When packing for your trip abroad, it is important to keep certain things in mind:
- Pack your clothing according to the climate of your chosen destination.
- If you plan on living in an on-campus residence, research what items are included in your accommodation, to avoid bringing things you do not need.
- Take note of the baggage weight limitations of your chosen airline.
- Keep in mind that airport customs at your destination may prohibit the import of certain items or may impose limits on the quantity you can take with you.
- Be sure to purchase travel adapters for your electronic devices, if they are not compatible with the electrical outlets of the country you are travelling to.
Searching for accommodation when you are in a new country can be tough. Start looking for a place to stay, using online databases, well before you arrive at your destination, and do not hesitate to get in touch with your host university’s international student assistance team if you need help finding a place.
Keep in mind that some property owners may request advanced payment of a few months when signing off on a lease.
Managing your finances abroad can be a little stressful. To minimize your monthly expenses, remember that:
- If you are looking for off-campus accommodation, apartments and houses further away from the city centre will usually cost significantly less to rent.
- Sharing an apartment or house with roommates will allow you to split the cost of rent and shared utilities.
- Grocery shopping weekly, instead of eating out regularly, will help keep costs down.
- Student discounts are sometimes available when purchasing a monthly public transport pass or when shopping near campuses.
Travelling abroad can be an emotionally challenging experience. When dealing with a new culture that is very different from home, students may experience feelings of disorientation, isolation, homesickness, and/or frustration. Keep in mind that these feelings are completely normal and that they will eventually pass!
Socializing with others will help you acclimatize to your new environment. While it is important to befriend your fellow international students, try talking to some locals too! Socializing with the locals will let you see the world from a different perspective and will leave you with a better understanding of the country’s culture once you return home.
While English is a widely spoken language all over the world, learning your host country’s language will go a long way in enriching your student exchange experience. Immersing yourself in a new culture is also the best way to develop your language skills and practice speaking a new language.
Although exchange students face very little safety risks, you should remain extra vigilant when you first arrive at your destination. Be wary of people who are excessively friendly to foreigners and always take the safety precautions you would normally take at home. Keep in mind that you are in an unfamiliar place, so it is very important that you research which parts of the country are unsafe.