Applying for international exchange is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking, process! You’re going to need to remember a lot of things before you travel overseas. To help you out, here are the 10 most important things you have to know before you head abroad!
1. You will need the right adapter
One of the biggest things to remember when going on international exchange is bringing the right adapter! This will ensure that all of your electronic devices, including phones and laptops, as well as hair straighteners and the like, will charge when you need them to. Be careful when buying adapters for the United Kingdom and Europe—they differ!
2. Appliances might blow up
Sometimes, our electronic devices just can’t handle travel. So, if you’re bringing a hair dryer, flat iron or curler, don’t always rely on them!
3. Terms operate backwards and differently
If you’re going on international exchange, you’ll soon learn that some universities have semesters, while others have terms. This will dictate whether or not you need to be looking at six month or year long classes! Make sure you research all of your subjects and how these credit points will transfer back to your home university. Also, look up key dates and exam timetables to make sure you aren’t planning any travels over busy school weeks!
4. Book your flights early
Don’t leave it last minute! Flights can get super expensive if you don’t book in advance. Even if you’re backpacking around the world, don’t forget to purchase your tickets at least a few days before leaving the country! This ensures that both you and your friends with can travel together at the lowest possible price.
5. You might need a visa
Leaving the country as an exchange student more often than not means that you are going to need a visa. This will give you the right to live and study in different countries. Some visas allow you to work, while others do not. Make sure you research what kind of visa your host university requires, so that you have no troubles getting there. Also be wary of what visas you may need when travelling around the world, especially if you only have an Australian passport!
6. Your credits might not transfer correctly
The tricky thing about international exchange is that your university subjects and credits might not transfer properly once you return home. This might mean that you need to overload back at your home university, or maybe even take fewer classes. You might even need to take classes in different year levels. So, make sure you speak to your course advisers both at your home and international institutions before you leave for exchange!
7. The marking systems are different
If you’re applying for an exchange program, don’t stress about your grades too much. For one, many universities ignore the grades you receive overseas and give your academic transcript a simple ‘pass.’ This is because many credits don’t correlate properly between institutions! Also, what is a good grade at your home university may mean something different overseas. Before you apply, make sure you double check the assessment requirements of both universities!
8. The application process is long
Though international exchange will leave you with amazing and unforgettable memories, the application process is a long one. You’ll most likely spend months writing about how good a student you are, how you can best represent your home university and what kind of accomodation you are looking for. Before you apply, know that this will take up a big chunk of your time!
9. You might not get your first choice
When you apply to study overseas, you are often asked to list which universities you would like to attend. Some institutions only have limited spots and choose students based on their grades. You will be competing with people all over the world to attend a certain uni, so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get your first choice!
10. You’ll miss your friends, but you’ll make new ones
Because study abroad programmes run for at least six months, you’re probably going to miss your friends and family. Make time for them and keep in contact over social media. Don’t feel disheartened, though! You’ll soon be meeting dozens of people from around the globe, and you’ll have the time of your lives together!
Did you forget something before embarking on international exchange? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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Creative writing major at the University of Melbourne! One of the few arts kids drinking coffee instead of tea. Slowly crying my way through Ulysses.