The University Network

Study Abroad: The Ultimate Guide

The idea of studying abroad is a versatile subject. Some people have dreamed of it since they were young, and others not so much… Most people figure: I am having the best time right here in the comfort of my own campus, so why would I want to leave? For those of you who seem to be on the fence about it, I want to give you some reasons why it will be the best experience before you completely say no. Travel is the best gift that you can give anyone, in my opinion. This is the only time in your life where you can just pick up and take off without any worries.

Hopefully, the following tips will help you and convince you to plan a study abroad trip!

1. Do Your Research

Most people would say, “yes of course, how can you forget that?” But you would be surprised as to how many people jump into things without any thought. Find out the different program options and how long the duration of each program is. Compare the costs. Look into the pros and cons of each country. Make a list! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so make sure you are making the most of it.

*The top priority is always safety. With everything going on in the world, look into each country and make sure that where you’re going is safe.

2. Make Sure the Credits Transfer!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many horror stories I have heard about students coming back home after an entire semester abroad only to find out that their courses could not transfer back. This only happens because they did not do the proper research and assumed that their credits would transfer. Since you are ahead of the game, this won’t happen to you! Once you find the program that you like, whether it is through your school or another program, triple check the credits! Ask people in the study abroad program at your school as well as the program/people you are going with. It can’t hurt to get as many opinions as possible.

3. Travel With Friends

Studying abroad itself will make you branch out and meet new people, but having a friend tag along would make traveling to a new country less scary. Ask around and see who would like to study abroad with you (and do the research together)! This can even be a friend from another university!

4. Time

Each program offers different length programs. Some are a few weeks, a semester, or even a year! Do not be forced to do anything you don’t want to. Stick with what you are comfortable with and what you think you can handle. You have to keep in mind that this is a trip for YOU, so go for what feels right for you.

5. Know the Application Deadline!

Since studying abroad is extremely popular among college students, it is competitive! Make sure you hand in/submit your application well in advance to prove your eagerness. Plus, getting the application over and done with will be a weight lifted off your shoulders (rather than scurrying around to complete it the night before its due!).

6. Have a Budget

Before you even start planning a trip, know exactly how much money you have set aside for your time abroad. This may also be a determining factor in the length of time you are staying abroad. It’s super easy to blow through your money while you are traveling, so limit yourself and have a plan. Also, know the exchange rates of the countries you are visiting!

7. Keep Important Documents Safe!

When I traveled as a kid, my dad always held onto the important documents. But if you are traveling on your own, you are in charge of these documents. You are going to be doing weekend excursions and be on-the-go constantly, so make sure you know where your documents are at all times. The last thing you need is to be stuck in a foreign country because you can’t find identification.

Tip: when you apply to a study abroad program, make sure your passport is up-to-date. If not, get a new one ASAP.

8. Experience Different Cultures!

This is the most important tip and the main reason I am encouraging people to study abroad. The world is such a big place and there are so many places to see. Some people are too sheltered and need to step out of their comfort zones a bit. Seeing the way other cultures work and experiencing other countries is probably one of the best things in the world. As I said before, this is one of the only times in your life that you will be able to do this, so make sure you do not miss out on an incredible opportunity if you are able to do so.

SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons to Study Abroad