1. Choose a location.
Do some research. You’ll be surprised that there are so many places you never knew existed. Even if you have a place in mind, be open-minded. You never know where you could end up.
2. Get some references.
As soon as you’ve decided to apply, start searching for references. I needed them for my exchange program during my undergrad studies and I needed them for my postgrad application. Go ask your favorite professors. If you’ve befriended them and done reasonably well in their class, they’re most likely going to say yes. Usually you’re asking your favorite professors to write you letters of rec, so most people you ask will probably be flattered that you thought of them.
This will probably involve a long, tedious fill in the blanks with your information form and then writing a personal statement somewhere along the lines of “why do you want to study at X International University?
4. Be Accepted.
Bask in the glory. Not everybody has what it takes to study abroad. Congratulations! You did it.
5. Accept your enrollment offer.
If you applied and were accepted to more than one university, now it’s time to choose. Generally, there’s a deadline for accepting your enrollment offer.
6. Figure our your finances.
If you haven’t already, this is a good time to evaluate cost. What’s the cost of living in the country you’ll be studying abroad in? Add up tuition, room and board, food, travel, etc. Studying abroad adds up quickly if you’re not careful. It’s more affordable than many think, but it’s going cost you some extra money.
7. Pay your deposit.
This makes it official. You’re not truly in until you’ve payed your deposit. It’s only after this that you’ll be sent your Confirmation of Acceptance (the thing you need to be allowed into the country to study).
8. Apply for a Visa (if needed).
Do not procrastinate! The Visa process is long, complicated, frustrating and expensive. Get it over with. Otherwise, you’ll be paying rush fees to ensure your visa gets to you in time for your program.
9. Book accommodation.
Where do you plan on living? The easiest option may be on campus, but it’s not your only choice. If you decide to find private accommodation, just be aware of scammers.
10. Book flights.
On the record, your advisors will probably tell you to wait to book flights until after your visa, passport, etc. is all approved. Off the record, you’re going to save money if you book your flight early. I booked mine months before my visa application was approved. Start looking early and take advantage of student or young adult discounts.
11. Study the language and culture.
Once all the logistics are settled, you have time to just be excited about moving to a new country. Do some research. Find out about the culture. Even if they speak English, it’s going to be a different kind of English. Watch some British Youtubers, read some travel blogs, find out what to expect when you move abroad. It will help get you prepared and decrease your culture shock once you’ve moved.
When studying abroad, you won’t have a Uhaul or your parent’s minivan to transfer all your stuff in. A few suitcases is all you get. Think about what you need to take with you. Think about the weather in the UK. Things like scarves and hats aren’t just fashion accessories over there. There’s also essentials like outlet converters. When I was packing to study abroad, I found a comprehensive packing list online and printed it out, checking each box as I packed. I’m not a Type A personality, but that list definitely helped me be aware of what I was putting in my suitcase.
13 Move abroad!
Now that your bags are packed, it’s time to hop on a plane. Moving abroad can be intimidating at first, but it’s an amazing experience. Settle in. Join the international society and another unique club you’d never find in your home country. Travel. Visit castles. Get some fish n’ chips. Befriend your classmates and professors. Experience the culture. Have a blast.
I know this isn’t the most comprehensive or detailed prep list, but I hope it gave you a brief summary of what to expect as you prepare to study abroad. Good luck with your application! The planning is the worst part. Soon, you’ll be living and traveling in one of the best and most beautiful places on earth.