Studying abroad is one of the best experiences ever. It’s not only good for your career and curriculum but for your personal growth.
I did my Translation and Interpreting Degree in Malaga, in my hometown, however, before even starting my degree, I knew I wanted to study abroad later.
After four long years and a couple of visits to the UK, I decided that I was ready to move.
But planning to study abroad takes time and research, so in this post, I’m going to tell you things you should consider before moving to make things easier.
I know how it feels when you’re going to move abroad. You’re excited but at the same time worried about how things will go.
Keep reading and find out 6 amazing tips to plan your study year abroad.
How To Plan For Studying Abroad
6 Amazing Tips to Plan Your Study Year Abroad
Choose the right country
This is the most important decision you need to make. You have to choose somewhere you’re going to feel comfortable living.
In the worst-case scenario, you can always go back to your country but you want to avoid this because you’ll be six months, one year or more studying at that university.
You have to focus on your studies!
So how do you choose the right country? What sort of things do you need to think about?
If you’re thinking of studying in that country’s university, things are much easier when you speak their language.
Let’s say you speak English and the university lessons will be in English.
That’s great but if you’re moving to Poland, most people will speak Polish and in order to immerse in the culture you may need to consider learning some Polish.
Is the currency lower or higher than my home country’s currency? When you move, you’ll be relying on your savings at the beginning. Once you’ve started university and you feel settled, you can look at jobs.
Moving to a country with a lower currency rate than yours – the main advantage is that you won’t spend lots of money to move, buying a bus pass, getting things for your room, rent, etc. This is always helpful!
The main disadvantage is that if you’re planning to stay after you’ve finished your studies with the aim to work and save to move back to your home country or another country, you won’t save much!
Moving to a country with a higher currency rate than yours, happens the opposite.
I moved from Spain to the UK when the sterling pounds were still high. It was expensive to move but when I started working there, I was able to save much more. The rate was so good!
However, if you’re moving from any European country where the euro is the currency, you won’t see a big difference when you change money into pounds.
Unless it’s a big amount. But Brexit has definitely affected the British economy.
Moving abroad also means adapting to the place and culture. In some cases, you won’t experience a massive cultural shock because both cultures are similar (I.e. Moving from Spain to Italy or Portugal.)
However, if you’re moving to a place in which the culture is completely different, you need to consider if you would be able to adapt to their culture. Would you be happy following their rules? That’s the main question to ask yourself.
The weather can have a big impact on your mood. If you’re a sun lover who gets moody when it’s raining for a while, think about where you’re moving.
Or if you hate the heat and love cosy winter nights in and hiking rainy adventures, don’t go to the warmest place on earth!
I didn’t think that the weather could affect your mood so much but I’ve experienced this many times.
I definitely didn’t move to the UK for the food, I’m honest with you. Yes, you find most of the ingredients abroad but food doesn’t taste the same.
You’ll find Italian, Spanish, Greek ingredients but be willing to pay extra for them.
For example, if you’re moving to the UK, you’ll be able to find some tropical fruits from the other side of the world, however, they aren’t seasonal.
If you’re moving to Spain, fruits and veggies are seasonal so you won’t find certain ingredients all year.
Related post: 10 Cheapest Countries to Live in Europe
Check the country’s requirements to study
Do you need a visa? A resident permit? Have a look at this first.
When choosing the university to study, here is a list of things to consider:
- Ratings, reviews of the university performance
- Is the university good in your field?
- Is it modern or relatively old-fashioned?
- Student life
If there is more than one university in the city you’re moving in, research the different universities considering the above aspects.
Also, ask other people about how life is there. You may know someone who has studied there.
When I was at university, people did Erasmus to many places (Leeds, Cologne, Warsaw…) and it was good to hear how the student life was in those places.
If you’re thinking of moving outside of Europe to another great destination like Australia, check this blog about studying abroad in Europe vs Australia.
Visit the city you want to move to
Before I moved to Leeds, I visited different cities in the UK and Leeds for a week.
This is so useful! You’ll learn the main streets, bus systems, etc. Plus, the most important: I could see myself there because I liked it as a city.
When you move somewhere without knowing what the city looks like, how the atmosphere is, etc. You’re going completely blind.
To avoid the possibility of being disappointed, visit the place for a couple of days to get the feeling.
Think about what type of accommodation you’ll be comfortable to live in
Price can determine where you’ll end up living but it’s always good to have an idea of your preferences.
When I moved for the first time, I stayed in student accommodation.
It’s the best option to meet others when you don’t know anyone and living alone can be very lonely at the beginning.
However, it has its downs as well. I hated sharing the kitchen with others because students can be very very untidy!
Consider the costs
Moving abroad can be expensive when you’re a student and your parents can’t help you much!
I had no idea how many things I would have to pay. I totally get you if you feel overwhelmed…I wish I knew all the costs before moving.
Here are possible costs you need to consider (some of them may not apply to you)
- Visa (it depends on your home country and where you’re travelling to)
- Rent – check if bills are included or not. If they aren’t, have a look at electricity, water, gas.
- TV license (optional) it depends on the country as well. If you’re moving to the UK, you’ll have to pay one, if you want TV.
- Public transport.
- Bedding, towels, home essentials.
- New clothes (moving to somewhere cold? Make sure you get a good coat!)
- University books and stationery. For UK universities, it’s very rare that you need to buy books. Teachers upload resources to the student online platform or you can get books from the library.
- Classes – you may join a language, yoga, etc. class.
- Pocket money – whether you love having brunch or going out at the weekend.
Pack only what you need
It’s very easy to overpack when you’re moving abroad. You want to take so much with you, I know!
I had 3 suitcases with me full of clothes and different stuff. I can’t talk about other nationalities but Spanish…omg.
Mums worry so much and pack us food for a month! My mum managed to fill me up a 20kg suitcase full of food, bedding, pans, etc.
Having said that, avoid packing things you don’t really need or you can get for a reasonable price in your new city.
Otherwise, you’ll pay more for luggage and end up in a new airport, worried about carrying 3 heavy suitcases like me.
Join a Facebook group
The earlier you start meeting and talking to people, the easiest you’ll make friends!
Facebook groups are great to meet people from your nationality or other nationalities. Look for [Your nationality + in + place you’re moving to]
If you don’t really trust the online world, once you get to university, look for language exchanges and other events that will help you meet others.
Although the process of moving to study abroad takes time and research, don’t feel overwhelmed, take it easy and step by step.
You’ll be SO happy once you’re there or you’ve been there for a couple of months that you probably don’t want to go back to your country yet.
After finishing my master’s, I wasn’t ready to go back to my county so I stayed.
Moving abroad is a learning process, but I wish I knew certain things before moving abroad.
If you have any questions or want advice, leave a comment below or send me an email at email@example.com, I’m always happy to help!
Wishing you the best.
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