Top Tips For Studying Abroad
Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it’s yours to create. There are several ways your behavior can make or break your time overseas, but we’re here to help you avoid common pitfalls. Use our top ten study abroad tips to maximise your money, safety and social life in a foreign country. With our help, your study abroad experience will run smoothly.
Tips to Save Money Abroad
Studying abroad can be the most exciting, life-changing adventure ever, but being confined to your room because you overspent in the first month is not the way forward. Create a budget early, understanding that the city you choose will greatly influence your weekly spending. Start off on the right foot by looking for cheap flight deals to your destination. From there you need to plan out how much you can spend each month, break that down into weeks, and so on. Then stick to your plan!
Hopefully, you’re setting off with a nice bit of cash saved up in your bank account. But how do you access that money overseas? Do your research before you leave home and you’ll find some great deals on UK cards that allow you to spend your money freely without accumulating international atm or credit fees. Fail to do your research, and you could pay a small fortune. Visit your bank and speak with a teller about your options.
Studying abroad isn’t free — in fact, it can be quite expensive. Ease the pressure by getting a part time job in addition to your studies. As with working holidays, you’ll probably need a special visa, but most English-speaking countries will have regular part-time work available in retail, coffee shops or at the University itself. Teaching English as a foreign language is another great option that can pay well (and under the table). Do your research before you go, and talk to other students who have already lived in your destination.
This is a big one. You need to memorise local emergency numbers in case you get into trouble. Keep in mind that, as a foreigner, you may not speak the same language as the local police force. If you get injured in China, for example, you could have a friend call the Red Cross instead. You should also know the address and phone number of the UK embassy. They’re not all as simple as 999, but with a little bit of preparation you’ll be fine.
Study abroad can last half a year or longer. That’s a lot of time to misplace your passport or ID. Before you leave, remember to photocopy all your important documents and bring duplicates. Put one copy in your backpack, one in your suitcase, and one in your journal or toiletries bag. Scan documents you’re not bringing with you, like birth certificate or medical forms, and email yourself the files. It might seem silly, but you’ll sleep easy knowing you’ve got all the paperwork you need.
Not everywhere has a National Health Service quite like the UK, meaning you’ll need comprehensive travel insurance for your trip to cover you in the event of an emergency. In places like America you need this insurance (or buckets of money) otherwise you simply won’t receive treatment, whilst within Europe you are entitled to certain cover with an EHIC. Be sure to declare all existing medical conditions when purchasing your travel insurance to guarantee you’re properly covered.
There’s nothing more intimidating than arriving in a foreign country and not being able to speak the language. Sure, some simple English will go a long way in most places, but it really makes a difference if you at least try to speak the native tongue (even if you’re terrible at first). Take a language class, download an app or watch foreign movies. Immersing yourself will not only help you learn important phrases, but get you psyched for your study abroad experience.
Study abroad universities are fascinating melting pots of different cultures and people. Remember that everyone’s in the same boat, looking for new friends to share this experience. If you’re struggling to meet people, consider booking a cheap activity tour in your area. Getting past a language barrier is half the fun! People from foreign countries will find our foreign-ness just as interesting as you find theirs.
The final tip is really quite simple; be bold and make this experience unforgettable. Get amongst it, say yes, get to know people unlike yourself and see where you end up! Thousands of people who study abroad fall in love with their their host country and return there time and time again — and it all started by taking a chance on something new.
Study Abroad FAQ's
Why Study Abroad?
There are so many reasons to study abroad — travelling in general makes you smarter and more creative, so why not maximise these effects through study abroad? Learn a new language and engage with different cultures. These experiences will show future employers and colleagues that you have a lot to offer.
Where Should I Study Abroad
This depends entirely on your studies and your financial capacity. Go somewhere that is financially realistic and supports your particular specialisation, but don’t be afraid to try something totally new if you think that’s best! Of course, you also need to make sure you’ll be safe throughout your stay, so regularly check for any travel warnings regarding your country.
What are the Cheapest Countries to Study Abroad?
Study abroad can last a few months to a year, so you need to think beyond airfare and create a more holistic budget. How much money can you spend each week, and what are your weekly priorities? Asia is notoriously cheap, but you still need to watch your spending and avoid tourist traps. Some countries in Eastern Europe and South America are also very affordable, but Western Europe and the United States require extra caution if you’re trying to be frugal.
Can I apply for Study Abroad Scholarships?
Of course! When browsing programmes, keep an eye out for scholarships, bursaries and reduced tuition fees. Generation UK scholarships, Erasmus grants and Santander Bank Mobility Grants are just a few of the most popular aid options.