Study Abroad

Everything You Should Know Before Studying Abroad

Over the summer I recently went on a studying abroad trip with Michigan State University to Peru. Each day was spent exploring, and learning about the different cultures that coexisted throughout the country. I will never take that trip for granted nor the memoires I made while there. One thing though that I don’t think many students think about when trying to travel is how much preparation it takes. Even if the school puts the program together there are several things that you have to do on your end before the trip takes place.

Don’t worry I have some helpful advice that was shared with me that I want to pass down to you guys. So here is everything you should know before studying abroad.

1. Save up as much as you can

I know that might sound like one of the most known things to do before a trip but it is so important to remember. Before the trip I remember taking out a little bit from each paycheck and putting it away in my savings account. If you know that the trip will be taking place in spring, start taking out money from each pay check while its fall. This will help to give you a little cushion room for purchasing anything you need while away.

2. Look for scholarships

Saving up money can only get you so far. I encourage everyone that is thinking about traveling aboard but don’t have the finical means to apply for any open scholarship that your school offers.  My advisor told me that no one had been applying for the communication scholarships that were being offered, so I took my shot securing an over the seas scholarship. Even if your school doesn’t offer scholarships websites like Fastweb Scholarships have a bunch listed that you could apply for.

3. Talk to your bank

Some countries will not accept certain credit cards that you have, it’s best to talk to your bank about their card system. See if their cards will work in different countries and if they don’t look on the internet to see if other banks do.

4. Talk to your advisor

Plan out the semester that you wont be here for with your academic advisor before you leave. When I was leaving I made sure to set up an appointment with my academic advisor and for thirty minutes we planned out what my final year would look like. I say this because it can get hard to think about the next semester when there is so much happening around you. Plus, it will take the stress off your shoulders if you know what you will be doing that next semester.

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5. Buy a data plan

International calls and texts can add up pretty quickly while your away. Make sure that you speak with your cell phone provider about their rates when it comes to international usage. I made the mistake of not doing this and my mom ended up with a pretty big hefty bill at the end of the month. So save you both the drama and think about getting a plan at the beginning.

6. Get to know everyone

One of the greatest things about going on a study aboard trip is getting to know the group you will be traveling with. It can be awkward at first like all social interactions but relax these guys are just as nervous as you are. Make conversation and make some new friends. This is one of the most important things to know when studying abroad!

It might seem like a lot at first when it comes to planning everything out, but it’s important to be prepared when studying abroad. Don’t feel boggled down when it comes to planning anything, just remember that all of this is for a journey you will never forget.

What are your tips for studying abroad? What things about studying abroad did we forget? Tell us in the comments!
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Jaylyn Galloway

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