Studying abroad during your college years can be a magnificent way to travel, live internationally and earn credits toward your degree. It’s an opportunity to experience stunning sights, long-standing traditions, exhilarating excursions and to develop unique friendships.
Of course, embarking on a temporary international move requires thoughtful research and planning. Here’s some advice to assist you in preparing for your exciting voyage.
The total cost of moving abroad for a semester may be more than you might think. With that said, it’s wise to plan well in advance and create a detailed spreadsheet of all of the estimated costs involved. Additionally, you may want to consider applying for a special grant or any scholarships offers for students studying abroad. For example, programs like SIT Study Abroad award nearly 80 percent of their applicants with a scholarship or grant. Take the time to speak with on-campus advisors from the study abroad programs and the financial aid office to uncover any funding opportunities.
If you’re traveling to a country where English is not the primary language, consider enrolling in a university-level language course before you leave. While in your host country, try to interact with the locals as much as possible. You’ll be surprised how rapidly your foreign language skills improve, and some of the locals will undoubtedly appreciate your efforts to speak in their native tongue.
Now, to find a place to store all your stuff while you’re gone. Unfortunately, not all universities offer temporary storage options for students. So it’s your job to figure it out. One possibility would be to store your items in your parent’s home or their self-storage facility, and then bring them back campus when you return. Another option would be to use the services of a company like Collegeboxes, which specializes in study abroad storage and shipping; the service sends you boxes and packaging supplies, and then picks them up, stores them and re-delivers them when you return.
Not too long ago, students that studied abroad had to rely on translation books and travel guides to make their way around. Now, you can travel with a lightweight all-in-one resource that resides neatly in your pocket—your smartphone. Before you step foot on the plane, download any apps (applications) that might be of assistance during your international exploration. For example, you might consider using apps to assist with translation, currency exchange rates, public transit systems, Wi-Fi locations, video chat, general navigation and even emergency services locations.
Studying abroad while in college can be a rich and unique life experience. Once you commit to taking the leap, make sure to devote some time to thoroughly research and plan so you can make a smooth transition from college in the United States to one in an international destination. Then, commit to study diligently, see as much as you can, and enjoy each day at your new home away from home.
Have you ever studied abroad? What tips helped you prepare for your journey most? Let us know below in a comment.