If you’re about to embark on a university course in a foreign country, then a great adventure awaits! Studying abroad provides you with the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, get to know a different culture, and create memories you will keep forever.
However, living in a country you’re not familiar with can be challenging, so there are many ways you need to prepare before you set off.
1. Pack the appropriate clothing
Do some research on what the climate is like in the country you are visiting, particularly at the time you will be studying there. For example, in Australia they experience winter when it’s summer in the U.K., and vice versa. You should also find out if there are religious customs you need to abide by, for example in many Muslim countries it’s considered inappropriate for women to show their hair.
2. Get the right currency
Before you leave the U.K., you should visit a bank or bureau de change and exchange some British pounds for the currency of the country you’re going to be living in. It is best to do this before you leave as you may need money for food or transport when you arrive at the airport or train station, and there’s no guarantee you will be able to change money there.
3. Learn the language basics
Unless your university course will be taught in the country’s own language, then you don’t need to be fluent before you arrive, but it definitely helps to know the basics. There are phrase books available which introduce the everyday language you would need if you were on holiday, and the same phrases and words will be useful when you are studying abroad. However, if you do have the opportunity to take a course in the language before you leave the U.K. it’s a great way to have a head start in getting to know the locals during your trip.
4. Plan how to get to your accommodation
When you arrive in the country you are visiting, you might be met at the airport or train station by a representative from your university. However, it’s equally likely that you will need to make your own way to the place you are staying. Therefore, you should research the best way to get there in advance, finding out the names and contact details of reputable taxi companies if public transport isn’t available. Also take into consideration that you will be carrying luggage, so you’ll want to avoid any long uphill walks!
5. Get to know other students in advance
There are now many websites where you can meet people studying at the same university as you before you get there, including forums and Facebook groups. It’s a good idea to check these out in advance so you know you’ll have someone to hang around with in the scary first few days. You might even get to know some local students who can give you a guided tour!
This post was penned on behalf of OCVC.