How to Move Abroad for School

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How to Study Abroad

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If you are moving to university, you have a lot of fascinating opportunities at your disposal. Taking your school move to the next level and making it international is one of the most interesting things a student can do. Studying abroad is not simple, but it is rewarding if done correctly.

Find a study abroad program

The success of your move abroad is determined before you get on a plane. Choosing the right study abroad program is extremely important, and needs to be done well before your target semester. There are a variety of things to consider when researching possible study abroad programs.
  • What makes sense for your major? If you are studying French, it would be an advantage to study in a French-speaking country. Although any major will receive credits for studying abroad, you should keep your academic goals in mind when searching for a program and location.
  • Where do you want to go? If you are more interested in exploring the world than a program specifically tailored to your major, you can be picky when choosing your location. What place would you like to visit and learn more about?
  • Credits will transfer easily through your own university and the application process is streamlined. On the other hand, if you choose a program outside of your current university, you'll have more options.
  • Make sure you are academically eligible. Keep your grades up and be prepared to pass tests to gain entrance into a study abroad program.
  • Choose the type of housing you want at your destination. Will you be living in a family's home or in school-provided dorm rooms?

Research your destination

Once you figure out the program and destination of your move, you can research everything about the area and the program.
  • Ask around campus for information from any students who went abroad for a similar program.
  • Research the foreign university you will be attending.
  • Learn everything you can about the destination country, including the language, culture, and government, as well as fun things like where to visit or what movies natives like to watch.
  • Make sure you have a valid passport and look up the visa options for students in your destination. Begin the application process online.
  • Research the customs regulations for your destination. Since your housing will be fully furnished, you probably won't need to move a large shipment to your destination. Still, make sure you don't plan on packing any restricted items in your luggage.
  • Try to use and learn the country's language. Practice will help you adapt.
  • If you will be moving into a family's home, contact them and get to know them before the move.

Packing

You may not need movers or shippers for studying abroad since it's a temporary move to a fully furnished residence. Everything you need can fit in your luggage when you travel overseas to your destination.

What to pack:
If for some reason you need to ship some items, hire a good international mover, get an in-house estimate before the move, and ask the school if any moving expenses can be reimbursed.

When in Rome (or wherever you are)

Once you make the move abroad with your university, there are things you can do to make the best of your time in the foreign country.
  • Make friends within your program. You are working and living with the same classmates most of the time. They are going through a similar experience, so it would make perfect sense to become friendly.
  • Try to make friends with locals, too. A local friend can give you great insight into the culture and area. Having friends within your program is great, but it would be a waste to ignore the people who actually live in the country.
  • Remember that you're there to study. Half of your time should be spent on schoolwork. Go to your classes and interact with your teachers. You even may get credits for visiting culturally significant locations with your program, so there's no excuse to do poorly.
  • Safely explore the other side of life in your new country. Don't wait for the school to set up field trips, go out and experience the country yourself. Just remember to stay in groups and be responsible. You shouldn't forget that you are in an unfamiliar country with laws, customs, and personalities to which you're not accustomed.
  • Use the internet to remain connected with friends and family back home. Studying abroad is a temporary move, so you don't need to sever all ties to your old life. Just don't focus too much on home while you are abroad. Staying in touch is good, but you shouldn't miss out on the incredible experience that is happening right where you are.

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on November 26, 2014

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