If you’re a student wanting to study abroad, there are several things you need to know before leaving. From learning more about the culture to understanding basic laws, there are things you can do to prevent some of the most common faux pas. Read on to learn some of the most important things you should do before you land.
Familiarize Yourself with the Laws
Once you’ve decided to study abroad, you need to research and learn as much as you can about the country’s laws. Every country has its own set of rules, so it’s important that you know what to expect once you arrive. That last thing you need is to be arrested for doing something you didn’t even know was illegal. If you’re not sure where to start, look up the country’s rules when it comes to drinking, smoking, and driving.
Also, make sure you understand how long you’re allowed to stay without a visa. In most cases, you can only stay for 90 days without a visa. If you want to study for a longer period, you’ll need to apply for a study visa at your state’s consulate. In addition, if you’re going to be earning a degree abroad, you also need to make sure you have enough money to cover the entire time you’ll be in school. Utilizing Earnest private student loans are a great option, especially for students wanting to study abroad. You can use the loan to cover the cost of tuition, housing, and anything else you may need. Just be sure your credit is free of any errors, since you do need to have relatively good credit to be approved.
Learn The Language
Unless you plan on going somewhere that speaks mostly English, you should learn the language prior to arrival. It only takes a few months to be at an A2 level in most languages, so as soon as you finalize your plans, you need to hit the books. Learn some of the most important survival phrases, how to ask for directions and most importantly, how to ask for help if needed. If you have an underlying medical condition, you also need to know how to describe it in the foreign language as well.
Look for Local Meetups
If you’re attending a university, look for local meetups where you can meet people. Living abroad is exciting, however, it can also get lonely when you don’t know anyone. If it’s an American university based overseas, it probably won’t be hard to find people to connect with. If it’s a local learning institution, you can still look for meetups on campus or for ones being held around town.
Research the Local Area
Even if you’ve visited the country before, it’s still a good idea to research the area and learn as much as you can. Being a tourist is far different than living like a local. You need to know how to navigate public transportation, buy groceries and even find the closest hospital. You should also try to find out if there are any areas that you need to avoid.
Make Sure the School is a Good Fit
It might sound odd, but choosing the right college also needs to be the right fit. Just because it offers a program you want to study doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. Make sure the degree will be accepted in your home country before applying. Also, you want to make a list of questions before you meet with an advisor. Be sure to inquire about the total cost of tuition, housing options, what steps are taken in the event of an emergency and what you should do if you just aren’t happy with the educational program. It’s always better to find out the school isn’t a match before investing time and money.
Living Aboard is Not Like Living at Home
You probably don’t even think about all the conveniences you have daily. From being able to run to the pharmacy late at night to being able to have packages delivered to your front door, these things are just a part of your daily life. The thing is, living abroad might not offer these same conveniences. Stores might have different operating hours, and you might have to go to the local pick-up point to receive deliveries.