Studying abroad is one of the most exciting decisions a college student can make. Spending an entire semester overseas is a major step in a student’s life that is sure to come along with some stress, anxiety, and worry, in addition to all of the excitement. Although preparing for your semester abroad can seem daunting, doing so thoroughly is the key to having a successful trip and to making the most of your time outside of the country. No matter where you’re headed for the semester, here are a few tips to help you prepare.
- Get Documentation In Order
The logistics of traveling overseas especially for an extended period of time can be confusing. Among several documents you will need is perhaps the most important – your passport. If you don’t have a valid passport, it is important to get one as soon as possible, since the process can take several weeks and will only get more expensive the longer you wait. Also be sure that your student documentation is up to date, and that you have all of the paperwork necessary from your school in order to begin your new semester abroad.
- Contact Your Bank
Few situations are more stressful to imagine than your credit or debit card declining while you are alone in a new country because your bank has flagged international charges as fraud. Warn your banks in the months prior to your departure overseas and review your options for ensuring that payments will go smoothly while you are overseas.
- Get a Phone Plan
It is likely that your current cell phone plan will not work once you are overseas. If you want to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and update your social media pages while overseas without the constant use of WiFi, you might look into purchasing an international phone plan. These can be relatively cheap and can last the duration of your trip, but be sure to inquire about it before you leave the country as doing so abroad could be more difficult.
- Make a Plan for Emergencies
When you’re in a foreign country, you likely won’t have constant contact with your loved ones – this means no more asking your mom every important question that arises such as “do bunions come back after surgery?” Find an emergency contact both in your home country and in the country in which you are staying and make a plan to utilize should you have any medical questions or emergencies.
- Find the Best Housing Option
Some students who spend time abroad opt to live in university housing similar to a dorm or apartment that American students would live in, whereas some opt to live with a host family. Both have pros and cons, so do your research well in advance and determine which option is the best for