Preparing for Studying Abroad

Before settling down in an Italian cafeteria with a slice of pizza and a cappuccino for some post-lecture unwinding, it is important that you are well-prepared for your studies overseas. By ensuring you have covered all bases, you are increasing the chances of a smooth-running experience, allowing you to enjoy your education, the culture, and the sunshine.

Although you should enjoy spending time with your friends and family in the UK before jetting off to learn abroad, you should also ensure that you have considered the practicalities for living abroad. Researching into the area you will come to call home during your studies can also help to familiarise yourself with the culture you will immerse yourself in.

If the programme you have applied for is based outside of the EU, you will likely require a visa, responsibility for obtaining which will be yours. The institution you have applied for study with may be able to advise you on the application process, however the government website for the relevant country will provide the necessary information needed to apply for the visa. Completing this aspect of your preparation should be done months in advance as the process can be time-consuming. Similarly, you should ensure that your passport hasn’t expired, nor will be expiring during your study. As with your visa application, applying to renew your passport should be done long in advance of your intended departure, as they can take around six weeks to receive, however the length of the process is likely to vary in regards to the busy periods of the calendar.

It may be easy to overlook packing as part of your preparation, and leave this until the last minute. However, listing the items you are likely to need at an early stage can help to ensure you don’t face a last minute rush to the shops for raincoats or sandals (just to cover both ends of the weather spectrum). Also, you may have planned on just throwing your clothes into a suitcase, without accounting for different climates. As such, you may need to purchase some more lightweight garments. It is well worth researching into what other items you are advised to take with you, which may be relevant to the country in which you will be studying.

What to remember before you go

You should inform your bank as to your plans on studying abroad, to ensure that your bank card will still be useable. They may also be able to advise you about certain international schemes they run which can ease your monetary issues whilst abroad.

Taking out travel insurance which includes health and accident policies is also vital to ensuring you are well covered whilst abroad, and you should also ensure you have enough prescription medication, if you have any conditions which require it. Depending on the country where you will be studying, you may need to have certain vaccinations. You should also obtain a copy of your medical records.

Many students who study abroad also purchase a cheap phone with a roaming tariff, to take abroad with them. Shopping around to see which tariffs offer the best value for calls within the country of study, and to the UK, is therefore important to let your friends and family know how much fun you’re having!