Transitioning to a new school is always hard, especially when you’re transitioning into university. The friends you’ve been going to school with for years now are all going their separate ways to local-ish universities. You on the other hand? You’ve chosen an even bigger adventure. Going abroad. This way you get to see the world, have a whole new experience and get your education all in one trip. Before jetting off on your new adventure, make sure you are prepared for the new school year. Besides the necessary travel documents and required vaccinations, here are some tips on how to prepare yourself.*
*Also applies to when you study abroad for a semester
1. Research the local area
This way you’ll know exactly where you want or need to go without having to Google it the day of. Look for grocery stores and local malls so you know where to purchase the necessities. Local restaurants are also something you want to take note of because as decent as school food may be, you’ll definitely want to eat out sometimes.
2. Make sure you understand the transit system
Although cabbing it around the city seems great, but as a student the price is kind of out of your budget (there are more important things to pay for such as your Netflix subscription and take out). Assuming there is a subway or a bus system, you’ll want to take a look at the routes and what ones will take you to where you want to go while you’re a school. You may also want to invest in a metro pass if you’re going to be using it on a daily basis.
Quick tip: If you’re visiting the area before moving to school, try to use the transit system instead of cabbing so you can get used to it before living there.
3. Budget, budget, budget!
Even though you may have access to a lot of things at school, it’s easy to let your money get away from you by spending on things you don’t need. Make sure you allot a certain amount of money to transportation, food and other living expenses before you spend money on things you don’t need. You should also make sure you see what type of charges your bank has for foreign currency transactions as you may get charged a lot more for using your credit or debit card outside of your home country. If the charges are too high and not worth it, try opening a bank account at your school or in your new city to cut down on transaction fees.
4. Be a tourist in your own city
Make sure to go exploring in your area and the city that you’re studying in as soon as you arrive. You may say you will do it at some point but before you know it you’ll run out of time when school begins.
5. Search out connections
Being alone in a new place may seem scary at first, but even having one go-to friend who going through the same experience makes all of the difference. Reach out to people you know to see if they have any family or friends living in the area to help you get accustomed to the area. If you can’t find anyone, check out any Facebook groups of people who are also in your class or study abroad program and befriend them!
6. Finally, don’t forget about your friends and family back home
Although it’s amazing to have some freedom and independence in a new country, it could also be a little scary. You may meet a lot of new people at school, but you should always remember to make time for those back home. Try to set up a system where you schedule some Facetime time, or invest in an international text or call plan. This way if you’re ever lonely or want to share your excitement with those close to you, they’re always a click away.