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Preparing for Study Abroad
Learn all about preparing for your study abroad experience in the best way possible!

You’ve purchased a new camera and have the latest version of Skype on your computer — you’re ready to study abroad, right? Not quite yet. While there will be hundreds of photos taken and multiple Skype sessions with friends and family back home, this is only the beginning when it comes to preparing for study abroad. Here are a few things you must get done before you go.

Getting Started

If you have not yet already applied to study abroad you will need to do this right away. Call or visit your international student office on campus and find out what documents need to be submitted and what deadlines you need to do this by. This process can often involve letters of reference, official transcripts and even an essay, so the more time you have to gather what you need- the better.

Make It Legal

Before you travel internationally you will need to have a valid passport and visa. Look into what type of visa you will need for your studies- it will vary by host country, home country, length of stay and your purpose for visiting. If you will be studying in the US you more than likely will need an F1 Visa. Depending on where you are going, before you can obtain your visa you may also need to meet specific requirements such as having international student health insurance

Home Sweet Home

Figure out where you will be staying while abroad. Some students stay on campus in the residence hall and others choose to rent a house or apartment off campus. Check with your host school to see what housing options are available as some schools may require that you live on-campus your first semester. While living on-campus offers less privacy, and more than likely less room, it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends and get a real look at what life as a student in your host country is like.

Perform Research

Not for your study abroad application- for your own knowledge! Before you enter a new country it’s important to know that along with food and language there will be other differences and it’s key that you know what those cultural differences are. Showing the bottom of your shoe, staring too long and speeding through dinner can be offensive to some. Although you may not mean to, you might offend others in your host country with certain clothes, actions or language. When preparing to study abroad find out what taboos you need to avoid on your trip.

Keep it Safe

Know what you’re getting yourself into before you go. Check out the World Health Organization (WHO) for any necessary immunizations and important health and emergency notifications for your host country. Make photocopies of your important documents as back-up and keep these in a safe location along with emergency phone numbers and a calling card (or international cell phone).

It’s in the Bag

As tempting as it may be, don’t wait until the night before or morning of to pack. Research the baggage restrictions for your flight (if flying through multiple airlines on your way make sure you check each) so you know before you start packing what size bag you can use and how heavy it can be. Make a list of everything you want to bring, then cut it down to what you will actually need, and a few non-essential items (such as the second pair of tennis shoes).

Preparing to study abroad is a lot of work, but also part of the fun! Start early so you can soak in every moment and make the entire process as memorable as possible. You will also want to make sure you have adequate health insurance, you can start that search below:

Europe Travel Atlas Travel Student Secure
Policy MaximumPolicy Max. €40,000 to €6 Million $50,000 to $2 Million $200,000 to $1,000,000 max$200k to $1M max
DeductibleDed. €0 up to €2,000 $0 up to $5,000 $25 up to $100
Currency € Euro priced $ USD priced $ USD priced
Premium Starting at €0.54/ day Starting at $0.79/ day Starting at $0.79/ day
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