Moving Abroad For Studies? Alleviate Your Concerns With These 10 Crucial Points
Between the tussle of making time for family and friends, and preparing for the impending takeoff, the list of things that need sorting seems never-ending
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When planning to attend a foreign university, it falls upon oneself to take care of this, think about that, make the necessary arrangements in advance, and all that jazz. Between the tussle of making time for family and friends, and preparing for the impending takeoff, the list of things that need sorting seem never-ending.
Fret not! This compiled list covers a wide range of potential concerns. So, before you leave your home for the airport, make sure that you have taken care of:
1. Finding secure and comfortable housing in your host city
It is advisable to find a place to stay which is not just close to the university campus but also located at the most convenient distance from the city centre and major landmarks such as hospitals, supermarkets, banks, public transport depot, etc. Given that comfort and security are key considerations, you will want to opt for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). Such housing options are exclusively designed for students and are, therefore, at once reliable and safe with endless opportunities to make new friends.
2. Managing your finances
One of the smartest steps that you can take to have a pleasant overseas education experience is setting up a student bank account in your host country. This will help you save on unnecessary transactional charges and you may also stand to avail other benefits on offer. Secondly, arranging for forex support and being aware of the currency exchange rate is essential for carrying out secure payments. Further, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local denominations beforehand so that you do not fumble with currency-related challenges later on while shopping.
It is also advisable to keep some cash on you at all times. However, be sure to look up the immigration rules to confirm how much cash you are legally allowed to carry into the country so as not to incur any fines.
Make sure to have a robust healthcare plan in place before you board your flight. Lookup any plans on offer to international students in your study abroad destination. For instance, the UK extends healthcare benefits to overseas students under the National Healthcare System (NHS), at no extra cost. On the other hand, in countries like Australia, it is mandatory to purchase an Overseas Student Healthcare Cover (OSHC) ahead of your arrival.
Even in case of free healthcare services, students must remember that the scheme will kick in only after they are officially registered at the university. Those planning to arrive ahead of orientation week must, therefore, purchase short-term medical insurance for the interim period. Many countries also require students to get certain preventative tests and vaccinations done mandatorily as part of the visa process.
Further, if you are on prescriptive pills, do not forget to carry a doctor’s certificate and ensure that the volumes of medication you plan to carry are within legally permissible limits in the new country.
4. Career opportunities during and after the course
Students planning to gather work experience during their time at university must educate themselves about work opportunities during and after their graduate studies. The student visa for many countries offers work permit for limited hours. In the UK, for instance, postgraduate students on a tier-4 visa can work for up to 20 hours a week during the stipulated term. Many universities may offer on-campus work opportunities at the library, research assistants to the teaching faculty, administrative duties, etc. Knowing your options beforehand will make it easier to secure the right work opportunities without having to undergo unnecessary hassle.
5. Keeping a healthy eating habit
If you have special dietary requirements then prepare well in advance for a smooth transition into life overseas. This includes creating a list of supermarkets that stock their meals of choice, avoiding restaurants and cafes that use ingredients you avoid consuming, packing non-perishable items that may be scarce in the host country, etc.
You should also look up easily accessible restaurants in the neighbourhood of your new residence that serve homeland cuisines to help keep homesickness at bay. Depending on whether your accommodation is catered or self-catered – and in general also –it is advisable to learn basic culinary skills to maintain a healthy diet.
6. Servicing options for your electronic devices
In all likelihood, you will be carrying personal electronic devices. Make sure these items are compatible with the power supply in your country of study to avoid damaging them. Moreover, you should also remember to carry international adapters for hassle-free usage during your time at the university. It may also be worthwhile to purchase devices like laptops, etc. upon arrival at university as they may be available at better prices.
7. Student concessions
As an international student, you may qualify for various student discounts and heavily subsidized services during your time at university. These can range from fee-free overdraft at banks and discounts at leading retail stores to concessions on travel passes. It will be worth your while to find out in advance what free resources you are entitled to during your time at university to avoid wasteful expenses later.
8. Convenient transport options
It is important to figure out the best transport options in your host city as it will not only help you travel in a cost-efficient manner but will also save you a lot of time. In some cities like London, for instance, you can get yourself an all-purpose travel pass to access the city’s extensive transport network at subsidised rates.
9. Local weather conditions
Packing sufficient essentials suited to the climate of your host country is crucial. You can compare the cost and quality of weather-appropriate clothing and accessories between your home country and the study abroad destination to avoid over-packing. While it is advisable to carry a few essentials for an initial couple of days, you are likely to get superior products overseas that are better suited to local weather conditions.
10. Social etiquettes
Familiarising oneself with social norms of the host country is essential to have a pleasant study abroad experience. Make sure to read about the socio-cultural and religious norms in your country of study. While you may not be expected to follow them down to the T, being aware of the basic social etiquette will keep you from doing anything which may paint you in a bad light. After all, it is crucial to maintain a friendly and respectful relationship with the locals to seamlessly transition into your new lifestyle.
While it is next to impossible to anticipate everything beforehand, keeping in mind these ten points will prepare you to deal with anything which may come your way. In the end, when all is said and done, keeping an open mind and an optimistic attitude is the key to making the best out of your university experience!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house