What’s Needed for Studying Abroad?
So, the big day has finally arrived and you’re about to jet off to start your new life as a student overseas. Before you run out of the door and leap into a waiting taxi, we’ve decided to knock up a list of everything you could possibly need during your time overseas.
- A visa – No, not the credit card – an entry visa for the country that you’re studying in. Hopefully your visa will have been addressed a long time ago because they can be slow to come through. Obtaining a visa is essential if you’re planning on studying in a country that requires them. Remember you won’t need a visa when studying in Europe, but you will need the appropriate visa if you’re hoping to study in countries like America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand – and so on. Visas aren’t always free either – and in a lot of cases you’ll be required to attend the country in question’s embassy in order to under-go an interview. Make sure you plan well in advance when it comes to obtaining a visa because the process is long and drawn out! Remember to get a student visa – because a holiday or visiting visa may not permit you to study in the country you’re hoping to go to. This is one of the most important things you’ll need before studying overseas.
- Passport – Without a passport you’ll not even get out of the country so make sure you don’t forget it. Keep it safe on an inside pocket of your jacket, or in your hand bag. Forget your passport and you can forget about catching a flight.
- Travel tickets – Whether you’re travelling by train or plane – if you leave your tickets back at home you won’t get very far at all. Check, double check and then triple check you’ve not forgotten your travel tickets!
- Insurance – Student insurance is something we like to bang on about a lot, but it’s even more important when you study overseas. It’s not just your belongings and accommodation that need to be insured – it’s you, yourself! Remember most countries around the globe have no answer to the NHS – in those countries you’re liable to pay for your own healthcare. Even something as small as a broken arm can end up costing you hundreds of pounds in medic al bills. It’s really, really important that you take our adequate insurance policies when you get to your university. Obviously health insurance is very important, but things like contents insurance are also important – as is car insurance if you plan on driving during your studies.
- Accommodation – There’s nothing worse than sitting on a plane wondering where you’re going to sleep when you step off it (believe me, I’ve done it!). It’s all about being sensible and planning things when you go to study overseas. Make sure you line up a nice student house to live in, or enrol yourself in the university’s halls (if they have them). When backpacking around the world it’s perfectly fine to leave things to the last minute and sleep on the streets – but when you’re facing several years of study you need to know you’ve definitely got accommodation in order to settle yourself.
- Money – Without money you can’t buy life’s essentials like food, clothes, books and so on. Without money you can’t afford to pay the bills that will inevitably come your way, too. Make sure you have money and plenty of it when you go to study overseas. Remember you’re likely to be a very long way from home – so it’s not a case of popping into your Grandma’s and borrowing a tenner if you need it! Although we’re big sticklers for students avoiding credit cards, if you are studying abroad it’s definitely an idea to take one with you, just in case! That doesn’t mean you should go on a spending spree for presents for people back home, though.
- Clothes – You don’t want to be walking about university naked – so make sure you take a good selection of clothes with you. Don’t forget underpants, sock and shoes, too! You can always buy some when you arrive, but make sure you do take a little selection to keep you going before you get a chance to go shopping.
- Numbers of friends and family – When you’re abroad things will probably get a little lonely. It can be hard to make friends at first at university, especially when you’re in a foreign country. It’s important that you take a list of numbers and email addresses for your friends and family back home, so you can call them up and have a moan when you’re feeling down or lonely. It’s all well and good taking numbers on your phone, but if you lose your phone you’ve lost the numbers too! Try and write them down in an address book so you’ve got a hard copy.
- Travel plugs – In the grand scheme of things travel plugs seem pretty unimportant. Take it from me though that there’s nothing worse than not being able to charge your laptop or phone for a few days when you arrive overseas because you forgot travel plugs. They’re pretty hard to pick up when abroad – so make sure you pick up travel plugs and pack them in your suitcase before you go.
- Your teddy bear – Obviously you’re going to need a couple of home comforts when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. What better thing to take than a teddy bear? If that’s not up your street you can always take an Xbox or your favourite book instead – it’s completely up to you!
If you think there’s anything we should add to this list just leave a comment below and let us know! If you are studying abroad make sure you have a fantastic time – and make sure you make the most of it. Studying overseas will bring with it many opportunities, and it’ll also look fantastic on your CV when you finally get round to applying for jobs.