Preparing for a Semester Abroad
You’re about to take part in a very exciting part of your life-a semester abroad, studying in a foreign country. Not every student is able to take advantage of this opportunity, and you probably realize how incredible it will be to live and study in a foreign country for a few months. Of course, before you jump in to your new life, there’s plenty to get done at home. Documentation, medical concerns, cultural education, and more are all on your to do list, and we’ll discuss them here.
Be sure that you have your paperwork ready to go. If you don’t have a passport just yet, you’ll want to apply for one as soon as you know that you’ll be going overseas, and possibly even before you get confirmation. Your passport may take some time to come in, especially if you have difficulty providing other forms of documentation. At the same time, you should register with the US Embassy in your destination country. You should also make sure that you are on top of your visa situation. Some destination countries require them, and like passports, they can take a while. You will also want to ensure that your scholarship paperwork, as well as semester abroad program paperwork is all complete. You don’t want to have anything holding you back from making it overseas at the last moment!
Talk to your doctor about medical requirements for overseas travel. Discuss the country that you will be going to and find out what kind of shots you will need before visiting the country. For some countries, you may need to be set up on an immunization schedule well before your actual departure. Your doctor can also discuss special medical needs like prescriptions and treatment, as well as tell you what hazards to avoid in a particular country.
Learn about the country you will be living in. You may have an idea of what a country is like from your studies, especially if you are traveling as a foreign language student. But if you are not sure, or you feel as if you haven’t gotten a complete picture, be sure to read up beforehand. Find out what accommodations are like, learn about food, customs, temperature, and transportation, so you won’t be surprised, and you’ll know what to pack for your trip. Having this knowledge can help make for an easy transition and cut down on culture shock.
A semester or more abroad is an exciting opportunity, and your preparation for this trip can be exciting as well. Be sure to take the appropriate steps to ensure that you’re ready to take part in your educational adventure.