Preparing to study abroad is an exciting time, but can also be daunting. There seems to be a million things to remember before you even step on the plane! Here are my top tips for getting organised and calming those nerves.
Make the most of your university
One of the most valuable resources prior to studying abroad is the university itself. The University of Nottingham has a pre-departure conference with specific information about the country and the university you are going to. These events are useful, because they give you the opportunity to ask students who have already been any questions you may have.
Study abroad advisors are also a wealth of knowledge about the important things that you need to think about. Visas, accommodation, how credits will transfer, module choices – they’ll know it all.
Find out if anyone else from your university is going too
Something as simple as talking to someone else in your position can make such a difference. You can get to know each other, meet up when you arrive, maybe even coordinate flights. Knowing that I wasn’t the only person from my course going to Montreal was really comforting.
If there isn’t anyone else, try to find groups on social media. Most universities will have Facebook pages for incoming students (both exchange and freshers), and these are great places for getting to know the people you will be studying with! Arrange to meet someone at the airport, or suggest exploring your new home together.
Get your Visas and travel documents sorted early
For someone who had never needed a Visa before, getting my study permit was pretty intimidating. Luckily everything was quite straightforward, the most important thing is getting it done early. Your university or a quick google search will let you know exactly what you need for the country you are going to and how much time it usually takes to process. Set yourself a deadline, and try to get it all sent off in plenty of time – not only can you breathe a sign of relief, you can start thinking about all the fun things you want to do when you get there!
Research, research, research
Once you’ve got all your travel documents, module choices and accommodation sorted, you can start planning your time abroad! Your host university’s website is a good place to start. They will have details of fresher’s events, international student festivals and societies that you can get involved in. Also think about where you may want to travel to while you’re out there, this may be your only chance to see that part of the world. Make a list of everything you want to do and compare notes when you arrive – you’ll definitely find someone else who wants to visit the same city, or join the same club!