Studying abroad during your university years is an amazing opportunity for any travel-hungry college student. Not only is it a great way to travel while you're still in school, but it's also a great way to expand your horizons and learn about a new culture at the same time.
Here are six tips for studying abroad:
1.Choose Your Program/University Wisely
Most colleges offer study abroad programs, either as a direct exchange with universities in other countries, or through a study abroad program like Center for Study Abroad (CSA) or International Studies Abroad (ISA). Find out which option your college offers, and talk to an advisor about financing options. In some cases, tuition costs for a study aboard program can be comparable to standard university tuition expenses.
If you're having trouble deciding, take a look at the classes offered at each university and choose based on which classes you would enjoy the most.
2. Decide Where You Want to Live
Your housing options will depend on which university you choose, but in general you'll have the options of student housing (usually apartments that you'll share with other students), a homestay (where you live with a local family), or your own accommodation off university property. I recommend student housing, simply because it usually means a shorter commute to class and the opportunity to make friends more easily.
3.Bring Only the Essentials
When it comes to packing for a semester (or year) abroad, you may be tempted to bring all the comforts of home with you. When I studied abroad in New Zealand, not only did I pack an entire wardrobe, but I even brought things like bed sheets and a towel. You don't need to pack everything, though. Once you arrive and get settled, it's easy to head to the store to pick up things like bedding or towels. Save yourself the stress of lugging around multiple huge suitcases, and only bring the essentials.
4. Stay in Touch With People Back Home
Studying abroad today is so much different than it was even 10 years ago. These days, smartphones and Wi-Fi are ubiquitous, making it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Download apps like Skype and WhatsApp so that you can make calls and send texts internationally wherever you have an internet signal.
And make sure to bring an unlocked phone with you so you can buy a local SIM card and stay in touch with your new friends, too.
5. Budget More Than You Think You'll Need
Here's the truth: Living in another country is not cheap, especially if you’re on a student visa and not able to get a part-time job. Add to this that you'll probably want to travel the country and surrounding areas. There's nothing worse than turning down an awesome camping trip or a bungee jump because you've spent all your money on rent and groceries.
My advice is to calculate your average living costs and then take into account travel and recreational activities you’d most like to do while studying abroad. This way you'll come up with a rough estimate of how much you will need to save up. (And then you'll want to bring a little extra, just in case.)
In order to save money, plan trips with some of your fellow students to help cut down on costs.
6.Make Time to Explore!
Lastly, DO be sure to get out and explore while studying abroad. Although you’re in another country studying, a huge part of this experience is getting to know your host country, too!
Have you studied abroad? What helpful tips can you share?
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Amanda Williams and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.