Studying abroad can be an experience that’s rewarding for students in many ways. Students who study abroad often have the opportunity to learn in specialized areas, they get rich cultural experiences, and they can form lifelong relationships with people they meet along the way.

Studying abroad can also help students have better employment opportunities after graduation.

A more significant number of American students are studying abroad than ever before, because they likely see the advantages.

If you’re a student who has decided that studying abroad is right for you, while it’s exciting it can also be overwhelming to prepare.

The following are some things you can keep in mind as you’re preparing for your trip of a lifetime, whether it’s for a few weeks, a few months or maybe even an entire year.

What Should You Pack?

Packing can seem like a challenge. You may only be able to bring one or two suitcases, so how do you fit all of your life into those?

You have to be strategic and smart when you’re packing and think about what you’re going to need and use the most. The following are some things to consider packing for a study abroad trip:

  • A portable charger for your devices such as your phone
  • A universal power adapter
  • Bring an unlocked phone that you can use abroad because it’s unlikely that your phone from the U.S. is going to work abroad, and if it does it’ll probably be very expensive
  • A backpack
  • A raincoat
  • Personal care products and toiletries can either be unavailable when you’re abroad, or they might be quite a bit more expensive than they would be in the U.S. so bring some of your must-haves
  • Any over-the-counter or prescription medications you might need
  • A business casual outfit in case you have any situations where you may need to dress up a bit
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As far as medications go, if you take a prescription medication, you will probably need to speak with your doctor at home to make sure you have enough to last for the duration of your trip. You may not have access to specific prescription medications where you’re going, and if so it may be difficult to get access to a doctor who can write you a prescription.

If you do need medical care while you’re abroad, you will probably need your insurance information from home, and you may need to show your passport at the clinic or hospital. An emergency credit card can come in handy because the hospital or clinic may require you to pay for everything upfront.

Then, you can file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement.

Do Necessary Paperwork Well In Advance of Your Trip

The last thing you want to do is come close to your trip and not have something you need for your visa or some other form of travel documentation. Prepare for this part of your trip months in advance so you don’t experience something unexpected that could derail your travel plans. Some professionals even recommend starting to prepare as far out as six months before your trip.

Ensure that you know the technicalities of what’s required for a visa in the destination you’re going to. You may also need certain medical exams and vaccinations, depending upon where you’re going. You will need to make sure your passport is valid and isn’t going to expire during your trip, and you will probably need to bring a copy of your medical report as well as your birth certificate.

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Financial Considerations

If you’re going to be leaving your apartment and your home, there may be certain financial considerations to keep in mind. For example, do you need to arrange to have bill payments automatically drafted out of your bank account while you’re gone or can you freeze expenses back home?

Will your credit and bank cards work abroad, or will you need to do something else to have access to your money? What’s going to be the least expensive way for you to use your money without having high fees from your bank or credit card company?

You should research your destination well in advance of going there and see how much certain things are going to cost realistically. For example, how much is food at a shop versus a meal at a restaurant? What’s the general cost of living for your destination?

Learning these details can help you estimate costs and create a budget that you can stick with while you’re gone. Only try to use your credit card or student loan money when absolutely necessary. If you can create a budget and save money ahead of time to cover that budget, it can be the best financial option.