So you did your research for your ideal study abroad program and for international scholarship opportunities, and now you’ve picked where you want to go. That’s great! But now what? Study abroad usually involves more than just picking your school, paying the plane ticket and school tuition. Early preparation is essential and will save you from last minute headaches. Below is a list of some important considerations you should prepare in advance of your study abroad trip:
Country visa requirements
If you already have your heart set on a country and school, you should research what the requirements would be in order for you to study there. Most countries will require international students to apply for a student visa. Checking with your school’s study abroad office or embassy’s website would be helpful to gain more information about what requirements you need to meet to obtain a visa.
Keep in mind that even if you have health insurance in your home country, it may not provide coverage while you study abroad.
Many of these countries also require that you must have health insurance in order to apply for a visa. Some examples of popular destinations with health insurance requirements include the the J-1 visa requirements in the US, student visas in Finland and insurance requirements if entering one of the Schengen countries.
Many universities also require insurance for international students. If you are an international student studying in the U.S., you should check if your university requires you to purchase the school’s plan or whether you have other insurance options, look up your insurance requirements in our school insurance requirements data-base.
Check for important dates!
You should also check for any application deadlines and be mindful if you have to mail any documents internationally, as it may take longer than you expected for it to be delivered.
If you don’t have a passport already, you should apply for your documents early. You will also want to make sure that your passport is valid for the period of travel, no one wants to find out that their passport expired in the middle of your trip.
Research your country
Unlike taking a trip while vacationing for just a few days in a country, when you study abroad you are most likely going to spend a long period of time in your host country. You should do some research on the language and culture of the place you are going to in order to avoid culture shock or to avoid accidentally offend someone. Learn some key phrases and make some local friends; this is a great way to learn the culture. If you are a non-native English speaker and will be studying in an English speaking country, you will probably have to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS test for English proficiency.
Get proper vaccination for where you are traveling to, and check if you will need any medication while abroad and if they are available in your host country.