Breaking down classroom walls and finding real life learning opportunities can take knowledge to the extremes. Study abroad occasions are the pinnacle of real life learning. With the right planning, you can be on your way to combining culture with knowledge!
Don’t get lost in the leg work needed to make it happen.Logistics and paperwork can bog down even the most diligent student. It’s a shame because so much educational opportunity can be lost in red tape.
With careful planning and the right guidance, you don’t have to be on the platform waving while the opportunity train leaves the station—especially when that opportunity gives you the chance to study abroad.
Get Your VISA and Passport
Get your VISA and passport right away. There can be a lot of waiting involved in obtaining a VISA, so don’t procrastinate with this step. Make sure you apply for a VISA as soon as you get excepted to a study abroad program.
You’ll need your passport as well, so be sure to do the legwork involved in gathering all the necessary proof you’ll need.
Call the nearest embassy or consulate to the country you plan to visit and determine the VISA requirements for the study abroad programs. Some VISA applications require:
- A letter of admission from the institution
- Proof that you can financially support yourself as well as pay for education
- Biometrics aka fingerprints
After you get all the logistic paperwork in, you can begin mentally preparing yourself for the experience.
Explore The Department of State
Not all the answers are in the classroom—prepare yourself with some street smarts.
The Department of State has a wealth of information for anyone wishing to leave the country for any reason. The site offers tips, links, and all the necessary forms that you’ll need to help you make your experience worthwhile.
Arm yourself with knowledge of any issues with safety that may be occurring in your destination country. Find resources for where to turn should problems arise. A quick visit to this site along with some due diligence to put a safety plan in place is sure to afford you all the necessary “what if” tools.
Prepare for Culture Shock
Spend some time researching the customs and local traditions for your destination. Watch movies, read books, and talk with people who have been there.
If you familiarize yourself with the culture, you’ll sure to find any new occasion to be a learning experience. More importantly, you’ll avoid any offensive mistakes that could cause you embarrassment.
There’s no ambiguity—preparing for a study abroad experience will stir up much as much anxiety as it does excitement. The experience will be different, it’ll be new, and it’ll be scary. But without a doubt, it’ll be life changing and extremely rewarding. Bon voyage.