What Every Student Should Know About Studying Abroad

Written by  //  2012/11/06  //  Academics, Study Abroad  //  Comments Off on What Every Student Should Know About Studying Abroad

If you have the opportunity to study abroad while attending college, then take it. Studying abroad can expand your horizons, enabling you to rub shoulders with people of different cultures and enjoy a first-hand experience like none other. Your stint overseas can also benefit your career as that time abroad can help you acquire a new language, make fresh contacts and give you an appreciation for your life as American. To make the most of your time abroad, consider the following:

1. Plan Ahead.

Your college or university may allow you to spend the summer between your sophomore or junior year or your junior or senior year abroad, and give you credit for your time abroad. That is, if you enroll at a partner university or other accepted program. Still, you need to plan ahead because you will need time to get a passport, a visa, get medical vaccinations and perhaps raise cash.

If college credit is offered, you may find that all or some of your credits will transfer. If you study abroad for the summer, you may get all of 3 credits. Georgia College, for instance, awards from 3 to 9 credits, depending on the program.

2. Use Public Transit.

In the U.S., cars rule. In Europe, especially as a student, you’ll either walk, ride a bicycle or take public transit. Train service across the continent is excellent with rail passes enabling you to travel from country to country just as easily as you can travel from state to state. In other parts of the world, as in Asia, trains are popular there too, as are buses. Look for mass transit passes to save you money.

Consider NOT renting a car abroad even if you have that opportunity. The driving laws vary from country to country and if you get in an accident, you can have a legal and financial hassle to deal with.

3. Shop With Care.

Quite easily, you can arrive at your destination and begin to spend like crazy. Belgian chocolates. Costa Rican coffee. Native handicrafts. What great buys! Pace yourself when abroad; establish a budget and shop with care. Use local currency and make sure that you have enough money to last as long as you are abroad.

If you are able to find great buys abroad and stay within your budget, you may find that you have too much stuff to carry home with you. International shipping can be costly, but may cost less than stuffing it into a bag and paying checking fees to your airline. Both UPS and FEDEX operate internationally, familiar companies to use for shipping items back home.

4. Take in the Sites.

When in Rome do as the Romans. Wherever you plant your feet abroad, make sure that the dust does not gather underneath for long. Take in the places and historic sites that everyone visits, as you’ll only have a limited amount of time to see what you want. Take pictures, blog your travels and brush up on your language skills. Journal what you learn in the host country’s language.

Eat at local cafes, take in clubs and make weekend excursions to other cities and countries. If you are not comfortable with traveling to a certain area, go with a travel group.

5. Get an ISIC.

Your college student i.d. may not be enough when traveling abroad. Get an International Student Identity Card or ISIC, the only globally recognized student card of its kind. Millions of students have this card, which also offers benefits beyond your picture i.d. Because of its widespread popularity, discounts are available on hotel stays, rail tickets, restaurants, clubs, shops, museums and select services. This card is also good on your return to the states, offering discounts at retailers everywhere.

An Opportunity

You may not have the chance to travel abroad again in your life, at least to the country where you plan to study. You’ll visit new places, meet new faces and perhaps whet your appetite for international travel post-college.

Rutgers University: Top 10 Reasons Why Study Abroad Will Boost Your Employment and Graduate School Prospects — http://careerservices.rutgers.edu/reasons.shtml
Ken Ripoll is the founder of AllstarPassports.com, a Los Angeles Passport expediter specializing in passport renewals and visas to China.

Comments are closed.