Are you someone who craves adventure? A semester abroad might just be the perfect opportunity to satiate your wanderlust! But let’s face it, living in a foreign country can be a bit daunting. Almost everything, from learning local customs to struggling with homesickness can be overwhelming.
However, don’t let these worries dampen your excitement. With a well though-out preparation and some insider tips, you can set yourself up for a brilliant journey. In this article, we’ll take you on a delightful trip around the world to explore all aspects of studying abroad. From packing like a pro to staying on budget, we’ve got your back.
Study the Laws of Your New Country
If you’re moving abroad for the semester, you better study more of the new country’s laws before heading there. Typically, you will need to brush up on the nitty-gritty details of your chosen country’s laws and regulations like you’re preparing for the bar exam.
Here are some things to remember when studying the laws of your new country:
- Do your research: Regulations and laws vary widely between countries, so it’s critical to know the rules of the game.
- Contact the embassy or consulate: These people are too strict in your new country. Ask them about visas, permits, vaccines, taxes, and all that other fun stuff.
- Watch out for import taxes: Nobody likes paying extra fees, especially on high-value items. Keep this in mind when shipping overseas.
- File all applications in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for those permits or visas. Give yourself plenty of time to process everything.
Make Sure Your Living Condition is in Order
Having your living arrangements in order is key to a smooth transition. Here are some things to consider about your living situation:
- Research on housing options: Check online, ask study abroad coordinators, or contact your new university.
- Check out the location: You’ll want to be near transportation, shops, and other amenities. If you can’t find a place nearby, plan a longer commute.
- Stay on budget: Plan ahead to avoid financial surprises. Plan for utilities, rent or housing fees, transportation, and heating.
- Roommates can be great for saving money and making friends: Establish some ground rules on cleaning schedules, shared expenses, and visitors before moving in together.
Get Your Documents Ready
We know you’re too excited to pack your bags and head to the airport. But before you make that trip, confirm that your passport is valid and check if you need a visa. Gather academic documents like transcripts and healthcare proof, and documentation for housing and transportation arrangements. Don’t forget to pack personal documents like birth certificates and insurance information.
One crucial thing that may slip your mind is the local currency. Even if you plan to use your U.S. credit or debit card, have some local currency on hand. You may stumble upon a local market with delicious food or a unique souvenir. Don’t miss out on the chance to fully immerse yourself in the culture due to the lack of local currency. Exchanging your money is easy, at a kiosk in the airport or visit your local bank at home before departure.
Avoid Going Above the Allowed Maximum Weight
Avoid traveling over the allowed maximum weight limit for your luggage. Overweight bags on international flights can really dampen your semester abroad and break the bank. Therefore, take the time to pack smartly and only bring the essentials. Plan out what you need – clothes, books, sports kits. And before you head out the door, weigh your luggage.
Avoid Restricted Items
Restricted items are goods that are prohibited by the laws of the country you are moving to. These items include drugs, firearms, and certain food products. Do not bring any of these items with you when relocating abroad as this can lead to severe consequences such as fines, imprisonment, or even deportation.
Apart from the legal implications of bringing restricted items, it’s also imperative to consider the potential harm they can cause. For example, certain food items can introduce foreign organisms to the environment, leading to ecological and agricultural issues.
Moving abroad for the semester is an excellent way to meet new people, experience other cultures, and broaden your academic status. While it can be daunting due to unfamiliar surroundings, embrace the culture. Learning how to live independently and adapt to different cultures is part of the growth process; not just academically but personally as well.
By Katherine Robinson, a writer for Allied Van Lines Canada