Preparing for Abroad: Everything You Need To Know

Studying abroad is one of the most exciting times of not only your college career, but your life. You know that you are going to do so many great things, and have so many new experiences. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, preparing to study abroad can sometimes be overwhelming. There’s so many things that you need to do to make sure that you are ready to go, and you definitely don’t want to forget anything. Here is a short list of some of the basics that you should make sure are in check before you go abroad:

 

1. Visa and Passport: Most countries require long stay international visitors to have a visa, certifying that they are allowed to stay in the country for that long. You will want to check with your study abroad office and make sure you apply for the visa correctly. Most places in Europe have student visas that allow students to reside in the country for up to six months. You will also need to make sure that your passport is up to date and ready for travel, as most of them expire every ten years. These are two of the most important things that you will need to go abroad!

2. Phone Plan: You are definitely going to want to check and make sure that you will be able to have consistent communication when you are abroad. Most phone companies have international plans, or you can get a new phone over there. WhatsApp will also be your best friend. It’s the no-fee, no data plan that will allow you to text and call internationally to your friends and family back home!

3. Medications: Chances are, most of your insurance and medications will not be covered or available in the country you’re going to. The best and easiest thing that you can do is call your pharmacy and insurance company to get multiple supplies of your medication so that you won’t run out while you’re over there.

4. Money: You will for sure want to have some cash just in case when you get to wherever you’re going. DO NOT convert money at the airport- most of the time you will get ripped off. Instead, go to your bank or contact your financial insurance and get money converted for a much cheaper rate. It is also a good idea to inform your bank of your travel plans anyways, so that when you try to take money out of an ATM while abroad, they won’t detect fraud. 

5. Pack: You will probably have a limited amount of luggage that you can bring on your flight. It won’t be like packing for school over here where you basically bring your whole life with you. It can seem overwhelming, feeling like you need so much but have a limit. The best advice I can give is to bring one really big suitcase, and maybe a backpack. Pack a variety of clothing, as you never know what the weather will be like over there, and it’s better to be prepared. You will be surprised by how little you can live off of for a long period of time.