What to Know About Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll meet people you would otherwise never have met, go on unique adventures, and make memories you’ll remember forever. Nonetheless, studying abroad is not all smooth sailing. To ensure you have a positive experience from beginning to end, here are a few things to bear in mind.
1. Where You Want to Go
Depending on the program and your major, you may have a huge number of options to study abroad. It’s crucial that you research your options in depth to ensure you make the right choice. Make sure you know what to expect and choose somewhere you’ll enjoy living. As well as speaking the language (or learning it while you’re there), you should be comfortable with the culture. Liking the food is a plus, too!
2. Monetary Considerations
Living abroad brings new challenges for budgeting. You’ll likely need to use a different currency and prices for things may vary from what you’re used to. It’s crucial to adapt your budget for the new country — and stick to it. Be aware that your bank may charge you a high fee for the currency exchange, which will make your purchases more expensive. It may be worth opening a new account or applying for an international credit card before you leave.
You should also inform your bank or credit card company that you’ll be abroad to prevent your card from being frozen. If you’ll be using cash frequently, familiarize yourself with the coins to be able to pay and count your change quickly.
3. Phone Plans
It’s helpful to have a working phone as soon as you arrive at the airport to be able to contact whoever is picking you up or to make your own way to your accommodation. As your current cell phone plan may have an expensive roaming fee, find out if the provider offers an international plan. Alternatively, you can purchase a new plan at the airport.
4. Packing the Right Clothes
Something that’s easy to overlook is the weather, particularly if you’re from a country where temperatures remain much the same year round. Find out if it’s likely to be hot or cold, how the humidity is, and whether it rains or snows a lot during the time of year you’ll be living there. Although you always have the option to buy more clothing when you arrive, it makes sense to come as prepared as possible.
5. Emergency Numbers
You may have never needed to call an emergency number in your life, but it’s still worth learning a few basic ones for your new country. In addition to numbers for the emergency services, memorize or write down the number for your university, just in case something happens to your phone.
6. Culture Shock
It’s common to experience homesickness when you first arrive in a new country, due to being far away from home in an unfamiliar setting. Even if you know what to expect, you may experience some culture shock.
To cope, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your university may have wellness services you can use. You can also try to meet other international students who are facing the same circumstances as you. Call your friends and family regularly to feel less alone and bring things with you that remind you of home, such as food. Finally, keep an open mind and enjoy the experience — after all, it will be over almost before you know it.
A great place to study abroad is Canada — for the world-class universities and all the fun you’ll have in student living. Ottawa international students can find great housing at 1Eleven to complete their study abroad experience. Since utilities are included and all suites are fully furnished, you can move in straight away. Book a video tour to see it for yourself before you arrive.