So you’ve heard how great a semester studying abroad looks on your resume, and so you’ve decided to be brave and jet off to somewhere new for a couple of months. The chances are that you’re feeling both excited and anxious about spending a semester studying in another country, which is completely normal. The important thing is not to let your excitement or anxiety get the better of you – you need to ensure that in the lead up to when you jet off, you spend as much time as possible planning, so that you are able to make the most of your time away.
Get your travel documents in order
The first step when planning to spend a semester studying abroad is to get your travel documents in order. This should include checking that your passport is in date and will be in date by six months throughout your entire trip. If your passport goes out of date while you are away or just after you are meant to return home, it’s best to renew it. That way, no matter what happens you know that you’re covered.
As well as your passport, you also need to look into whether or not you will need a visa – this information is available online, and will also need to take out travel insurance. Oh, and don’t forget to book your plane ticket and transfers to and from the airport in advance, as the sooner you do it, the cheaper it will be.
Pick your accommodation
Once you’ve got your travel documents in order, the next step is to think about your accommodation. If the program that you are taking part in is run by your college, you may already have accommodation sorted. However, if accommodation hasn’t been sorted as part of the exchange program, you need to take your time to choose where you will stay.
Could renting a room in a house share be the answer? Could finding dormitory accommodation be the the best option? Or, could staying in Homestay accommodation with a local family work well? Where you choose to stay depends on the type of experience you want to have while you are studying, so make sure to take your time to consider each option.
Research your new place of study
It’s a good idea to take the time to research your new place of study and the surrounding area so that you know what to expect when you arrive.
As well as getting to grips with the layout of the college by downloading an online map from the website, research the extra curricular activities on offer – playing sports or joining a society of some sort is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Find out what goes on in the area – where are the gyms, what are the best places to eat at, where do the students tend to hang out? The more research you can do, the better.
If you take the time to plan your semester abroad, you are sure to have the most incredible couple of months. So, make sure to plan carefully, to ensure that your time studying abroad is everything that you hoped it would be and more.