When you’re getting ready for your semester abroad, there’s a lot of excitement in the air. During this time, you’re packing your luggage and making a to-do list but it’s important to prepare as much as possible for the first few weeks in a new country to ensure everything is in place before your studies.
Below, I’ve detailed important items and reminders that will help ease your transition as an international student in a new country.
Immerse Yourself In The Culture
It’s very exciting to live in a new place. Get ready for a wide range of individuals you’ll meet along the way, activities you’ll participate in, and events you’ll attend during your education journey abroad. A great way to grasp another culture is by experiencing it, so be sure to embrace every opportunity from exploring the local customs to meeting new people. I suggest maintaining a positive outlook, being open-minded, and joining any student clubs that match your skills or interests. Joining online student chat groups like The Student Room can help you engage with other students and give you a chance to expand your network outside of your classroom.
Look Into Student Discounts
You can maximize your budget by leveraging all the student discounts offered. Research which stores, restaurants, gyms, and cafés provide student discounts in your study destination. Public transit is often the best choice for navigating around any city especially if there’s a discounted student rate.
If you wish to take advantage of student discounts abroad, you can apply for a globally recognised student ID. While there are several student discount cards, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the most well-known, and the only one that's an internationally-accepted proof of full-time student status. It is issued in over 130 countries and gives you access to over 150,000 discounts and perks worldwide.
Open A Bank Account
Managing your funds as an international student is an important task and a bank account is among the first things an overseas student will require. It’s essential to select one that provides you with a great selection of services and benefits, as this will be a necessary tool throughout your time abroad. The best course of action is to conduct your research and consult a financial advisor. When you arrive in your new country, you can visit a local branch and speak to the bank representative to learn how to apply for debit and credit cards, how to use these cards and the best investment options for you. A credit card is very important in countries to help you build your credit score for future purchases and long-term plans.
Obtain A Phone and A SIM Card
To stay connected with your friends and family and stay up to date on your classes, it’s helpful to obtain a phone in your new study abroad destination. There are several phone service providers, so it’s key to choose the one that best fits your requirements and price range. Phone providers may have some incentives for students, so do your research beforehand to get the best deal.
Choosing to study abroad can be a great decision. By preparing and planning, strive to make the most of each opportunity and obstacle that comes your way.
The author is Karunn Kandoi, India Head of ApplyBoard, a Canadian Edtech company that helps international students apply for post-secondary studies abroad.