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8 Things To Do NOW Before Studying Abroad (Part 1)

study abroad suitcasePreparation is key for success.   Whether you have only thought about studying abroad or made up your mind that you’ll certainly do it – it won’t happen over night. Without ample time, preparing for studying abroad can be overwhelming, but if you start the process this summer it will be much easier.  Note, unforeseen challenges may arise – to that I say be flexible and have a sense of humor!

Generally speaking, the average preparation time from idea to departure can be anywhere from 6 months to a year.  I’ve curated all of the tips and to-do lists to consider when planning to study abroad, below are the top 8 I found to be most impactful.

8. Think strategically

Ask yourself, what location is best for your industry? What country is an active player in the field you’d like to enter? Be careful not to approach it emotionally and think in terms of what would be a cool or fun place. While both approaches may get you into a country – one will prepare you for more career opportunities in the long run.

7. Research Studying Abroad

You must do your homework. In addition to researching destinations (see #8), become familiar with the study abroad options your university offers.  Do they run their own programs or work with a third party provider? What options are there for your country of interest? Are there any travel warnings or restrictions to your destination? Are there any immunizations you need?

6. Network

Who do you know that has studied abroad or worked abroad in your industry?  If you haven’t already, speak with them about their experiences as well as resources they may know of that could help you to have a positive experience.

5. Passport

You can’t go anywhere outside of the country without a passport!  Generally, it takes at minimum 4-6 weeks to receive a new passport; sometimes longer around peak travel seasons (holidays, summer months, etc.).   First time applicants must apply in person and it is cheaper (about $110) to go to a US Passport Agency (vs. a post office or other acceptance facility.)  Visit the US Department of State to find the agency nearest you.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of 8 Things to Do Now Before Studying Abroad in August! I encourage you to take notes on the above and begin a list of questions that you have.  You can always ask me or save the list for your study abroad office when you get back to campus.  Either way, you don’t have to go through this process alone!

J.Renay Loper, Speaker and Writer about Studying AbroadJ.Renay Loper is a global education professional writer and speaker based in New York City. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or send questions on studying abroad to us at thehbcucareercenter@yahoo.com and we will make sure Ms. Loper gets your questions.

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