As a college student or graduate student, getting the opportunity to study abroad can be completely life-changing. You may feel that there may not be another chance in life to live outside of your home country, and that might be true! Whether you’re traveling to Oxford, England to study literature, Israel to learn about religious history, or Japan to sharpen your language skills, the time you spend abroad is sure to be some of the more formative moments of your life. In the midst of all of the nerves of leaving behind your classmates, parents, and culture, it can be challenging to keep track of all that you need to prepare before moving to a new country, whether it’s for one month, one semester, a year, or more. Keep in mind these three things you may forget before going abroad.
- Get travel insurance. You’ve done all of the preparation work to get your passport and your plane tickets. Don’t forget to protect yourself with travel insurance! Hopefully, you won’t need it, but travel insurance gives you the safety net in case anything unexpected happens.
- Bring something that will remind you of your friends and family. Even if you have friends going with you on your study abroad trip, and even if you already live away from your parents, it may surprise you how homesick you can get when you’re living in another country.
- Get an international number. Speaking of hearing your grandmother’s voice, there is, of course, the technology that will allow you to speak with your loved ones. While it’s easy to connect when you live in the same country, different countries have different restrictions about what services can be used, not to mention there are often high fees associated with it. Services like Easy Ring virtual phone service allow you to set up a local phone number in the city you’re moving to and attach that number to your cell phone. That way, you can use phone calls to call back home, and even make calls to the new friends you make while studying abroad.
Most travel insurance covers you in a multitude of unfortunate scenarios. It will cover you if your flight gets canceled, if you lose or you have your luggage stolen, or if you need to evacuate because of a personal health emergency or a natural disaster. It may also act like health insurance, so that you can get treated if you get sick abroad.
Between culture shock, the time change, and the stress of school, you’re likely to want nothing more than to hear your grandmother’s voice on the weekend or have a home-cooked meal made by your aunt. While these things won’t be possible when you’re living abroad, you can come prepared with sentimental items that will remind you of home. Bring a sweater that smells like your dad or photos or letters from your family and friends. When you get to your new place, you can hang up pictures and letters and have any other items put in a special place, so that when the homesickness hits, you’re prepared.