5 things to do before studying abroad


Anyone who has ever studied abroad will tell you that it was one of the best experiences of their life. What’s not to like about seeing a new part of the world, making new friends, exploring independently, and making memories that will last a lifetime? But before you head off, there’s a few things you need to do. To make it easy for you, here’s five simple tips to make your year abroad go smoothly.

Choose the right program. Do you want to study abroad for a full year or just six months? Most universities tend to offer half-year courses for exchange students, but there are longer courses on offer. Read as many reviews as you can, speak to former students who took the course, and ask for advice from your university’s study abroad adviser. Honestly, you will have an amazing time regardless of the program, but it’s still important to choose the right program for you!

Pack light. Some students who study abroad choose to ship a few boxes over to their new destination, but some take the bare minimum and buy what they need when they arrive. From my experience, I’d suggest travelling as lightly as possible, especially if you’re only there for six months. You can buy all your essentials in your destination country, and it’s a great way of getting out and exploring your new town or city at the same time.

Want to work while you’re abroad? This is a great idea to earn some extra money in your spare time and blend in with the locals. Of course, you’ll want to travel around your destination country, so you’ll definitely need the money! That said, you’ll need to make sure you’re up to speed with employment legislation and find out if you’re eligible to work or if there’s any documentation you’ll need to arrange before you go.

Work out where you’ll live. Some universities offer accommodation for exchange students, but some will leave that up to you to sort out. Don’t assume that your accommodation will be sorted and ready for you when you step off the plane – find out where you’ll be staying and if you need to make any arrangements yourself.

Write up a budget. Never done this before? Well, now is the time to learn! If you’re studying in Eastern Europe or South East Asia, you’ll find the cost of living to be significantly cheaper than what you’re used to – but you may end up spending more if you head to Australia, the UK, or one of the Nordic countries. It’s important that you have a general idea of how much you’ll be spending on a monthly basis and you’ll probably find in your first couple of months, you’ll end up spending way more than you originally anticipated!

See your doctor. No one likes going to the doctor, but this is really important, especially if you’re travelling to somewhere off the beaten track. You might need certain immunizations or medication, and if you’re on repeat medication, order enough to cover you for the length of your study period. You’ll also need your doctor to write up a letter to accompany your medication, as customs often ask to see this when you arrive.

It might seem like there’s a lot to do before you head off on your study abroad adventure (see here for a few more tips), but once you’ve got it all out of the way, you can do all the fun things – like planning your weekend getaways, making travel plans, and reading city guidebooks! There will no doubt be things you can’t plan for and a few bumps along the way, but hopefully these tips will help you hit the ground running.


Guest Posting from Victoria Moretti, a professional writer from the UK who contributes to Abroad101 from time to time. Victoria loves to write about businesses and macro economic affairs that move the needle. Her other loves include travel, long walks and flat whites.

How To Budget Whilst Studying Abroad

Préparatifs de voyageHow To Budget Whilst Studying Abroad

Your dream has finally come true – you’ve decided that you’re going to go and study abroad. You’re bound to feel a little excited about your future, but it’s important that you take the time to start planning the details and preparing yourself for your adventure overseas. As your departure date draws closer, you’ll be thinking not only about where you will be and what you’ll be studying, but also your budget too.

Budgeting may sound like you’re restricting yourself, but it will actually help you to make the most out of your time and money. We’re going to look at some simple ways you can budget your time and money in order to improve your experience whilst studying abroad. Yes, whilst studying abroad!

Your Welcome Budget

When you arrive you’re probably going to feel excitement and enthusiasm to get out there and enjoy yourself. During the first few weeks, don’t be afraid to allow yourself some extra cash to try local delicacies, go to bars and restaurants and get comfortable in your new surroundings. Chances are that you’ll be busy during this period but try to keep a daily record of how much food, drinks, and other items are costing you. As students will tell you in their  study abroad reviews, save the souvenirs for later in your trip, once you find out where the best deals are.

Budgeting Week By Week

After a few weeks, you should have an understanding of the local currency, what is good value and what’s extortionate. You’ll have been to the supermarket numerous times and stocked up on daily essentials. This is the best time for you to sit down and work out your average expenditure per week. Is there anything you could cut out of your routine? Perhaps you go to a coffee shop every day, how much could you save if you had a coffee at home instead? Think about what is essential for your day-to-day life and what is a treat.

Optimize Your Free Time

Some abroad experiences like volunteer or internships don’t include much in the way of classroom time, they suggest you learn outside the classroom. There will be spare time, sometimes downtime and this time abroad is a brilliant opportunity for you to think about self-improvement. You will be around new people and you’ll be free of many of the distractions you had back at home, both of which make it the perfect time for you to improve your personal skill set. Whilst abroad, you’ll likely be spending time on a computer at some point nearly every day. Instead of just sending Social Media updates, you might want to consider an online course to keep your academic skills sharp and to advance your career potential. Have a look MOOC’s for some options, or consider onlineitcourses.com for a wide selection of practical training courses that’ll help you to confidently use your computer, and your free time, to their full potential.

Budget your Studying too!

Remember, you are still a student and you can’t just spend all of your time outside the classroom. Living in a foreign country is such an awesome experience that provides endless opportunities; just don’t loose your study habits. There’s so much to see and do you’ll need to budget your time well. By applying these easy tips above, you’ll have worry-free money to spend on whatever you see as a treat. Make a list of exciting experiences you’d love to have during your time abroad, and then write a rough price for each experience. Keep this list visible, on your wall or as wallpaper on your phone or laptop. Constantly looking at this wish list will keep you in check during your day-to-day life and it will give you loads to look forward to.

These tips are designed to help you get the most out of your upcoming adventure by ensuring that you really think about how you spend your time and money. Budgeting may seem boring and unnecessary, but when it’s done correctly, it could literally save you hundreds of dollars and hours and help you get the most out of your experience abroad and afterward. Lastly, speaking about budgets, don’t forget to budget some time after your experience abroad to complete a review and then use it to get an edge in the career market by joining “The Study Abroad Advantage“.


Guest Posting from Victoria Moretti, a professional writer from the UK who contributes to Abroad101 from time to time. Victoria loves to write about businesses and macro economic affairs that move the needle. Her other loves include travel, long walks and flat whites.