Traveling – Studying abroad can be an exciting feeling and nerve-wracking at the same time. Study abroad is a life-transformational experience where you need to leave your comfort zone and experience a new culture at a new place. Adjusting to new weather, food, lifestyle, study space, etc., can be a little daunting.
There are many things a student needs to keep in mind while study abroad, but these six things are basic requirements every student should keep in mind before traveling.
Researching about the study abroad destination should be the first step. By leveraging advanced technology, you can search about the place in-depth. Even though certain colleges and universities have a dedicated department to guide international students, it is better to stay ahead and know things before moving to a foreign land.
Also, many Facebook/Instagram/Discord groups of college or university students can help you with your requirements; it is a good idea to be well prepared in advance.
One of the most basic and critical points to do in research is the weather of the city/country you are moving to study abroad. It would be best if you prepared everything in advance. Harsh winter weather demands good warm clothes. Heavy rain weather needs good pair of gumboots, raincoat, and umbrella. Summer needs light cotton clothes.
It is essential to know at least basic distances such as the airport to your accommodation/hostel, the university, embassy, and nearby areas in the city you are traveling for study abroad.
- Nearby areas
Your first 4 to 5 weeks will be tough to adjust to a new city in a foreign land. You should know about nearby areas such as cafes, grocery stores, vegetable markets, laundromats, bikes or cars on rent, gas stations, etc.
- Foreign Exchange
Even though you will be carrying cash with you and probably the international debit card until you get your bank account in a foreign land, you need to keep the address and contact numbers of foreign exchanges handy.
- The local sim card provider
With the advanced technology in numerous foreign countries such as — The Us, the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, etc., where you can get a wi-fi connection almost as easy as breathing, you still need a local sim card to connect the call locally and at the time of emergency. Before traveling, research the local sim card and their plan.
Double-check with the passport expiry date before applying for the visa. The passport requires valid for at least six months or exceeding your stay in the country you choose to study abroad. Though you will be given the checklist by the university or your study abroad counsellor, you need to make a note well in advance and prepare the documents accordingly.
Along with the original documents, you need to carry copies of everything — passport, visa, tickets, university letter, admission confirmation, your local country documents, or any other documents you are instructed to carry.
Put one copy in your backpack or purse you will be carrying and the second copy in your main luggage.
Keep all the documents soft copy in your emails, cloud drive, password-protected pen drive, and hard drive.
3. Travel and Health Insurance
It is highly recommended that the students get Travel and Health/Medical Insurance even if it is not mandatory documentation required for visa application. Emergencies can knock anytime, and you need to be prepared. Travel and medical emergency in a foreign country can put a big hole in your pocket; therefore, insured students need a financial backup. There are numerous travel and health/medical insurance plan for the students to choose from.
- Travel Insurance — It covers delay or cancellation of the flights, missed flight connection, medical evacuation during flight emergency, baggage loss, loss of passport, or any other documents. Certain travel insurance also covers medical insurance.
- Health/Medical Insurance — It covers worldwide medical coverage with more options of cashless hospitalization, round-the-clock medical assistance, 24/7 access to health care assistance, and many more.
Make sure the insurance policy valid throughout the study abroad program. Consult the study abroad counsellor or insurance expert team before buying insurance.
4. Emergency Contact Numbers
Ensure that you keep emergency contact numbers like the Indian embassy, fire, police, or ambulance handy so that you can contact them immediately in case of emergency. Memorize your friend’s and family’s numbers.
5. Local Bank Account
Even though your Indian account number can also provide your services worldwide, it is essential to have a local bank account. Opening a local bank account not only helps you eliminate foreign exchange fees charged but also allows you to have a local debit card handy to have cashless transaction freedom. There are many local banks which need low MAB (minimum average balance) requirement for the students.
Always pack light no matter what. It is always important to adapt a capsule wardrobe method instead of carrying the entire home with you. Avoid carrying over luggage with you.
Pack light snacks or ready-made meals that you can have for few weeks. Avoid packing anything that can be spilled.
Carry the main luggage and a backpack with you. Always fill the backpack with emergency clothes you need to grab whenever you need them and few essential things that you might need at the airport during transit.
Traveling to another country, even if it is for study purpose, can broaden your mind. We all see the world through different cultural lenses. Culture shock can be a part of your life no matter how deep you have searched about the city/country you are traveling to for study abroad, and the real-life experience always is eye-opening. Always keep room for experiencing new things.
Often, the best travel experiences cannot be predicted or planned out; they are the kind that happens when you allow yourself to live in the moment and immerse yourself in a new lifestyle and culture.