There’s no doubt that studying abroad is a fantastic experience. Not only do you travel to new and exciting places, but you also have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs.
But beyond simply being a fun and exciting adventure, there are also many practical reasons to study abroad. However, many tend to pass on the opportunity to learn overseas because they feel unprepared. So, how can you gear yourself up for an experience like this?
Research your destination.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for studying abroad is research your destination. Learn about the culture and customs of the country you’ll be visiting. Doing so will help you avoid culture shock and make the transition to your new surroundings much smoother.
Especially with today’s technology, it’s pretty easy to find everything you need to know about a place before you even leave home. Take some time to read up on the local customs and make sure you’re aware of social taboos. This way, you can avoid any embarrassing situations while you’re abroad.
Learn the language.
It’s also best to take the time to brush up on your language skills before you go. If you’re planning on studying in a country where English isn’t the primary language, it would be better if you could make an effort to learn some key phrases.
Besides, even if everyone you meet speaks English, knowing a few key phrases in the local language is still valid. It’ll come in handy when you’re trying to order food, hail a taxi, or ask for directions. It will not only make your experience more enjoyable, but it will also show your respect for the culture you’ll be living in.
Another important aspect of studying abroad is being ready financially. Make sure you have enough money to cover your tuition, accommodation, and other expenses. It’s also a good idea to have some extra cash in emergencies.
If you think you’ll have trouble coming up with the funds, many scholarships and financial aid options are available. Do some research and see if you qualify for any of them. Another alternative is to get a part-time job while you’re abroad. This way, you can support and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Get your documents in order.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready before you leave. That includes your passport, student visa, travel insurance, and anything else required by your school or the country you’re visiting.
If you don’t have a passport yet, start the application process as soon as possible. The same goes for your student visa. Getting everything in order can take some time, so it’s best to start early. Avoid any last-minute rushes and stressful situations by being prepared well in advance.
Packing your bags.
Once you have everything else sorted out, it’s time to start packing for your trip. But before you go overboard and fill your entire closet, make sure you check with your school or program about what you need to bring.
You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking, so pack light. And since you’ll be living in a new place, there’s no need to bring everything with you. Just make sure you have the essentials and leave the rest behind.
Don’t forget about your loved ones while away.
A lot of people get homesick when they’re studying abroad. If you think you might miss your family and friends, you can do a few things to stay connected. Keep in touch with them regularly through social media, phone calls, or video chats. And if you can, try to schedule a visit home once in a while.
But what if you’re in a distant country such as Canada? In that case, you can always send them a care package with some of your country’s specialty items. A balikbayan box from Canada to the Philippines can bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces and make them feel closer to you. In doing so, you can share a bit of your new home with them. Not only will they appreciate the thought, but it’ll also help you feel less homesick.
Have realistic expectations.
One of the most important things to do before studying abroad is managing your expectations. It’s important to remember that you’re going to be living in a new place, so things are bound to be different.
You might not love everything about your new home, and that’s okay. There will be good days and bad days. The important thing is to keep an open mind and make the most out of your experience.
Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity to invest in yourself. By preparing ahead of time and making the most of your experience, you can return home a more independent and well-rounded individual. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today.