Studying abroad is a fantastic way to learn a new language and live in a new culture. Earning credit for your degree while adventuring through a new country, what’s better?
Do you know the top ten countries to study abroad in?
7/30/90 Day Planning Breakdown
Make planning for this big adventure simple. Divide your planning into 3 blocks of time, 3-6 months out, 1 month out, and 1 week prior. This allows you to focus on the bigger picture items first, such as securing travel documents and funding and then focus on smaller items, such as discount train tickets and power adapters.
Use this checklist to help with the planning stages for studying abroad.
3-6 Months Prior to Departure
Finish applications & pick program
Confirm passport expiration date
Share news with family & friends!
Check travel visa requirements!
Finish any pre-requisite classes
Notify your employer
Apply for scholarships & grants
Create a budget & start saving!
Schedule Personal Appointments
Research local customs/holidays
Three to six months out you need to start preparing for the big picture of this trip. Securing travel documents, structuring your finance, and arranging for personal appointments are important during this time.
Remember that studying abroad in Japan and studying abroad in France are two very different experiences. Research any required travel visas, vaccinations, or identification documents you’ll need for your time there. If you’ll be driving, consider an international driver’s license.
Start scheduling your doctor’s, dentist, hair, and any other personal appointments you need to be done before your trip. Try to finish your personal appointments at least two weeks prior to leaving as it can only add to stress then.
Apply for scholarships, grants, or any other funding required. Start researching the cost of living of where you’ll be creating a budget that allows you to have some fun as well. Save a little consistently over a period of time and you’ll grow your study abroad fund!
Share the news with your family and friends! Take advice from others who’ve also had this experience or been to that country. Personal recommendations are worth gold, especially for restaurants and attractions.
1 Month Prior to Departure
Finalize your program details
Confirm travel accommodations
Confirm visa documents
Decide on travel insurance
Purchase discount bus/train passes
Make personal communications plan
Purchase welcome gift
Confirm travel credit card
Purchase wall adapter for charging cords
A month prior your focus should shift from the big picture to more day-to-day. Start thinking of things like your phone & laptop chargers, hair tools, and the outfits you’ll bring.
Keep in mind that you may need adapters and make sure to check the power outputs for your current hair tools. Some products that you use every day in the US, such as your hairdryer, may not be compatible with their wall voltage restrictions.
Start planning out the activities you want to do while you’re there. Discount passes for trains for buses can usually be purchased about a month ahead of time, saving you some money on travel while you’re there.
Check the local weather where you’ll be staying. Make sure you have a puffy winter coat or a swanky floral dress for your destination’s adventures. Be practical about what you’ll need and remember you’ll shop while you’re there.
Figure out what to do with your current cell phone provider. Calling internationally is super expensive and relying solely on social media has its own challenges. Explore your needs and compare what will work best for you.
Check if your bank charges for foreign transaction fees. If so, consider opening a credit card that doesn’t. Those fees may seem small, but they add up quickly!
Confirm your lodging and travel accommodations with your program leader. Introduce yourself to any roommates you may have.
Consider purchasing a small gift for your host as a warm way to start the friendship. Your host often cooks and provides housing, so a small gift is an easy way to impress them.
1 Week Prior to Departure
Set travel alerts for your banks & credit cards
Withdraw and exchange currency
Test all cords, chargers, and hair tools
Have you favorite home-cooked meals
Make duplicates of IDs and travel documents
One week left and its time to pack! Double check your packing list and make duplicates of all IDs and travel documents. Leave a copy with your parents and keep a copy hidden in your luggage just in case.
Withdraw any cash for free from your bank ahead of time. Currency exchange can be completed at your bank or the airport. Make sure to set travel alerts for your bank cards so they aren’t cancelled while you’re away.
Enjoy your favorite foods this last week. A new cuisine is part of the study abroad experience, though you may not always be a fan. Mom’s fresh baked cookies will surely be missed while away.
Studying abroad is such a fun and unique experience. If you’re lucky enough to go, then add this checklist to help with planning!