When making the decision to study abroad, students have a tough time figuring out whether or not it is something they would truly like to do. After all, it is a large investment regarding time, money, and dedication. Besides just having the proper resources, one must be ready to be officially on their own in a new territory.
If you decide to study abroad, you might want to start saving some money, which you could use towards flights, accommodation and important reading material. Why not start by browsing one of the various price comparison websites such as Love Money or a last-minute deal website. They help you find the best available deal for all kinds of products and services, from flights to insurance plans.
The first obstacle you will need to overcome is funding. Without enough money, you’re not going anywhere. If you or your family can/will pay for the session out of pocket, the burden is lifted rather easily. However, many students aren’t so fortunate. If you have enough time to plan ahead, it’s possible to work and save up some cash. However, most full-time students don’t have the time to save up this kind of money. A popular option involves utilizing student loans. After calculating all necessary expenses (don’t forget to include spending money), apply for student loans. Exhaust all state and federal grants before doing this. You may end up getting more money than you were even aware of. The less loan money you need, the better off you will be with interest payments in the long run.
Besides making sure that funding will be successfully handled, it’s also important to consider whether or not this is the best educational experience. When choosing a school to study at, make sure they have the program you are interested in. Also, if you are not relatively familiar with any other languages, choosing an English-speaking school is important. It’s going to be hard enough not knowing the customs/culture, so communicating effectively is important.
Essentially, you’re probably so excited for the trip that you think, “I’m not going to miss being home at all!” However, once you get there and things start to sink in, the feeling of loneliness and homesickness might start to creep up on you. Bring something that makes you feel at home, like your favorite stuffed animal or sports poster. Also, be sure to devise a system to talk with people from home. You can purchase a specific phone or calling card, or plan to remain in contact with a VoIP system, Skype is a popular choice.
Lastly, do your research! Odds are, you’re going to know the exact place you will be studying months before your departure. Take the days leading up to look up interesting attractions, places to eat, and specific customs. You don’t want the culture shock to be so intense that you’re running home crying after the first week.
Studying abroad can be an amazing experience in several different ways. Primarily, you get to have an educational experience that you will be able to learn things you couldn’t have learned by remaining stationary. Also, expand your world socially by meeting people you never would have even come in contact with. Perhaps after graduation, networking with contacts you met abroad could have an impact on your future career. Never take for granted an experience of a lifetime