Study Abroad Basics

Summer study abroad trips are always appealing to college students. Before you depart on this big endeavor, check out these study abroad basics to ensure you are as prepared as possible!

  • Plan ahead. When preparing to study abroad, start early. Make sure you apply for your passport months ahead of time. Passports can take up to 6 weeks to get. Not to mention if you receive your passport and there is an error, you could end up waiting additional time to get the error corrected. In addition, some countries require a VISA for those staying longer periods of time. Make sure you know what documentation you will need and allow yourself plenty of time to obtain it. The U.S. Department of Stat’s Bureau of Consular Affairs provides more information on applying for a new U.S. Passport (Please note that at this time, you cannot submit an application for a U.S. Passport online). Visit the Americans Traveling Abroad page of the U.S. Department of State’s website to see if the country you’re visiting requires a visa.
  • Talk with your advisor to make sure your credits will transfer. While it may seem that studying abroad is all about the experience in another country, it is also important that the college credits you earn transfer back to your institution. Make sure that all your credits will transfer prior to enrolling in a university abroad.
  • Learn how to convert to Celsius. Many countries outside of the United States do not measure temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Make things easier on yourself by learning how the Celsius scale converts to the Metric scale before you leave.
  • Download useful apps. There are many free apps available for devices that are perfect for those studying abroad. WhatsApp allows the user to instant message with friends and family from anywhere in the world, and has a group chat function. Google Translate is great for receiving a quick translation.
  • Talk to your bank before you leave. Be sure to let your bank know that you will be traveling abroad so that they don’t suspect fraudulent activity on your account. Ask your banker which banks you will be able to use while you are away and if any additional charges will apply
  • Research the country and decide on places to visit. Knowing background information on the country and decide on notable places to visit prior to leaving with make traveling while there much easier.
  • Understand the currency exchange. Prior to leaving, make sure you understand what the value of a dollar is compared with the currency in the country you will be visiting. This will allow you to better plan out your expenses.
  • Research what type of electrical converter you will need. When traveling to another country, you won’t be able to plug your electronics into the outlets. Find out what type of converter you will need and purchase it before you go.
  • Learn military time. In many countries outside of the United States, military time is the standard. Learn how to tell military time to make things easier on yourself!

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on December 15, 2017 at 5:25pm.