Every year, hundreds of thousands of students choose to take their studies abroad and experience life in another country.
Studying in a foreign country enables you to meet new people, experience a different culture, and expand your mindset. You can make brand-new memories and life-long friends that you may not have had the choice to make if you had stayed in your home country to study.
However, as great as studying abroad is, it can be a complicated process to organize. Not only do you have all of the usual tasks associated with moving abroad to complete, but you also have the added stress of having to study and obtain qualifications while doing so.
To make the process of studying abroad as simple and enjoyable as possible and reduce the risk of mental health problems or feelings of isolation, we’ve listed some key steps that you must take to turn your dream into a reality.
Research Potential Destinations
There are lots of countries that offer international study programs and accept foreign students with open arms. You will need to do in-depth research to identify the best countries for needs and preferences.
Once you’ve decided on a particular country, your next step is to research the various educational facilities within your chosen destination. Consider the programs and courses each one offers, the qualifications you can obtain at the end of your studies, and the local student lifestyle. You must also consider the safety and crime rates in the area, and research accommodation options.
If you’re studying abroad as part of an exchange program with your current college or university, you will need to liaise with your academic tutors to identify which countries and associated schools they offer as part of this exchange program.
Your tutor may be able to offer their recommendations and help you organize your foreign studies to ensure everything goes smoothly. They will also advise you regarding your current qualifications and the degree you want to study to check that you meet the requirements.
Purchase Health Insurance
Having health insurance is essential for your health and safety when studying abroad. You may be unable to access local healthcare facilities without a valid insurance policy, leaving you stranded if you get injured or fall ill.
Health insurance will also reduce the costs of medical treatments, therapies, and medications that you access while abroad. Without insurance, you could end up paying extortionate healthcare prices, which is not the best-case scenario when you’re studying full-time and aren’t earning a significant wage.
Health insurance also enables you to access specialized treatments or therapies if you need them. Otherwise, you might have to travel back to your home country to access the medical care you require to stay healthy.
Make sure you find a policy that suits your needs. Research various companies to find the most affordable plan that offers the right level of coverage. An international student health insurance plan that has been specifically designed with foreign students in mind is likely your best choice.
Make Travel Arrangements and Get Travel Insurance
Take a look online to find a reliable travel company that offers affordable flights. Make sure to choose the appropriate flight dates and times that enable you to arrive at your destination in time for your course start date.
Aim to arrive at your college or university campus a couple of weeks before your course begins so you have time to acclimatize to your new, unfamiliar surroundings and get to know some of the other students in your accommodation block.
Alongside health insurance, you’ll need to arrange travel insurance. This is a type of insurance that covers you financially in the event of trip cancellation, significant flight delays, lost luggage, and natural disasters affecting your ability to travel.
You can get varying levels of coverage for travel insurance, and you’ll need to decide on the best plan for your needs based on your travel requirements. Many travel insurance companies offer annual plans that provide coverage for multiple journeys, and this is a great choice if you plan on traveling back to your home country several times throughout the academic year.
Many colleges and universities offer on-campus accommodation for their students, particularly for those studying abroad. Once you’ve chosen which educational facility you’d like to study at, contact them regarding their available accommodation.
Consider whether you would prefer to live in an en-suite room on your own or share with other students. While the former offers more privacy and luxury, the latter encourages you to socialize and make new friends, which is crucial as a foreign student.
Factor in the total costs of the accommodation, your budget, and the location of your room in relation to the lecture halls and amenities. Of course, you should also consider your safety. Ask the accommodation team at your desired college or university about their on-site security and student safety policies.