Preparing for a study abroad program can be exciting, but it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. The number of things to do that you’re responsible for may seem overwhelming at first, but if you start early enough, you should feel confident and self-assured by the time the day comes to leave your home campus behind. We’ve come up with some tips below on things you should remember when preparing for study abroad, but remember that you can’t do enough research before starting your program. Your intended program’s staff of advisors will also be your best sources of information if you have questions specific to your program, so don’t be afraid to ask about anything you don’t know the answer to.
Leaving for a study abroad program isn’t something you do last minute. There are a number of things you need to do before you’re really ready to leave your home state for your adventure – and educational experience – abroad. Here are the most important tasks you’ll be responsible for:
By the time the day comes that you’re leaving for your study abroad program, you should be an expert about your chosen destination. If you do your research, there won’t be many surprises once you get off that plane in your new home for the next several months. Here is a sampling of things you should know before leaving for your program, although the more research you do, the better off you’ll be:
Smart travelers are smart packers. Since you’ll be spending a decent period of time abroad, the pressure is on you to make the tough decisions on what to bring and what to leave behind. Here’s a tip: pack only what you absolutely need. Leave the things you “may” need behind to save space, especially if your program is one that requires a good deal of moving around from location to location. If you’ve done your research, you should have a good idea of the kind of weather to expect while abroad. If you can’t live without electrical appliances like that favorite hair dryer, make sure you know whether you’ll be able to plug it in while abroad. Most countries will have different outlets than you’re used to, so you’ll need to pick up adapters. Better yet, find an inexpensive model while you’re overseas and leave it behind when you’re done with your program abroad.
Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Keep your valuables in a carry-on, along with a change of clothes and toiletries in case your checked luggage is lost for some indefinite period of time. Make sure your luggage is easily identifiable, especially if you have that black roller suitcase most travelers own. Make copies of all of your important documents and prescriptions in case you lose anything abroad. If you’re bringing any electronics, consider taking out insurance policies, or checking into whether your existing policies cover travel abroad.
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