Going to a foreign country is already a great experience because everything is new. Culture, architecture, gastronomy, customs, currency and behaviors are some of the differences you might find when you are not in your native country.
This is even more intense when you travel abroad to study. You will spend more time in the place and will have plenty of opportunities to learn every single detail and acquire new academic and general skills.
If you intend to travel abroad, check out the tips below for a simpler and more profitable process. By having a smooth experience, every situation will be a learning and personal growth opportunity.
Following these suggestions will help you have a great foreign exchange program:
1 – Do a lot of research
This is an important step in your life and you have to gather as much detail as possible about the country, state and city you will be living in.
Seek for the best educational institutions in the region, lodging at affordable prices and nearby touristic destinations that you can visit in your free time.
Also include historical and cultural details in your research. When you get there, you will know what to expect and will be able to adapt more easily.
2 – Mind all bureaucratic details
Maybe you are so excited about travelling that you might forget about the necessary paperwork. However, documents are fundamental for your exchange program.
Learn whether you need a visa to enter the country. If no visa is needed, you can use your personal identification document. If you do need a visa, you have to have a valid passport to apply for it.
Some countries also require visitors to be vaccinated and won’t let you board the plane unless you show proper vaccination confirmation. Some other countries require travel insurance.
Additionally, you may also need sworn translation services so that your documents – school/university transcripts and diplomas – are valid abroad.
You have to check all requirements on a case-by-case basis. Carry out an in-depth research about legal requirements and paperwork to avoid any problems.
3 – Save as much as you can
Saving money is not always easy. But as soon as you decide to study abroad, your savings should be focused on that.
We usually don’t think about all the expenses we might have, like lodging, food, transportation, leisure and also school supplies, if necessary.
Like the old saying: It’s better to be safe than sorry. So, it’s better to take a large sum of money and have something left in the end than to take the exact amount you think you might spend and then get shorthanded in case of an emergency.
4 – Write a diary or blog
Souvenirs and gifts are always nice, but your actual experience is priceless. Therefore, by writing down every detail of your trip, you can experience them again whenever you want.
You can write everything down in a diary or notebook or you can start a blog and attach pictures and videos of your trip. No matter how you choose to record your experience, you will make your memories timeless.
5 – Study hard
It might be obvious to say you have to study hard in a student exchange program. But with so many attractions, destinations and news, your initial goal, which is studying, might be left behind.
Remember that phrase ‘work before pleasure’? It is extremely true here. Take time to study and then enjoy the country as you wish during your free time.
6 – Get to know different places
Even if you plan to take your exchange program in one city only, visit other neighboring cities or states and add knowledge to your personal and intellectual baggage.
Some regions, especially in Europe, have small countries, much smaller than Brazil, for example. This means a short trip can take you to a new country depending on where you are.
Another advantage is that you can use different transportation means, from planes to trains. Learn about the easiest access and enjoy every minute abroad.
7 – Talk to other people about your exchange program
Today, with the Internet, you can find people who have travelled to other countries and shared their experiences on websites, blogs, forums and social media. Take this opportunity to talk to someone who has been there already.
Talking to people traveling to common destinations is a great idea, and you can also get ideas and inspiration from those who have already visited the country. This might also be a chance to make new friends.
Another advantage of recording your trip, like we saw on tip 4 above, is being able to share your impressions and conclusions with other people. This helps create an atmosphere of support among exchange students around the world.
8 – Be independent
This might sound a bit contradictory considering the tip above, but having independence will help you grow even further during your trip. You will have to handle different adverse situations on your own.
Traveling alone might seem scary, but when you overcome your limits and realize the success of your trip is in your hands, your growth will be proportional to your challenges.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends and ask for help while abroad, but being the leader of your own trip will make your experience even richer.
While you might feel anxious when you think you’ll leave your routine behind, the freedom of having a new place to call home is a great milestone in life.
Take care of the paperwork, use the services of a translation agency to have your documents translated by a sworn translator, save as much money as you can and focus on your studies, without letting go of the fun. This is the perfect recipe for an unforgettable journey.