Studying abroad is almost always an exhilarating, inspiring experience. It is likely something that you will never forget for the rest of your life and it may even change the course your life takes. You will get to experience other cultures, meet new people and learn many new things. To get the most out of your study abroad experience, however, you should do everything you can to prepare so the unexpected does not ruin your adventure. If you are about to study abroad, the following are some things you should know.
Planning ahead for just about everything will be important when preparing to study abroad. For example, you will likely want to take side trips to other areas or even countries from where you will be living. These side trips will allow you to experience more than just the city, region or even country you are studying in. Plan for these trips in advance by understanding the logistics of transporting yourself from place to place. This can include buying airfare in advance, learning about train routes and more. Also, decide what you want to see. There are bound to be landmarks or major attractions in the country in which you'll be staying that you want to visit. Do some research before you go to decide what places you want to make sure and see.
Do Some Language Learning
One of the biggest mistakes when going abroad is thinking you can get by with just English (or whatever your native language happens to be). When preparing to go to another country, you should make an effort to gain at least some language ability in the language commonly spoken there. Learn how to say hello, form a basic sentence and grow your vocabulary. There are plenty of language-learning resources you can use before you go, including books, audio courses and apps. You can also take formal classes at your college or university. Invest in a good translation dictionary – there are plenty of good language translation apps available or you could buy a physical book as well. You will learn a lot of the language one you're there but it's always best to come in with a rudimentary understanding.
Study The Culture
Language isn't the only thing you should learn before going to a foreign country. You should also familiarize yourself with their culture. Even though the world is becoming increasingly globalized, most everywhere still holds onto distinct cultural elements. You want to know what is and is not culturally acceptable in a place before you go there. Be prepared to adjust and play by their rules. Knowing something about the culture of your host country will also help you understand some of the things you see there, such as the importance of monuments or religious structures. Once there, you can soak up culture by visiting museums, events and just observing what goes on around you.
Staying in a foreign country for a prolonged period will often necessitate that you think about insurance coverage. In some cases, your existing health insurance policy will cover treatment overseas, but this is not especially common, and coverage will likely be limited. Contact your insurer to confirm the specifics of your plan. If you are not covered, you need to look into your options. Your college or university will likely have some advice and suggestions for you. Most major health insurers in the United States offer global policies. Other types of insurance might be necessary as well, such as car insurance if you will be owning or renting a vehicle.
Make Sure Your Credits Will Count
You aren't just going abroad to have a good time and experience another country. You are also there to study. Before you enroll in any education program in a foreign country, you need to have a clear understanding of what credits will transfer between the foreign university and your home university. You can also go abroad for your entire college experience. Remember that, at least in some countries, you can pursue education options different from the traditional ones such as an online MBA in Australia. You may also be able to take some combination of in-person and online classes. Getting your education online can allow you to experience more of everyday life in your host country.
Create A Budget (And Stick To It)
Budgeting will be essential while studying abroad, especially if you will not be working. Even if you do have the time and the proper permission to work in a foreign country, you will still need to manage your money well. Budgeting is an integral skill to have in adult life. You can budget on a weekly or a monthly basis – it doesn't matter, so long as you stick to it, it's realistic, and it's affordable. Before you even go, save as much money as possible because you will burn through it fast. You can research the cost of living in your destination before you depart so you can have a more realistic picture of what your budget should look like.
Studying abroad presents its unique challenges and considerations. Create a checklist and try to make sure you've covered everything before you go. By having a good idea of what you are doing and planning, you can minimize unpleasant curveballs and ensure your study abroad experience will be fantastic.