10 things you need to do before studying abroad

Elise Metcalf is currently studying International Relations at the University of Exeter, and is about to move to Washington D.C. to study for a year at an American University. She is also documenting her own experiences. Below, Elise will tell us what we should prepare before going to study abroad.

Preparing to study abroad can be a complicated process. If the application process hasn't been stressful enough for you, now you'll see, it's just the beginning. After submitting your application, you still have a lot of things to sort out before you can pack your bags and go. These could be things because of your eagerness to go to your dream land that you accidentally overlooked.

When I was accepted by American University, I felt extremely happy and happy when my efforts paid off. This will be a year of studying abroad as part of my International Relations program at the University of Exeter. However, the work to do after receiving the admission letter turned out to be no simpler than it was before. I guarantee there will be a lot of things to arrange, even if you already have a place in the classroom in America.

I think you should prepare everything as soon as you receive the invitation. The process is likely to take longer than you expected, and procrastination can be extremely stressful before you get there. My tip is to get a piece of paper large enough to hold all of your plans for the coming year. When you put everything in one place, and if you arrange it early, you will feel very light.


This is a huge concern from the moment you apply for the course to the moment you receive your offer of admission. First of all, can you afford to spend that time abroad on your own? If unsure, is there a loan you can take out? A year abroad doesn't come cheap, especially if you go to countries like the US. All kinds of expenses you will have to consider, air tickets to go there and return tickets to your home country, travel during vacations, insurance, visa fees, housing, accommodation, etc. 

You should list all the possible fees you will have to pay for a year abroad, and make sure you have enough money to cover all of your needs. In addition, you must also be sure how you will be financially supported when you go to school, and how much more you will have to spend for the trips and experiences once you arrive there. If you know this information from the beginning, then when you start paying these fees, you will not be surprised, you will even feel very lucky because it is all planned in advance.

Types of application forms:

Once you've been allowed to study abroad for a year, chances are you'll be drenched in a rain of applications. Click through the papers, the forms from the university at home, to the school over there. Remember, check your email to make sure what information you will have to provide and fill out the form completely. 

The exchange between the two schools you attend can be quite time-consuming, and often the difference in methods, the system will delay your work. Therefore, you should deduct time to complete these tasks early to avoid being late.

Visa (Visa):

Do you need a visa for that academic year? If you are traveling to countries outside of Europe, you may need to apply for a visa to enter the country. Usually your school, or the other school will provide detailed instructions on visa procedures, the type of visa you need to apply for, and provide relevant forms. 

However, you yourself must make an appointment and interview with the embassy to apply for a visa. Again, I advise you to spend a lot of time on this, because embassies are usually very busy and sometimes you will have to wait a while to make an appointment. At the same time, you should also know that embassies will collect your original passport for at least a week to issue a visa. If you intend to go somewhere during your visa application period then you should reconsider.


You will probably need insurance for 12 months abroad, for example travel and health insurance that will cover the costs involved in the country you are going to study in. If you are going to the US, you should remember that in the US, the requirements are very strict and insurance of course is not cheap at all. You should add this premium to your list of expenses. 

Like my university in the US has a Health Insurance program that students are required to participate in, unless they can prove they are covered for medical expenses by equivalent means. Applying for Health Insurance is also quite simple and quick, and the university you are studying in your home country or the other country will also guide and help you wholeheartedly.


Don't forget to find a place to stay for the upcoming year abroad. Some universities have dormitories for students on campus, but sometimes you have to find your own room. Like me, at first I was quite worried when I found out that the school I was going to didn't have a dormitory for international students and I had to find a house myself. But luckily, the school only gave me a Facebook group of students who want to find houses and find roommates. 

From there, I can easily contact students who are looking for roommates and arrange my accommodation. However, the time of searching for a house was really stressful for me, and next time I won't be as "jumping to the feet" like before. You should prioritize finding a place to live to easily arrange for the upcoming school year.


This is quite obvious, but in a "mess" of many things, sometimes you overlook this seemingly easy thing. How do you get to the other school? You may be traveling by plane, so be sure to book early to get a good price. Also, do you need to book tickets in advance to visit home on vacation? Planning early will help you feel more comfortable and save money, so as soon as you have determined your destination, you should choose a departure date and book a ticket.

Health check:

Quite a few universities require you to provide your medical records in order to enter the school's system and serve as the basis for issuing health insurance. You must make sure your medical examination is clear and fully prepared to submit whenever required by the school. Like me, it's so hard. My medical certificate was left at my parents' house, so my parents had to give it back to me at the university address. Fortunately, because it was not in a hurry, everything was fine. But if I didn't find the papers until the last minute, maybe things wouldn't have been so smooth.

Store things you don't bring:

When you go abroad for a year, you can't bring everything with you, especially when you're traveling by plane. Therefore, you need to put all the things you do not bring with you in a certain place so that it is easy to find when needed. If you're lucky, your parents can come to your room and bring it home to help, but sometimes it's not so lucky. If you can't get your parents to help you, you can find storage services or ask a friend if they can keep it for you for a year to come. There are many companies that provide this service, although the price is not cheap, it may be the only option for you.


It seems a bit off topic from the above, but this is something I've had a lot of headaches with and an important one I had to deal with before I hit the road. Are you in love with someone? If yes, are you going to continue the long distance relationship or break up? It took my boyfriend and I a very long time, we both avoid the issue every time we talk, but that only adds stress and anxiety to both of us, because no one really knows what the other is doing. think nothing. 

In the end, he and I talked about our concerns, then it turned out that we both wanted the same things, decided to continue getting to know each other and try to be together whenever possible. . A year is obviously a very long time for a relationship, so I think you should be frank about this to know what the other person wants. Don't dodge, buddy.

On arrival:

Finally, when everything is sorted out, you can relax a bit. Continue to find out how you get from the airport to your new accommodation, and how you will pay for meals and other fees while you wait for the bank to open your account. Can you open a bank account first, and then need to sign a new phone contract when you get to the other party? When you get this far, it's almost done. These are the last things you must do before you set foot in your new land and have a great time on the other side.