I am so excited about this new college-themed series that has come to the blog! I love writing content that helps you guys, but I know that I am not knowledgeable in everything, so I ventured out and found some other bloggers who can share advice about their experiences! I have never studied abroad before, but have always wanted to, which is what attracted me to Kathrin’s idea of writing about tips for studying abroad! I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!
For many young people it is the first time that they are traveling alone, the first big adventure in another country, and the first time they are away from home for a long time: studying abroad. If you are thinking about spending a semester or even a whole year abroad, you’ve ended in the right corner of the Internet! This beginner’s guide to studying abroad covers all the most important questions about planning your time abroad.
I’ve started my study abroad experience three months ago when I moved to England to complete my Master’s degree. In total, I will be in England for one year. Of course, I want to pass on my tips and tricks. To give you a mini overview here, this post will cover three aspects of studying abroad: how to decide whether to study abroad or not; what you need to do before you go abroad; and things to remember while you’re abroad. Are you ready to dive into the topic? Great!
How to decide whether to study abroad or not
Ultimately, of course, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to go abroad, but I can only say it is a great experience. I think if you already thinking about it, then you’re actually already halfway there! Don’t let your uncertainty dissuade you from realizing your dreams.
There are several reasons why you should study abroad. First, nowadays employers more or less expect that you’ve been abroad for at least a short time – whether it be for an internship, a study program or a volunteer project. Studying abroad is an easy and safe way to get this international experience – and it is also an easy way to get a feeling of traveling (alone) and living abroad. On top of that, it’s an incredible chance to see the world, an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and learn a lot about another culture and yourself. I definitely got to know my own strengths, limitations and values through studying abroad. Interacting with various people and cultures also thought me how to be flexible and adapt to changing situations and I learned to appreciate people with different languages and cultures.
If you are just not quite sure yet, put a lot of research into it. Research is super important because it’ll get you to look inside yourself. Find out if you can handle to live in a country that is different from your home (I’m sure you can!). Ask yourself if you want to experience a culture that is familiar or completely foreign to you. Ask yourself if you prefer to live in a big city or a smaller town. Find out what you want from your time abroad, and I’m sure it’ll be great.
What you need to do before you go abroad
There are of course the most obvious things like saving some money, arranging your accommodation and getting your student visa (apply for that early on, it usually takes some weeks). If you would like to learn more about those things, you can also check out my post about 6 Things You Have to Do before Going Abroad. However, there are also two other things I’d advise you to do:
First, get (additional) travel insurance. Better be safe than sorry! Organize your insurance as early as possible as you certainly don’t want to deal with that one day before you leave. An extra tip from me: Check with your (family) insurance at home because sometimes they are still covering you if you’re only abroad for a certain time and still have your residence in your home country (as they did in my case). Just give them a call and ask.
Second, research – again. Sorry guys. But my advice if you haven’t done it yet: do some research on your study abroad city before you go. Well, this probably depends on your standpoint, but for me, it’s really important to feel comfortable where I live. Studying abroad is not just about staying at university all the time. Look carefully into where you are going to live, maybe you can even visit the city prior to the start of your course.
Things to Remember while Abroad
Over the excitement of finally being able to travel and discover a whole new place, please don’t forget that your education is important. Engage yourself with extra-curricular activities and try some new things out. Now is the perfect time for this! Also, be organized, because you want to fit in your university responsibilities but also travel the country you’re going to live in. Why don’t you consider some “must see” destinations before you’ll go? I researched a bit and compiled a list of 10 cities I definitely want to see while I’m studying in England and then I always do one or two weekend trips every month. This way I get to see the country, but also stay on my budget and don’t neglect university. And there is, of course, plenty of space to fit in some additional weekend getaways if you wish to do so.
But now it’s your turn! What questions do YOU have about studying abroad? And if you studied abroad yourself, do you have any advice for people considering to study abroad?
Kathrin is a traveler from Germany, currently living in England enjoying the wonders of the United Kingdom. She not only loves to experience different cultures, she also loves books and good stories, so blogging came as a natural consequence. Her blog The Ambitious Bee focuses on studying and working abroad and how your career can benefit from this experience. Follow her on Pinterest and Twitter!
Are you a blogger that is interested in being featured in the College Chronicles series? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the topic you would like to write about!
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