Daily Life Tips

What To Know as a First Time Student Abroad

by on 2016-08-18 16:27:24

Do you have a dream to go abroad? Study or travel? Work or marry someone there? This whole thing can't be all that difficult, right? You've got eager advisors full of answers, brochures and descriptions up the wazoo,  and although in your head you can logically say "I got this," there is still a tiny voice in the back of it saying, "But do you really?" Truth be told, there is a lot that goes into an international adventure. But don't worry, we've got your back.

1. You need the right documentation

Studying abroad means traveling to another country; wahoo! In order to do this, you will need a brand new kind of identification, a passport. Passports can take a few weeks to process, so it is best to coordinate as early on as possible. You may also be required to have a visa for studying abroad; this all depends on the country you are headed to. We recommend checking in with your advisor to make sure you know exactly what you need, and making digital and physical copies of both your passport and visa.


2. Plane tickets are best purchased three months in advance

Your mom or grandma might try to get you to purchase your ticket six or more months in advance, but while they are giving you the gift of peace of mind, it is actually costing them a great deal more than necessary. Actually, the most ideal time to purchase your ticket is in the three month range prior to your departure, as this is when the price is typically the lowest. Your plane ride will be a great start to the adventure. You can choose a window or aisle seat, you might get your own personal TV screen for a movie marathon, and the food isn't as bad as it once was. Enjoy!


3. Consciously protect your valuables

You will likely be traveling with a few of your most prized possessions, maybe your laptop, your smartphone, your iPod, your passport, some nice jewelry, or money. It is essential that you actively make an effort to keep track of your belongings.

While theft isn’t necessarily a great risk abroad than at home, you will likely be more distracted (due to all of the awesome fun you are having!). Before you leave your dorm, apartment, or homestay, place your money in a money belt or in various places on your persons. Lock up any possessions you leave behind!


4. Cultural Shock

Studying abroad comes with some responsibility on the student's part. As you will be living and functioning within another culture, it is important that you keep in mind the local cultural norms. This might influence the way you dress, the way you speak, and the way you interact with the locals. It is important for travelers to practice sensitivity throughout their journeys, as your behavior may otherwise offend others unnecessarily or bring a bad name upon all travelers. A great first step in showcasing your interest in the local culture is to pick up some simple phrases (or more) in the local language. You'll be surprised and pleased with the pleasant response to your Chinese greeting versus a casual "hello."



It's REAL! Jetlag is a blanket term to describe when you're tired after a longhaul flight (Feeling tired? More like a zombie). As your body adjusts to your epic time travel, you will find it difficult to adjust to a new time zone. It can take up to one or two weeks to fully settle into a new time zone, so be patient as your body adapts. Avoid taking naps, and embrace your inevitable early bedtimes or early risings.


Now that you have this entire article memorized, you will enjoy a 100% smooth, challenge-free, and easy-going experience abroad...NOT.

Traveling, by nature, entails some incidents and chaos. There might be missed connections, unexpected last-minute changes to the plan, or other sudden roadblocks. If you learn to roll with the punches and laugh a little, your study abroad experience won't just be for fun's sake; you'll also learn a ton and grow as a person significantly (which bodes really well for your future!).

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