Study Abroad: First Week Survival Kit

How to survive your first week studying abroad

Studying abroad comes with various challenges. However, there are some tips that can help you sail through the first week with ease. The following is a first-week survival kit for those going to study abroad.

Have a Reliable Way to Call Home

Assuming that free WiFi is going to be your only mode of communicating with your loved ones back home and the new friends that you're making is not the way to go. Try to get an international phone or SIM card and carry it with you. Usually, international phone plans with your normal phone company are expensive. Do some thorough research to find the most suitable option.

On the other hand, WiFi is easily accessible nowadays. We can manage time differences. With the advancement in technology, you will be able to communicate with your friends and family each day.

Be Mentally Prepared for the Worst

You might encounter some unlikely scenarios. Your luggage might not arrive when you do. You might not go well with your roommates at first. There is a high possibility that you will get completely lost, or worse, no one else is present. You might encounter pickpockets, especially in the major cities. Your passport might get lost.

Anything can happen, and all you have to do is to try to be prepared for the worst. For instance, you can keep your cash in separate pockets, email yourself copies of your travel documents, have some clothes in your carry-on bag, etc.

Language Learning App

One of the easiest ways of learning a new language is through the use of language apps. While studying abroad, one challenge that you will encounter is the language barrier. Even if you might go to a country that communicates in your language, you might not understand some of the unique dialects and slangs. Eventually, you'll get stressed out since communication is critical when you're abroad. It is, therefore, necessary to learn that country's language.

Language apps like Duolingo, Mindsnacks and Memrise will be of great assistance. They'll help you learn new language skills and also improve the skills you already possess. You'll always have these apps with you wherever you go as long as you carry with you your smartphone or tablet. These apps have language learning websites that you could make use of to your advantage. So, as you go to class or decide to go walk around town, you will have the opportunity to either improve your skills or complete a certain course.

Don't be afraid to use the skills that you've learned. Converse with the locals to sharpen your communication skills. Eventually, you'll blend in with them and you won't feel out of place.

Duolingo

Memrise

Budget

It is expensive to go study abroad. Most students face monetary challenges at one given point. You, therefore, have to come up with a budget plan.

Familiarize yourself with the cost of living of the country that you'll be living in. This can be done by finding out the average dorm room rent, phone plans, new clothes and transportation fees, and then create a budget. Critical expenses like food and rent should make up half of your monthly spending. Other expenses like internet should account for 30% of the budget and the remaining 20% should go to a savings account.

Ensure that you come up with a sensible budget that's based on your income. To supplement your income, you can look for part-time jobs like essay writing or even writing a book report. Keep tabs on your spending using spreadsheets or the various mobile apps. Compare them with your income and see if you've spent according to your budget.

In your first week abroad, do not spend a lot of money on expensive trips. Don't spend on things that you feel are not necessary or are expensive to maintain. Remember to strictly stick to your budget. It might not be smooth sailing in the first few months since it takes time to get accustomed to new spending habits. You can make a few adjustments here and there until you get used to your budget.

Insurance

Various challenges might arise while you study abroad. This is why you should get an insurance cover that provides financial, travel, medical, and logistical support to assist you to pay for some of these things.

In America, some colleges allow students to buy school-based policies before traveling abroad. The policies only deal with international medical insurance and supplement pre-departure costs. It is important for you to be keen when selecting a school-based insurance policy since most of them don't contain international health insurance. If your institution doesn't offer this, then you have no choice but to get an individual insurance that covers trip cancellation, medical emergencies and tuition reimbursements from a reputable insurance company.

You'll probably not use your insurance, but it's important to be on the safe side, just in case something happens.

Google Maps

If you want to survive the first few weeks in a new environment, you better have Google Maps with you. You will most likely get lost there and this is where this tool becomes useful. You can check for directions to your library or even a nice restaurant.

You're also able to share your location with your friends so that they are aware of where you will be in case you get lost.

Fitness Plan

It might be expensive to enroll in a gym in the country that you've gone to. If you can't afford it, then do some outdoor exercises. You can go hiking with your friends, walk to class, get into biking, etc. You can also come up with a good meal plan that incorporates the local foods. Ensure that you take good care of your health while abroad.

Conclusion

Implementing these tips within your first few weeks abroad will ensure that your stay there becomes enjoyable.

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16 October 2018
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