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Preparing for studying abroad – all you need to know.

Studying abroad can be an amazing, eye-opening experience. If you hesitate to try it yourself it is probably because you do not know enough about it. We will hereby try to resolve your doubts by explaining what it is all about.

First of all, what you should do is get the vital information about the documents you will need to apply to the university of your choice. For EU students the list of universities they may apply to is endless – most of the European ones accept students from abroad as long as they come from within the European Union and the application process is not very complex. When it comes to studying in a foreign continent the matter tends to be much more complex. How much of a bureaucratic nightmare it is going to depend on the country and the specific school’s regulations. It is likely that you will need a passport and a valid visa for the country you are going to, but it’s not all bad news – some countries provide visas online at a fee, like Turkey, Singapore, Kenya, India, Georgia and many more. However, in most cases, you will have to visit a real-life visa application centre, an embassy or a consulate. 

Another step in the preparation for the big day of leaving your home and facing your brand-new life as a foreign student is reaching the destination. The easiest way to do so is to go online and make an online booking of the flight ticket. Yet if you’re aiming at a less frequently visited place and the options you find online are dubious it is best to approach a travel agency that will help you find the right way of getting to your dream university. They will also be helpful with international travel insurance and supplementary visa information. Nevertheless, if you still want to be self-sufficient, you should not buy a plane ticket last minute. The right time to buy the tickets is no less than 3 months before the planned travel. The closer you get to the due date, the fewer tickets will be left, hence the rising price.

If you are concerned with the negative influence air travel causes the environment, you should consider taking a train. It is always a great adventure to travel by train and it is far less anonymous than taking a flight. Throughout the journey, you get to experience both the superficial change of scenery and the undeniable culture clash. That is a pretty amazing combo! You should expect to meet locals who will be interested in you and your country of origin. Take snacks from home for kids and postcards for the elderly. And unlike what your mother taught you: never say no to candy offered by a stranger. It may be found very offensive in many cultures – google it!

To prepare for not merely a train ride but the whole studying abroad experience, you should acquire some language skills. Knowing as little as “hello” and “goodbye” is a good start but it will not be enough for you to lead a normal life in a foreign country. If you are excited about the country, you should express that by communicating it in the local language. This way you will not only gain local people’s trust and respect, but it will also enable you to deeply experience the culture. Believe me, language is a crucial skill you will benefit a lot from during the whole enterprise, so do not waste this incredible opportunity!

It will also be helpful when looking for lodging. There will often be plenty of offers online and on the campus, so it is up to you where you want to stay. If you have a study abroad scholarship you may consider a student room or an apartment but stay close to other students is what is especially worth considering. Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity to focus on your personal growth and expand your horizons. Being exposed to as many various cultures as possible and befriending these completely different people is a way to do that.

If you still hesitate, you should keep in mind that studying abroad is not only an amazing adventure but also consider the numerous educational opportunities it may grant. All of the above is within your reach so challenge yourself and go for it! 

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