STUDY ABROAD STARTERS KIT: PREPARE TO EXPLORE A NEW WORLD
Hi Guys!!! It’s another Thursday and we want to say a very big thank you to everyone for following our blog.
Hurray!!! Your visa has been approved and all you need to do now is prepare to start a life abroad. This comes with a mix of different emotions, but I’ll put it best in the great words of Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother, you are going to be having “Graduation Googles”
For those of you who don’t know, graduation googles is simply when one experiences nostalgia for the years of high school as graduation approaches. In your scenario, it is simply when you experience nostalgia for the years of living in your country as the time to leave to study abroad approaches.
Don’t worry, this post will make sure you are equipped enough to get past the graduation googles phase and face (no pun intended) the new adventurous life ahead.
Without further ado, lets dive straight into the 10 tips we have to make this transition as smooth as possible.
- Prepare Yourself Mentally – While goodbye’s can be tough, they are a necessary part of this journey. And just think of all the excitement you have yet to come! Expect the unexpected! While studying abroad you will encounter people with different concepts of life and personal space. Be ready to learn and observe these differences without being judgmental. It will be these very same differences that will undoubtedly enrich your understanding of your own culture.
- Research Your Destination’s Local Customs, Culture, and People – Take some time to familiarize yourself with your study abroad country. By knowing even briefly your soon-to-be home’s culture, history, geography, economy, government, people — everything! Your study abroad experience will be enriched and your time spent more meaningful.
Talk to others who have studied or been there and seek opportunities to watch movies and read more about the country and its culture. Additionally, it would help to avoid those offensive foreigner-follies (such as pointing with your fingers or using politically incorrect words )
- Money – There are a few steps to take in regard to finances before heading off:
- Set up an online account – If you don’t already have an online bank account, set one up immediately. It’s the easiest way to manage your money while abroad. Most international travellers use their ATM/debit or credit cards to get cash in the local currency.
- Tell your bank you’ll be abroad – You’ll need to notify your current bank about your plans to study abroad. Otherwise, you risk getting locked out of your account while abroad
- Pack some extra cash – For those first few days, I recommend carrying between the equivalence of $100-$200 in the currency of your host country. Those days may be busy, but finding an ATM or bank should be relatively easy. If you are unable to obtain the currency at home, the airport is a great option to withdraw cash at an ATM right as you arrive.
- Start Packing! – Two words: pack light! Be sure to double check with your airline to learn their luggage allowances to avoid fees. Some other useful packing tips include:
- Bring travel sized toiletries to get through your first two weeks and stock up once you arrive.
- Plan to buy a cheap towel / sheets on arrival instead of wasting space on that.
- Stick to 3 pairs of shoes — 4 if you must.
- Bring power adapters for your electronics.
- Ladies, leave the blow dryer / flat iron at home. The voltage differences in most countries (including most of Europe) will fry them. Get a cheap one in the country and leave your nice stuff at home.
- Bring a few momentos of home to help with homesickness.
- If you wear glasses or contact lenses, be sure bring extra pairs with you.
- Ask your study abroad program for a suggested packing list, and keep in mind that many of the items you may want to bring will be available overseas.
- Consider taking a journal or notebook to reflect and write about your study abroad experience. Small souvenirs from your life back home also make great gifts for new friends or host families.
- Download Apps to your mobile device to help you adjust to your new country – No!!! I don’t mean there is an app that does this literally, rather I mean download apps that will help you navigate your new city, keep in touch with your friends and family (home and in your new city), learn about your city etc. In light of this, here are the top 10 apps I recommend personally
- WhatsApp – Catch up with friends and family wherever they are with this handy messaging app. It’s also useful for projects or group presentations as you can create group chats and organise meet-ups.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Viber – Make calls to anyone anywhere in the world with Viber, as long as the recipient has the application on their phone. It is similar to Skype, but without the video, although you can send video messages and text as well.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Skyscanner – Plan your next trip home (or adventure to another country) and find the cheapest flights using the handy search results display, which allows you to view prices by day, week, month or even a whole year. It also directs you to the cheapest company for each flight when booking.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- XE currency converter – Know just how far your money is going with this currency converter, which stores the latest rates to give an accurate figure when you’re not connected to WIFI or 3G. It also comes in a selection of different languages, which could come in handy.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Moneywise – This allows you to keep track of your everyday expenses, which you can browse and filter by date, type or account. You can also view graphs to see if you’re sticking to your budget. If you have an iPhone, there are apps like Ontrees or Mint (also free) which do a similar job.Free and available on Android
- Google Translate – Despite its humorous and often too literal translations this application can be useful when you can’t remember something and want a quick translation for a specific word.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- BBC weather – You never know how unpredictable the weather on this tiny island can be, so don’t be caught out by a sudden drop in temperature or rain shower. You can also see what the weather is like at home, as the app allows you to have several locations available at the flick of your thumb.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Voucher cloud – Never pay full price again with. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to eat, something to do or you need a new laptop, find all the latest discounts on Vouchercloud. It also comes in an array of different languages.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Uber – While Uber may have had a bit of controversy in the last year, the company is going strong in many cities all over the world. Check to see if your city uses Uber and download the app to quickly catch a cab anywhere. One of the best features? You can pay by credit card and enter your destination in advance — which is wonderful if you’re trying to explain where you’re going without a common language.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
- Instagram – What would our lives be without Instagram? With this app you can edit your photos with the perfect filter, #hashtag them to perfection and make all of your friends back home jealous of your Eiffel Tower or Great Wall selfies.It is Free and available on iPhone and Android
Let us know if this blog post has been informative enough, and if you have any other ideas or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.
Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to share