After a long shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is beginning to open up again to study abroad students. Once you have been accepted into your program of choice, it is time to begin preparing for this exciting time away from home. Here are five ways to prepare yourself to study abroad in 2021.
Familiarize Yourself with Vaccine Requirements
It is important to familiarize yourself with the vaccine requirements of your host country before making your final travel plans. Most study abroad programs will help you to navigate this process. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is another good source of information about vaccine requirements and recommendations. In addition to ensuring that you are up to date on your vaccines, it is important that you undergo a thorough physical examination by your doctor. You do not want to be far away from home without being up to date on all of your medical examinations.
If you are interested in programs to study in Canada, you may also need to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Canada has been enforcing that visitors have the vaccination before entering its borders. It is important to note that these vaccination rules can change at any time for any country, making it important that you stay on top of the latest requirements.
Look Into Travel Insurance
Before you think of stepping foot on foreign soil, you want to make sure that you are properly insured. While your regular health insurance may cover you for most issues, it is also a good idea to cover all of your bases with supplemental travel insurance. Travel insurance will cover issues such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, evacuation in the case of a natural disaster, and more.
An accident insurance policy will also cover extraneous issues that may not fall under any specific category. There are a number of insurance organizations that specialize in providing supplemental insurance policies for students that are studying abroad.
Research Local Customs
You will get more out of this experience if you take the time to research local customs and the culture in your new home while you study. Things to look into include the history of the region, the economy, the governmental structure, and the people and culture.
Be sure to spend time learning about words, phrases, and actions that the people of your host country may find offensive. Knowing these things may save you some potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable moments. Students who take the time to try to assimilate into their new surroundings naturally enjoy a more meaningful learning experience, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Learn the Currency
You cannot expect to find your way around successfully without knowing the ins and outs of the local currency. After you have familiarized yourself with the local currency, you can begin the process of setting up an online bank account. Be sure to also alert all of your bank and credit card companies that you will be living abroad for a time. This will prevent you from getting locked out of your account if it is flagged as suspicious.
It is also a good idea to bring some extra cash in the local currency for your first few days in the new country. It may take you some time to find a bank or convenient ATM machine. Having that available cash on hand will get you through those initial days until you have been acclimated to your new home.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Before your flight takes off, you should spend a considerable amount of time making a packing list. It is likely that you will add more items to the list as you learn more about what to expect with your study abroad experience.
Lean on students who have recently completed a study abroad program to find out what things you need the most and what items you can leave at home. Once you have your list ready, be sure to check it often to make sure you are not forgetting anything.
Taking these steps prior to your departure will ensure a smooth transition once you arrive at your study abroad destination. This will allow you to make the most out of this meaningful and fulfilling time in life.