So you’ve officially been accepted to your study abroad program and you are getting super excited for everything that lies ahead. You’re ready to pack your bags now! But hold up, there are lots of things to do before studying abroad. Preparing for time abroad can be overwhelming, there are lot of steps to keep organized. Thankfully, we are here to keep you on track with our pre-departure tips for studying abroad. With our studying abroad pre-departure checklist, you won’t even break a sweat in staying organized for your adventure abroad!
Studying abroad is a big endeavor that involves a lot of life changes, and staying organized is the key to making sure you are fully prepared and ready to go on your adventure. With all the payments, flights, dates, and logistics that you have ahead of you, creating an organization system that works for you will ensure that you stay on track with all of your deadlines. The last thing that you want is to have your program cancelled or miss an important step because you didn’t know about it. Creating an organized game plan will make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines!
We recommend starting with a dedicated folder on your computer or cloud drive where you will save all of your important study abroad program documents. Next, create a separate folder in your email to track all emails and correspondence you receive about your program so you can easily access them when you need to. Then comes mapping out key dates. Put any big deadlines, such as payments or mandatory sessions, on your calendar and set reminders so you don’t miss any of them!
3 important things to do before study abroad programs
With the excitement of your upcoming experience abroad, it can be hard to remember all the things to do before studying abroad! There are a lot of logistics to coordinate, but school, documents, and finances are the most important.
We’ve detailed everything in a helpful studying abroad pre-departure checklist!
1. School stuff
Rather than just one school, now you’ve got two schools; your home school and your destination school which means you need to stay organized to ensure all of your credits and graduation requirements are met. The best way to ensure that you are on track is to schedule a meeting with your counselor or academic advisor. They can help you get a list together of what exactly is required for your study abroad program.
Typically you will need to map out your class schedule for your time abroad as well as your next semester at home. This will ensure you meet all prerequisite courses and don’t accidentally have an important class fall through the cracks. It is common for study abroad credits to transfer as general credit or elective credit, which means you might need to do some special organizing on your schedule to meet all of your graduation requirements.
Once all of your classes are organized, make sure that you have the necessary supplies for your time abroad. Find out if there are any special textbooks or supplies that you will need for your class, since requirements tend to vary from your home institution.
2. Get your documents organized
Although this seems obvious, having the correct documentation is essential for any trip abroad. Travel documents can include passport, visa, proof of travel, proof of insurance, invitation letters, and maybe more depending on the country. We know legal stuff is boring, but you won’t be allowed in your destination country without these documents, so it’s important to get them in order early.
Once you’ve got your passport, it’s time to start working on any visas that might be required for your study abroad program. A majority of countries will require a student visa to cover your study abroad program, unless your stay is less than 90 days.
Visa processes vary around the world from easy to extremely difficult, so it can be hard to generalize what you will need to do for your student visa. It is best to check with your program provider about what is required to get your student visa. Some visas can take 2-3 months to process, so it’s imperative that you budget enough time to get this step done.
Next up, finish any paperwork that your school requires for completion of the program. The last thing you want to find out on the day you leave is that you forgot something really important! You should also apply for an international student ID card (ISIC) which is globally recognized and can get you some sweet discounts on travel activities like museum tickets, transportation, or accommodations.
3. Arrange your finances
This is everyone’s least favorite part: money. When it comes to studying abroad, it’s important to start your financial planning well before you step foot on the plane to make sure that you don’t have any unexpected hiccups in your study abroad program.
If you are on any type of financial aid, make sure to check with your financial services department to see if any of your aid can apply to your time abroad. This could be a great way to save some money! You will also want to make sure that none of your aid or scholarships are disrupted by your time abroad.
When you sign up for your study abroad program, add any major payment dates to your calendar so you don’t miss any payments. Most programs will required a deposit leading up to your departure date. This also helps for setting up your budget timeline and savings plan, since you know exactly when big payments will show up on your bank statement.
A few weeks before you depart for your study abroad program, alert your bank of your departure. This will ensure you don’t experience any disruption in using your credit card or accessing funds while abroad. While at the bank, it is a good idea to order some foreign currency for your destination country so that you have cash right when you arrive.
You’re now ready for your study abroad Adventure!
You’ve got your passport with visa in hand, your course credits are in order, and your bank account is full of Euros waiting to be spent on amazing souvenirs. It sounds like you are ready for your study abroad adventure!
Thanks to our studying abroad pre-departure checklist, you have everything you need to crush it on your international program. You have set yourself up for success during your time abroad, and you can easily tackle any unexpected hurdles that might arise. We wish you all the best on your adventure abroad!