Studying Abroad? The Ultimate Guide

Studying Abroad? The Ultimate Guide

5th March, 2015

Many people decide to further their education abroad. Whether it is to take advantage of a better education or to enjoy a new adventure, there are lots of benefits associated with studying abroad. This is undoubtedly an exciting yet nerve-wracking period in anyone’s life. Nonetheless, the key to making sure everything goes as smoothly as possible is to be prepared and plan effectively. That is what this post is going to help you with. Read on to discover a wealth of tips and pieces of advice that are ideal for anyone that is planning on studying abroad in the near future.

Sort out student accommodation

This is one of the first things you will need to do. Hopefully you have chosen a university that has campus accommodation. You will be able to get in touch with the education institution and sort out your accommodation this way. Nonetheless, make sure you follow the proper procedure and put in your application as quickly as possible. There will only be a limited number of places. If you miss the deadline, you will then have to sort out your own accommodation yourself, which can be much more difficult, especially from another country. Typically after your first year of university you will then move off campus and find your own accommodation. By this time you will have met people and thus you can look for a shared place together. There will be plenty of help at the university.

Make photocopies of everything before you leave

From your passport, to your itinerary, to your birth certificate, to your confirmation of study… make photocopies before you leave. It is also advisable to scan all of these documents and send them to Google documents or any other equivalent website you use. You will need these sorts of documents to open bank accounts and such like and you certainly don’t want to hand over the real ones.

Take an international health insurance plan

One mistake a lot of students make is going abroad and expecting the healthcare system to be the same as it is in their home country. Firstly, there is no guarantee that you will even have access to the public healthcare system in your new country. It of course depends on where you are moving. However, even if you do have access, it is unlikely that the health care will be of a similar standard to what you are used to. Instead, to avoid the headache and any potential problems it is better to take out an international medical insurance plan. By doing this you will have access to the best facilities, doctors and hospitals, no matter where in the world you are. If anything happens you know you are in safe hands. A lot of students ignore this point, as we all tend to have the ‘it won’t happen to me attitude’, especially if you are young and healthy. However, anyone can get ill or injured at any time, and you certainly do not want to take any risks. Moreover, not only will global health insurance protect your well being, but your finances as well.

Avoid travelling home at the first opportunity

As soon as half term/reading week/study week (or whatever they call it at your university) comes about, it can be very tempting to book a flight home. Of course you are going to miss your family and friends. However, if you can hold off, it is advisable not to travel back so quickly, as this can make you feel unsettled. Wait until you feel completely comfortable in your new country before visiting your home country.

Join forums/social media groups/websites

One of the great things about the modern day is you can get to know people without meeting them. Lots of universities have Facebook groups, Twitter pages and such like. You will find Facebook groups for specific classes as well, such as “ Year 2 Business Studies at College ‘A’ “. This gives you the chance to get to know other people that are going to be on your course, which will make things a lot easier. You can also look for forums and websites for expats. There may be a community of expats from your home country in your new location. It is certainly worth checking all of this out. You would be surprised at how you can effectively set up your life before moving there.

Budget effectively

Being a student can be very expensive. It is vital to budget effectively before you move. Try and work out how much money you are going to need each month, taking into account rent and living expenses, whilst leaving yourself some cash for socialising as well. You will probably need to find a part time job. Most students cannot rely on their loans and/or grants, if they have them. If you are moving to a location that is considered a student town then it is a good idea to move to the area a few weeks or even months before university begins. Why? You will have a better chance of securing a job. If you arrive a week or two before university kicks in, as most people will do, then you will be competing against many more people and it is likely that the majority of jobs will have already been taken.

Open a local bank account

Don’t make the mistake of simply using your home debit or credit card once you move to your new location. Not only will you be subject to exchange rates, but you will also be charged for using your card in another country. This can lead to huge costs. Instead, you should open a local bank account. You may even be able to open a student account, which will have benefits, such as an interest free overdraft. This is not guaranteed of course. It all depends on the country you are moving to and the bank you select. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth checking this out, as there are lots of perks available to students.

Don’t let the bad days get you down

Last but not least, you are going to have bad days. Have you had down days in your home country? Of course, everyone has them! So you will certainly experience them in your new location, no matter how great it is. The only trouble is that when you have moved somewhere new it is easy to blame your new home for the way you are feeling. Try not to look at it in this way and don’t let the bad days get you down. You are exploring a new chapter in your life – a fun and fulfilling one to say the least.

All in all, from acquiring global medical insurance to budgeting effectively, there is a lot to take into account if you are planning on studying abroad. Hopefully this post will have given you some great tips to help your move go as smoothly as possible.

Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

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