The trend is clear – students are now studying abroad at much higher rates than ever before. The option of living and studying in another country offers educational, cultural, and professional opportunities that are enticing to anyone looking to refine their college experience and strengthen their candidacy to potential employers.
But studying abroad requires planning and careful consideration. Some of these practical tips can save you headaches and stress if you make sure to address them well before you plan on leaving.
Visa and Travel Issues
Book your flights early and make sure to confirm with your travel agent all the details of your luggage including carry ons, number of checked in baggage, and weights of all the items you will be traveling with. Luggage is expensive so you’ll have to make sure you are careful in choosing what you bring.
Visa’s are also another big area that requires proper handling. Visa’s will be assigned to students wishing to study, but work permits that enable you to study and maintain a job or internship may be different. Confirm with the embassy beforehand and make sure to apply for all additional visas that you’ll need. If you’ll need to extend your visa while you are in the country, check to see what those procedures look like. Some countries require you to leave the country and re-enter while other’s will simply renew you upon request. These details are very important to know before so that you are not stuck in a diplomatic battle while being miles from home. Also, it is probably a good idea to purchase a ticket for your return flight and buy one that has a flexible date so you can alter it depending on circumstance. You don’t want your study abroad to end and find yourself unable to afford the flight back because prices have jumped considerably!
Money is another problem .Find the exchange rate for the currency you’ll have to adjust to. Learn the local money and customs, legal and cultural that are associated with the country. Do you have to tip or is that considered rude? Does your local bank have a branch there that you can use or will you have to wire money and hold it in cash? Talk to your bank to see if they have a local affiliate so you don’t get charged fees for using an ATM that isn’t in your network. Often, overseas fees are steep so it can add up quickly. If it makes sense, you can possibly get by using traveler’s checks. Another convenience would be to notify your bank that you’re going abroad and then they should give you the clearance to use your debit card without halting your transactions (something they do to protect your account from fraud).
The last thing to really know before going to live abroad is that you’ll have to have some sense of street smarts. Read about the culture before you get there, and don’t just stick to books. Browse forums and read social media. Don’t go there thinking you already know everything. Take the people there as you see them and try and remember that you’re a guest in their country and to be respectful. Don’t place yourself in situations that are dangerous if you can avoid it and remember to bring a GSM phone so you buy a local SIM card and call people there.
Study Opportunities in Melbourne
Another thing to prepare for yourself before you head over is potential study opportunities in Melbourne. Melbourne short courses are a great way to do this: courses from universities like Victoria University or Wayne State University are great resources to set up for yourself. Short courses and other academic endeavors like museum trips are a good thing to plan out before you go on your trip so you can make the most of your education while traveling.
Remember to be safe and have a great time while you’re abroad!