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Five Things No One Tells You When You Are Planning To Go Abroad

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Some of your friends might be abroad or you are planning to go abroad- there is so much that goes into a semester abroad no matter what your own duration is. You might know the basics like it is going to be expensive depending on the program (mine is the most expensive program in the nation) or where you might be living (a house or a dorm or a host family). Well, I have been planning to go abroad since January 2021, and let me tell you: I am four months away from leaving and there is still so much I don’t know. Here are the top five things I learned when planning my adventure.

  1. You can get accepted or denied all at once.

Okay, this might be a shocker, because it was for me when I started applying to my program. For starters, most programs have one application just for the program, and then one application just through CU to make sure that you meet all the requirements through the school.  This means you could get accepted into the program and then be fully denied from the school and vice versa. So before you apply, make sure you meet every requirement so that you can get approved for both.

  1. So many medical forms.
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Now if you have done your research, then you know that going abroad can be a pretty penny. One thing that no one really knows about is all the medical fees that come with going to another country. Most of the shots and forms and appointments that you need are not covered by insurance. I went to the travel clinic and they explained why I need each of these shots. I was like “Okay great, load me up, I do not want to get sick when I am abroad.” Then I learned most, if not all, are not covered by insurance.  One of the shots that I need is rabies and that requires two vaccines. It is $312 per shot, and another required shot is $192. I did the math and the total amount out of pocket I will be paying just for shots is $902. So when you are getting ready, remember that you have to include medical pricing into your funding.

  1. There is more to do than just schoolwork.

I did not really think about what I would be doing outside of school for my semester abroad until right now. I was so focused on the school aspect that I completely forgot about the social aspect of doing a semester abroad. For my program I can either do field programs that are put together through the school or independent travel; each costs money and planning. I think I was so focused on the school part because that is what CU is focusing on. It is up to you to see what there is to do in the country that you are in. That is where a little site called Pinterest comes in handy because there are a ton of websites that tell you about the country you are in. As I am getting closer to departing, I finished the school aspect of planning – now it is time for the social part.

4. Courses (they have to get approved).

If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner, and when it comes to classes you scope them out months ahead.  This is the fun stage of planning when you go abroad: getting all the courses that you need to be approved even before you pay your final bill. But I will be honest, it is a long process. If you go to the CU education abroad website, then you can look at the classes that are offered. They might not be already approved by CU so you could find some very interesting classes, and they may or may not get approved by CU for your degree. One of my classes is an  Oceanography class that I got approved for science credit. If I need one more science credit, why not take it while I am on a ship for my semester abroad?

5. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

This is the main thing that no one tells you about. You are living and learning abroad, and for the most part living your best life in a whole different country, but while you’re doing that, your friends back home are also living their best life and creating memories without you. It is something I realized right now and I am happy about everything, but I am also scared about not being there with them. Yes, I will be seeing pictures of them and they will be seeing me living my best life as well. But these are the core memories of my college life – no one is going to have the same experience as you and that is something that you have to remember.

My journey is almost here and these were the things that I wished someone would have mentioned before I started planning to go abroad less than a year ago. I would still be going abroad, but maybe more prepared, not with three months left, and still not sure what I need to get done. I hope you stay with me for this journey that I am about to embark on.

Kennedy Pickering

CU Boulder '24

Kennedy is a Junior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Women and Gender Studies, as well as Sports Media. I love to write about my life, and the nerdy hobbies that have taken a hold of my life, but I mainly love to write about different versions of feminism as well as my life as a Black student that attends a PWI. When I am not writing you can find me binge-reading the new young adult romance novel, all the movies in the Harry Potter series, rewatching Disney classics from TV shows to movies.
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