On the surface, studying abroad can seem complicated. For some students transferring to university is difficult enough let alone doing it abroad. However it does not have to be. Here are a few tips to help you keep organized when planning:
1. Be familiar with your new environment. This includes the weather, culture and norms. Spend some time reading books about the history and the culture of your host city. With this said, books can only take you so far when it comes to the experiences of moving abroad. The Internet is your best bet for gaining various perspectives and the most up to date understanding of what it is like to live in your host country. There are many blogs available that are written by people like you who are moving or have moved abroad. Reading their blogs is a good way to get the intricate details of life abroad that is often missed by reading books.
Also, speak to people on your campus who have lived in the country you are moving to. With their advice you can get a better understanding of your new environment. To find these students, visit your study abroad office. If you do not have a study abroad office, visit the foreign language, international relations or business departments on campus.
2. Keep in mind that you can't take everything with you. You may need to rethink shipping large furniture pieces abroad; no matter how much sentimental value you have for them. Many of the stores you have grown to love in your home country are available or have an equivalent in your host country. In China, you can find Walmarts and Sam Clubs in almost every major city. Also, depending on where you go, buying new furniture can be very inexpensive.
3. Know your living arrangements ahead of time. Most programs provide housing arrangements such as dormitories and home-stay, in which you stay with a family or apartments. If you do have family or a friend in another country, you may want to consider contacting them and asking if it is okay to stay with them during your time there. By doing so, you could cut down the cost of the study abroad program you will be attending because they will not have to arrange your housing.
4. Be careful where you eat and drink abroad. Not all countries have the same sanitation standards as the U.S. Your body will have to adjust to the new foods of your host country. This is especially important in developing countries where drinking water may need to be boiled before drinking.
5. Estimate your expenses and make sure you bring enough money with you. Research the cost of living in your host country and plan a budget. If you are working abroad, find out your salary and compare it to the cost of living of host country. Check out the following Living Expense Calculator to get a better understanding of how far your money will stretch while abroad.
To gain a greater understanding of what it will be like living in your host country visit the following pages:
Study Abroad and International Exchange Articles
Student Stories from Abroad
Study and Travel Deals
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education