When traveling outside of your country for schooling, there are a lot of things that must be in order. Careful planning is crucial to ensure that you’re able to successfully travel and enjoy your time abroad. Since there is so much to get done, the sooner you begin preparing, the better.
Just as you did with your college application, you’ll need to make a list of everything you’ll need to travel abroad. Lists ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Below are some things you’ll need to do prior to leaving the country:
1. Student Visa
All international students traveling to the United States are required to obtain a student visa. There are three different types, including the F1, J1, and M1 visa. While the F1 and J1 visas also afford you the ability to obtain employment in the U.S., the M1 visa does not. It is important to find out which visa will best suit your needs in the U.S. Eligibility.com provides a student visa eligibility explained page that gives a more detailed understanding of each type of visa and what is required to apply.
2. Health Care
Unfortunately, the U.S. does not provide socialized health care options for international students. Therefore, you’ll want to do your research to learn more about your health care options while you study abroad. Many international students are given the opportunity to pay for health care through their college campus and receive care on campus. This care however, may only cover basic first aid needs and minor illnesses. Bring all of your medical records with you as well to provide to the on-campus physician.
Everyone gets a little home sick. You want to be able to talk to your family back home. The good news is that there are plenty of options for international students for communication. You’ll want to look into these options prior to leaving your country. There are cell phone plans that cover international calls, online chat rooms, video messaging services, social media, and VoIP phone services. Each of these will vary in costs, but can be very affordable for a college budget.
4. Income Source
Unless you’re attending school on a full scholarship or have a sizable amount of income saved up, you’ll want think about some income sources. If you have a visa that permits you to work in the U.S., you can start filling out applications online and setup interviews for various retailers near the campus. You can also talk with your college about work study programs or opportunities for students to work on campus for a stipend. Lastly, you can consider online opportunities to make money such as filling out surveys and writing blog posts or starting your own business.
While you may have considered your travel arrangements already, you’ll need to get around once you’ve arrived in the U.S. You’ll need to evaluate your budget first to see which means of transportation you can afford. There are rental car services, which is likely one of the more expensive options. If you have a car already, you can consider the idea of bringing your car to campus with you. There is also the option of taking public transportation, such as buses or train. Monthly bus and train passes can often be a lot more affordable than the cost of gas, so you’ll need to weigh convenience over costs to determine which is best.
When traveling thousands of miles away from what you know to be familiar and comfortable, it is important to be prepared. As you get ready to travel abroad to continue your college studies, make sure that you have considered each of the five factors pointed out. Lastly, remember to start planning as early as possible, as some things can take time to complete such as applying for your visa and finding a source of income. If you need assistance, be sure to talk with your college’s admissions department as they may have valuable resources that you can pull from to help make the planning process a lot easier.