Top 10 Things Students must know before studying Abroad

Studying abroad is undoubtedly an excellent decision taken by any student of today’s generation. Studying abroad will open a wide range of opportunities to you; change your entire perspective about life as well as giving you ample ways to mold your life the way you want, but it definitely requires a lot of research and background knowledge. Your college or program will most likely require you to attend orientation sessions prior to your departure Here we are going to share with you such some points that you should know if you want to go to abroad for studying. So before you step on that plane, check out this list. Believe me, it will help!

  1. Know how to read a map: We live in an age of technology where reading a map is basically a foreign concept. There is almost no reason to need to know how to read a map when most cars — not to mention every smartphone — are now equipped with a GPS system. If you’re like most students, you live off Wi-Fi when you’re abroad, so you can’t just search Google Maps wherever you are and find directions. When you get to your host country you won’t have your car, and unless you are willing to pay outrageous international fees on your phone bill, chances are you won’t have your pocket GPS anymore either. And even if you do have some sort of plan in the country you’re staying, it usually doesn’t work when you travel.
  2. Know some background information about your country: It’s good to have some information about where you are staying, so you aren’t the ignorant American stereotype. Also, studying abroad is all about immersing yourself in a different culture, and learning about it, so you can have a head start if you do some research beforehand. At least know who the President or leader of the country is. Also, know what is going on politically, economically, etc. When I was in Spain, there were a lot of riots going on because of the poor economy. Frequently on my way home from class, I would see protestors walking down Passeig de Gracias. One day, a lot of teachers were cancelling classes because huge riots were taking places, and when I went to the scene after, there was graffiti and trash everywhere. So read up at least a little so you know current events and won’t accidentally get stuck in a riot. Or, as what happened on our first week, there was a street festival right outside, ending with a carnival! So if you have some information, you’ll know how to find these. Watch the news for any updates that may pertain to you about where you are going.
  3. Places to go/see/things to do: If you’re not a big sightseer, you’ll still want to have an idea of what famous sights there are, to give you something to do beside school and party. And when you travel, it’s good to have an idea of the sights where you’re going, so you can plan out your trip a little to make sure you get everything you want. You never know when you look things up, you can often find discounted tickets online, or you can find some pretty cool stuff. We did a lot of free walking tours, which sound kind of lame but we’re actually way more fun than walking around ourselves, and it’s a good way to get familiar with where you are. Plus, going to see the sights is a good way to learn some more history about where you are. And it makes you seem more cultured to other people..
  4. Learn Military time: This is a useful skill to have. Since pretty much every other country besides the United States goes by military time, it’s handy to know. Booking plane tickets and things, everything is in military time, which can get confusing if you don’t know it. (14:00 does not equal 4pm). Learning to tell the time in a different language is challenging and if you don’t know military time then your thoughts could end up in a jumbled mess of translation. Before you leave, set your watch to military time to help with the transition once you get to your host country.
  5. Which banks you can use: It’s good to have knowledge of what bank you can use to take money from. Some companies even have partnerships with overseas banks, so you can take money out without huge fees.
  6. Make sure your credits will transfer: This is so important. I know, you already know. But, check, and check again. Don’t wait until you’ve come back, and your school says that you’re missing 16 credits to realize that none of them transferred. Keep an eye on the currency exchange in the weeks before you go (and definitely while you’re there!) so you will know how expensive or inexpensive it will be, so you can kind of plan out your expenses. Of course, you have no way of knowing exactly how much you’ll spend while you’re there, but knowing the exchange rate will definitely help. And keep an eye on it. If you see it going down, that would be a good day to go grocery shopping or whatever, and on the days that it’s higher, you’ll want to stay away from spending money. Keep up to date with the currency exchange; you might be surprised at how much you’re really going to spend.
  7. Living arrangements: If you’re travelling, don’t just show up to a country; make sure you have a hostel or friend to stay with first. If you’re living in an apartment like me, learn to cook a little, so you can make the food of your choice. Get all necessary health checkups and vaccinations. Order ahead on your prescriptions and let your health insurance know where you’re going.
  8. Drive a manual car: Many cars in the United States are automatic and therefore learning to drive a manually operated car isn’t necessary. However, if you plan on renting a car from a foreign dealer, it might not have automatic cars available. I would take this information into consideration if you plan on hitting the open road while abroad.
  9. Celsius: Know how to convert, or at least have some sort of idea of what Celsius is, so when it says its 8 degrees Celsius, you know that its 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Knowing what constitutes hot and cold weather using Celsius is crucial when you may spend your mornings walking to school or afternoons exploring your new city. It will be easier to prepare for your day if you aren’t struggling to figure out the Fahrenheit conversion while adjusting to a foreign climate.
  10. Electronics and converters: Make sure you have the right converters for your country. You don’t want to show up without any, or with the wrong ones. Of course, you can buy them after you arrive, but it’s always better to be prepared, especially if you’re going to a country that doesn’t speak English. It could take you a while to find a store that sells them. And if you know you’ll be travelling a lot, buy a pack of them. This is a lot simpler than it sounds — you usually just need to buy the appropriate converter. However, foreign outlets also look very different from those found in the United States. When purchasing a converter or adapter, make sure to get the correct one. Many brands such as Apple offer a world converter package to ensure you have the proper connections for many different countries.