What I did to prepare during the summer before study abroad
Around the time I began studying abroad, I wrote a post titled 7 Things to Remember Before You Leave. Older and wiser, I’ve written this post which expands on a lot of the points I made in that post, and includes some important tips and advice I had left out before. Read this now and save yourself from stress and headaches later!
1. Saved All Of My Money/ Worked Overtime
I was working at a distribution warehouse the summer before I left for Scotland. It was extremely hot and zero fun (although the people I worked with made me laugh). The positive side of the job was that it paid a lot of money and there was always overtime. I didn’t go out very often that summer in order to save money, and it was an easy decision: waste money in Manchester, NH or spend it traveling Europe. (By the way, everyone always wants to know how much I spent while I was abroad, and I have no problem telling them – $5,500 between traveling Europe, playing golf, and enjoying St. Andrews.)
2. SENT IN MY VISA PAPERWORK
My Visa was probably my biggest concern the summer before I went abroad seeing as I couldn’t enter the UK without it. I sent in my application and passport 2 months before I was supposed to leave and got it back with plenty of time to spare. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get your Visa and passport in early in case of any delays, including getting rejected the first time around (which happened to someone I was going abroad with!).
– Note: Read my post about why it’s SO IMPORTANT to understand how your student visa works!
The earlier the better – the longer you wait, the quicker prices will go up. If you have to make a stop and catch a connecting flight, make sure it’s in a city or country you’re comfortable in. While I used previous booking engines in the past, I now recommend booking through Vayama who always have great deals on travel.
4. Booked Transportation To St. Andrews
This is actually what most people overlook – getting transportation from the airport to their school. If you happen to be someone going to St. Andrew’s, I’d go with St. Andrews Direct. Its one flat rate and you’re guaranteed a spot. For everyone else, see if your host school contracts out a taxi service, and if not, see who they recommend.
5. Had A Physical/Got Approval From My Doctor
In most cases this is necessary to get your visa, but even if you’re not applying for a visa, it’s still a good idea to get a checkup. Your doctor can tell you any vaccinations you need depending on the country your going to before you leave, and it’s better to know if there is a problem with your health while you’re still in the States.
6. Made Sure I Had Insurance
You don’t want to end up in a hospital in another country, especially a non-English speaking country, without some sort of insurance. Holy Cross provided an insurance plan when I studied abroad in Scotland and the CET program includes insurance for my semester in China. If for some reason your school doesn’t provide or recommend an insurance plan, make sure you get one that covers international travel.
7. Completed My Application
While you may be accepted to study abroad, your application might not be totally complete. A lot of times you’ll have to sign and mail in things like conditions and terms forms, consent and release forms, housing requests, and course selections.
8. Made Sure Holy Cross And I Were On The Same Page
Talk with your advisor and get approval for all of the courses you’re taking abroad in writing. Not much point in studying abroad if you don’t get credit. And make sure you’re school has a basic idea of your travel itinerary since they’re probably the next emergency contact after your parents.
9. Bought A Webcam And Installed Skype
This goes without much explaining. International calls can be very expensive, so video chatting through Skype is the best way to keep in contact with everyone at home. Don’t forget to buy a webcam after installing Skype.
10. Started My Blog
There’s no sense in waiting until your abroad to start your blog. You’ll probably be too busy to set one up when you arrive, and people (especially friends and relatives) will want to start following you before you leave.
Want to be totally prepared to go abroad? Check out The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide!
If you have any other questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!