Know Before You Go: 6 Things to Do Before You Study Abroad

In your imagination, studying abroad is a time to explore a new culture and learn new things about yourself. And that’s exactly what it is! But coordinating a study abroad experience requires considerable time and resources, as well. Working with your college or university to create the study abroad experience you need is essential. Getting tasks done before you leave home saves stress and heartache later on.

tips to do before going abroad to study in a foreign country - Student Life Guide

Get Your Student Visa

In most countries, it’s illegal to study at a university without holding a valid student visa. This applies to students spending one or more semesters at a foreign university as well as those abroad for only a summer. Discuss your visa requirements with study abroad coordinators at your school, and consult the embassy in your target country for more information. Although the NAFSA Association for International Educators reports that some countries take just a few days to process visa requests, others require months of advanced notice.

Get Vaccinated

If you’re studying abroad in South America or Africa, some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before you may enter their land, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other cases, anti-malarial medications or vaccinations for hepatitis A or B, typhoid fever or rabies may be appropriate. Consult your doctor at least eight weeks before traveling to ensure you get appropriate protection.

Register with the State Department

When enjoying life abroad, you may be cut off from news sources in the U.S. Registering with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Program gives you critical updates in case of an emergency. This also provides an easy way to get travel levitra order generic updates or alerts. If you ever need to visit the U.S. embassy in your city, being registered in the Smart Traveler program may expedite the process.

Keep Your Identity Safe

In 2011, 8.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft, reports the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. Individuals traveling or residing abroad are at increased risk of identity theft, because many thieves target foreigners. Before leaving home, consider your financial situation and bring back-up cards to use in case an account is compromised. Using an identity protection service is an affordable way to ensure that your private information stays safe, according to Lifelock’s Twitter page.

Find Gifts for Your Host Family

If you’re planning a home stay during any part of your study abroad experience, bringing a gift from your home is a nice gesture. Think of small, inexpensive gifts that convey a piece of your regional culture. For example, someone from Manhattan might bring an “I heart New York” shirt, while a Seattle-ite could give a bag of locally roasted coffee beans.

Invest in a Good Travel Guide

There’s nothing worse than landing in a foreign country, only to learn that your travel guide is out-of-date or has inaccurate maps. Before you leave, look for a comprehensive travel guide that covers your new home country. Check reviews online and consult with other students who have traveled there to learn what they recommend. Using a travel guide to understand basic customs such as how much to tip, how public transportation works, and common greetings makes life in your new country go much more smoothly.

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