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Planning For A Semester Abroad

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Photo © Queen’s University

Spending an entire semester overseas is both frightening and utterly exciting. There is so much that you want to see and experience while you are away, and of course there will be some studying involved to—a little bit at least. Before you get carried away booking weekend trips to Paris and stints in Liverpool, you need to seriously plan for the months ahead. The semester you will be spending out of the country is more than just one big party, there are things you need to plan for ahead of time such as strategically packing for international travel, knowing how to budget with exchange rates, and obtaining international travel medical insurance. By making sure you have all your ducks in a row well before you step foot on a plane will have you much calmer come the time of your departure and will give you, and your love ones back home, the peace of mind in knowing you have planned for the months ahead.

Packing Smart for Your Semester Abroad

Packing to go abroad for a semester is not like packing for a normal semester of college, according to Yahoo! Voices, you really want to limit how much you are brining with you as much as possible. If you can buy something when you arrive at your destination, you might be better served to do so. You have to remember that you are going to acquire plenty of new stuff over the few months you are living in another country and you will want to bring those souvenirs and other things back with you, but if your luggage space is already spoken for with all the stuff you packed from home, what will you do? A happy compromise may be to bring everything you feel you may need from home, but be okay with leaving things behind. For example, buy new towels to bring with you rather than your absolute favorite one that you would never consider leaving behind when packing to come home.

Budget Talk

You probably know by know what it is going to cost you to go to school abroad for the semester as far as tuition is concerned, but there are a whole host of other costs you need to plan for, according to Cengage Brain. Don’t forget to consider these costs when saving up for or budgeting your semester abroad:

  • Renting a laptop (they do take up a lot of luggage space) or continuous trips to Internet cafes (Wi-Fi is not as widespread in other countries)
  • Cell phone or calling cards
  • Bedding
  • Toiletries
  • Medication

Your Health While Abroad

That leads to the next point—what happens if you get sick or hurt. No one wants to think about these situations, we are talking about the best semester of your life after all, but you really need to plan for all the what ifs. Making sure you have international travel medical insurance that will be available for use in case of a medical emergency definitely is your best bet, especially if you will be traveling in a number of countries during your time away from home.

A semester abroad doesn’t just begin once you get on the airplane to leave, a lot of planning and preparation goes into it. While the planning side may not be as enjoyable as the travelling, it is a necessary part of the study abroad process.

T Mendleson is a freelance writer and travel enthusiast. She likes to write about her past experiences and give people advice.

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