study abroad

A Student’s Guide to Studying Abroad

 

Summer may be right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning.

You may be willing to use your summer vacation to learn something new. What better way to learn new things than by studying abroad? Going to a different country to study is a big task, so it pays to be prepared. Below is everything college students need to know about studying abroad.

Choose a Suitable Location

You know what they say in the real estate market: “Location, location, location.” This simple phrase is used to signify the sheer importance of the area itself. The same applies to when you’re looking to travel and study simultaneously too. Before disembarking on your travels, you need to find a location you deem suitable for your studies. This location can be in Italy, Greece, Japan, or Spain, but that choice is ultimately up to you. Since the location is one of the most important aspects of traveling, don’t hesitate to spend as much time as necessary figuring out the best choice.

Find an Accredited School

Once you’ve gotten the location figured out, the next step is to find an accredited school. Accredited schools mean they’re recognized by official sources to provide education. Anything without accreditation should be avoided at all costs for several reasons. For starters, non-accredited schools can make it difficult to use financial aid to pay for your education. Secondly, you may not be able to transfer your credits to another institution. Lastly, having a non-accredited school on your resume can make things extremely difficult if you’re pursuing a career that requires licensing and certification. Look for schools that have accreditation from the following sources:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)

Any school with these accreditations is what you want to look for. But don’t just choose one solely for the accreditation; make sure to compare each one, so you can get the best learning experience possible.

Prepare Your Finances

As we mentioned before, traveling isn’t something you can take lightly as it can be very expensive, especially when it comes to studying in another country. That being said, you need to make absolutely sure that your finances are well prepared. Your money will be converted into another currency, so keep that in mind. Depending on where you’re going, the exchange rate can be very difficult to deal with.

If the rate is too high, you’ll receive a lower amount. Should the exchange rate be low enough, you’ll receive almost exactly the amount you need or more if you’re lucky. One thing to note, however, is to never withdraw money at an airport as they’re known for having higher rates than usual. Instead, use a local ATM or a nearby bank that does international withdraws.

While we’re still on the subject, it’s important that you have financial security, and since you’re a college student, you can easily apply for a student credit card. Student credit cards work the same way as traditional cards, except they come with a few extra benefits. For instance, student credit cards can have a zero percent interest rate during the first year, which makes paying back what you spend much easier. You may also have access to reward programs and potential bonuses if you’re able to show consistent good grades. Though, we should mention that not every card has these benefits as they’re solely dependent on the lender. Make sure compare your options before applying.

Get the Necessary Documentation

Before you can officially leave the country, you’ll need to prepare the right documentation first. You’re most likely aware that you’ll need to get a passport before leaving, but that’s not all. Here’s a quick list of all the necessary documentation students need before studying abroad:

  • Student visa
  • Statement of purpose
  • Valid driver’s license and ID
  • Certificate detailing your vaccinations
  • School transcript

The five things listed here are mandatory. However, you shouldn’t stop there; if possible, you should also try to get a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation make it far easier for people to get accepted into their college of choice and even get an apprenticeship.

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