Going to study abroad makes almost all students dream: it is an opportunity to travel, discover new horizons, new cultures, learn a language, evolve personally by gaining maturity. It is also a real asset on the CV to find work more easily… In short, it is a beneficial and unique experience that has only advantages in every way. Nevertheless, there are some mistakes not to make or neglect during your stay abroad.
Prepare well for my stay abroad
The preparation part of the stay is surely the most important step.
First, find out what country you are going to. A destination may be your crush, but vacationing and living there are two very different things. Once there, you won’t be able to turn back! Do some research beforehand on the city, its surroundings, your school or university by looking, for example, at the testimonies of other students.
It is also essential to prepare for the administrative specificities of the country in question. To know :
– Passport which is mandatory if you are traveling outside the European Union
– The international student visa which is requested by some countries
– Some vaccines are mandatory to enter certain countries including the one against Covid-19
– Health insurance for studying abroad is an essential step.
Take out insurance to study abroad
No matter what country you go to, you will not be able to be covered like in your home country. For Europeans going on Erasmus, there is the European health insurance card which facilitates health-related procedures in Europe. But even with this card, you will need insurance for uncovered health costs and repatriation assistance. If you are outside of Europe, you will need to take out international student insurance. Some universities require international students to take out international student medical insurance. They want to make sure that all international students are covered in case of problems. Make sure you are well prepared before you go by purchasing student insurance abroad.
In some countries such as Canada, you may benefit from the local health system with the RAMQ in Quebec, but it is essential to supplement your protection with international student insurance. This will allow you to cover yourself for treatment not covered by local public insurance, when you return to your country of origin or during your internships or trips to another country.
For your studies abroad on Erasmus or not, Mondassur advises you on the most suitable health insurance.
Find accommodation for your studies abroad
If you’re lucky, your university will offer you on-campus accommodation or a partnership. If your university does not offer you anything, turn to international student groups, so there are many via social networks. There are several Facebook self-help groups and many housing proposals. You will also be able to contact people from your home university who have been to your exchange university. Of course, call on your network and contact local real estate agencies.
Plan a budget adapted to the foreign country
Your budget will depend on your destination country, hence the importance of doing research in advance on the cost of living (food, telephony, transport, outings, leisure ..). Also think about unforeseen expenses (exceeding packages, equipment to change, repair… etc.). Finally, if the end of the month is difficult, you can find a student job. It is also important to think about the limit of working hours allowed with your temporary “student” residence card or visa.
Know the emergency numbers abroad
You need to know the numbers of the firefighters, the police and the Samu equivalent of the country you are going to stay in. Make sure you know what to do and who to call if there are any problems.
Visit the destination country and meet its inhabitants
Certainly, you are there to study but visiting the country, your city of residence or meeting the locals will bring you as much and sometimes more than some courses … You will stay there for months surely years, it is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the culture of the country, meet new people, try the culinary specialties of the country in question, do essential activities. What you will regret the most are the things you did not dare to do!
Stay focused on studying abroad …
On the contrary, some will surely have forgotten that they came as students and not tourists. Do not abandon your classes because it would be a shame if your experience hurt your studies. It is important to find a balance between social and academic life. Indeed, favoring your social life to the detriment of your schooling will not make you validate your year and is a waste of money. If you are a scholarship holder but you do not follow your courses diligently, you may be asked to reimburse the scholarship obtained. Keep in mind that the purpose of your stay is the success of your studies.
… And make great encounters abroad
Trying experiences on your own can be instructive (visiting a museum, monuments…) but be careful not to remain solitary. Socializing with people from other cultures, exchanging with students from all walks of life. There are only benefits to opening up to others for your personal fulfillment.
Hang out with people from other countries of origin than your own
When you don’t know, you tend to stay in your comfort zone. It’s much easier. But by staying only with people from your home country, it will be more difficult to open up to other cultures and improve your foreign language level.
Thanks to these few tips, you will be able to prepare your departure and start this new adventure as serenely as possible. This should leave you with a memorable memory. Happy study abroad!