Do your planning and research in advance, so that you can focus more on getting the most out of your trip when you arrive.
3. Start Saving
While you may plan to work while you’re studying, it’s a good idea to get some money behind you, so you know you’re going to be able to support yourself. This could be savings for a rainy day, or just so you can spend a bit extra on experiences, it’s up to you.
4. Accessing and Managing Money
Figure our how you’re going to access and manage your money abroad. Can you take out cash from an ATM on your debit card, or will you need to transfer it? Will there be charges for using your credit card abroad, or will you set up a local bank account?
5. Start Learning the Language
Granted, you’re going to find it much easier to pick up the local language once you’re there and can put it into practice on a daily basis. However, taking steps to start learning before you go will make life easier when you arrive, and can give you a headstart.
6. Join New Classes/Clubs
The idea of meeting people and making friends in a new country can be daunting. Sure, you’ll be meeting other students in your classes, but you’ll learn a lot about the culture if you can make friends with locals in the community. The best way to do this? Join clubs and classes outside of university/school hours.
Get out and explore your new ‘hood when you have free time. Go for a wander and see what’s out there. Go further afield on the weekends – catch a train or bus to surrounding regions. Getting off the beaten path and just exploring can be one of the best ways to get to know your new country and see what it has to offer.
8. Plan Communication With Home
We live in an age when everyone can be connected, so staying in regular contact with family and friends has never been easier. Staying in touch often will allow you to share your experiences with the people you love, and ensure that you don’t miss home too much. Research the best method for you!
9. Don’t Bunk Off
Just like you would at home, it’s important to make sure you don’t skip class or miss your lectures. Don’t jeopardise your place at university. Being sent home would ruin the experience.
10. Copy Your Documents
Make copies of all important documentation, such as your passport and your university documents. This will make things so much easier in the event that you lose them, or they become misplaced!
11. Dealing With Relationships
It can be difficult to maintain relationships at home, especially romantic ones, while you’re away for an extended period of time, and you don’t want to ruin this once-in-a-lifetime experience. You might want to consider putting your relationships ‘on hold’ while you’re away. Don’t worry; if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
12. Take Lots of Photos
You’re going to be making memories to last a lifetime; new places, new adventures, new people. Take lots of photos on your cell phone/camera to help you remember the good times.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to studying abroad is just to really let yourself go and enjoy yourself. This could be the only time in your life you’re able to do something like this, so make sure you give it everything you have!
Contributed by Katrina Hatchett.
Katrina is a lifestyle blogger at Academicbrits.com, and is all about helping people understand how easy it is to travel the world and fulfil their dreams. She enjoys finding new cultures and boosting the confidence of travel-hungry students!