It is the dream of every ambitious student to travel the world, study at a great college or university, and compete with the best of the best brains from all over the world. For those students who take the plunge and enroll in a school abroad, it can be exciting and intimidating.
In this post, we will help you settle seamlessly into your overseas university and give you the tips you need to succeed in your quest for greatness.
1. Have Your Visa Ready
Students from selected nationalities do not need a student visa to study at a US-based university. You need to know if your country of origin is among these selected countries. If it isn’t, be sure to apply for a visa before booking your plane tickets.
The same applies to European colleges; students from EU-member countries can study anywhere on the continent without a visa, but students from other continents must have valid visas to join. Don’t wait until the last minute to determine your eligibility to study at your dream college.
2. Research Your Destination
How well do you understand your host nation’s laws, culture, religion, political stand, and educational curriculum? In the same vein, do you understand the local dialects? What do the university administrators expect from you? What are the dos and don’ts for a foreign student?
Seek answers to these questions, among others, before boarding the plane. The answers are readily available on the university website, international media sites, and social media.
3. Prepare for a Smooth Arrival
A smooth arrival translates to a smooth transition from the culture you are used to, to the new overseas culture. You will have a smooth landing if you have all the necessary travel documents with you, health insurance, proper airport pick-up payment arrangements, ready accommodation, and, of course, enough money to sustain you for an extended period.
It’s also a good idea to find reliable local contacts to help you absorb the culture shock that comes with moving abroad.
4. Make Copies of Your Important Documents
To avoid losing your important documents, including your passport, visa, and health insurance cards, make a point of photocopying them all. You can leave some copies in your dorm or apartment and then carry the rest with you.
For safety reasons, it is wise to only carry the original documents when absolutely necessary. In most situations, duplicates will be fine.
5. Have a Clear-Cut Plan
Your success or failure is dependent on how clear your academic goals are. Although you might need to revise and update your plan along the way, it is important to have a long-term career and life goal plan from the very first day in a foreign college.
Know what you want to study and the career you intend to pursue after graduation.
6. Find a Workable School-Life Balance
Studying at a local university, within your comfort zone, gives you a degree at the end. Studying abroad at a school in another country gives you more than just a degree. It teaches you many life skills like how to live among people with varied religious and political opinions. It also opens up your mind to new ideas, food, and career aspirations. You get to see the world from an advanced perspective.
However, you will only gain these skills if you dedicate a significant amount of your time to exploration. Study hard for your exams, but spare at least an hour per day or one day every week to interact with the locals as well as with your fellow foreign students.
7. Adopt the Local Culture
Even before boarding the plane, make a point of watching movies/documentaries, reading books, and listening to music about and from your soon-to-be home. If possible, start learning the country’s prominent language(s) while still at home and once there, continue to immerse yourself in the language. This will help you settle in faster.
8. Join a Club
Being in a club is a good strategy for getting your mind off books for a while. Clubs also help you make friends, learn things that aren’t taught in class, and develop as a person.
9. Spend Money But Not Extravagantly
Have a budget for all possible expenditures to curb extravagant and impulse buying. You are a student, after all. You don’t need to dine at 5-star restaurants or party all night every night. Be sure to spend your money only on important stuff such as groceries, school supplies, travel, and a few special souvenirs.
You can always make extra money by finding online jobs. Some interesting online jobs are: translating, online tutoring, resume writing, and website designing, just to name a few. This would even make a great addition to your CV.
10. Keep Your Professors Close
If you didn’t grasp a concept in class, the onus is on you to ask for clarifications from your professors. Make good use of office hours by showing a strong, genuine desire to study and learn. Your professor can even guide you into making the right career choices later in life.
About Lisa Mottins: Lisa is a young, ambitious writer with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCF. She is currently learning to code and developing her photography skills. She loves expressing herself creatively and sharing her experiences in hopes of helping others.