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Your Pre-Departure Checklist Must Contain These Items

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By Penolipi
5 Mar'22  6 min read
Your Pre-Departure Checklist Must Contain These Items

There are multiple things that students need to manage when leaving to study in a different country. While researching and talking to experienced people is a good way to ensure that you do not miss out on anything that is important to your travel and relocation, here in this article we shall help you create a checklist of the things you should ensure you have before your departure as well as the things you will need upon reaching the host country.

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Your Pre-Departure Checklist Must Contain These Items

There are multiple things that students need to manage when leaving to study in a different country. While researching and talking to experienced people is a good way to ensure that you do not miss out on anything that is important to your travel and relocation, here in this article we shall help you create a checklist of the things you should ensure you have before your departure as well as the things you will need upon reaching the host country.

Read more

Living in your home country brings a lot of conveniences, which can often become so normal for us that we cannot even imagine a life without them. For instance, we know exactly where to go to buy everyday stuff like groceries, where to go when we fall sick, and so on. However, living in a new country might not be so convenient, at least initially. Hence, travelling to study and live in a new country for a long period of time requires students to be prepared with multiple small, yet absolutely essential things. In this article, we bring to you a checklist to help you prepare for your international journey.

We have divided it into five headers, namely, preparing for the university, before leaving the homeland, after arriving in the foreign land, arriving at the university, and acclimatising yourself.

1. Preparing For The University

  • International documents - A valid passport (that should be valid for at least six months after your course concludes), visa (apply for it two months before leaving the homeland), and travel insurance (it is optional, but highly recommended). Ensure these documents are in place.

  • Health - Check for the country, and region-specific mandatory vaccinations. Get the necessary tests and checkups done. The immigration page of the country’s official website may help you with this information.

  • University set-up - Activate your student account on the university’s website, book a student-mentor program with the help of the student council, apply for your student ID card, and align yourself with the instructions given in the preparation emails sent by the university.

  • University documents - Keep your official transcripts, language exam scores (IELTS, TOEFL, etc), aptitude exam scores (GRE, GMAT, etc), and other related documents in place.

  • Decision on accommodation - Decide where you want to live. You can live on campus, rent an apartment, or live with a family. You will also need to plan your budget for the next few months. It is advisable to stay on campus during the first year of studies as it keeps you closer to your peers and professors. It may also help you with the latest information about various teaching assistantships and on-campus jobs.

  • Pick-up from the airport - Arrange for your pick-up from the airport beforehand. If you are opting for university accommodation, you can request the university to arrange for your pick-up.

2. Before Leaving The Homeland

  • Money - Get the currency of the host country. Also, ensure that the cash you carry is within the permissible limits of travel.

  • Fee - Deposit the tuition fee, and pay the accommodation deposit as well.

  • Necessity Shopping - Shop for relevant and culturally appropriate clothes. Buy stuff that may not be easily available in the host country. A lot of people carry specific utensils like pressure cookers, woks, spice boxes, etc. to set up their kitchens swiftly. Ensure that you carry the host country-specific converter plug to charge laptops and mobile phones. Stationery items are essential and usually expensive in foreign lands, so stock up!

  • Pack your luggage aptly - Chances are you may not be coming back home for at least a year, so you must pack for all the seasons the host country is likely to witness.

  • Keep essential medicines with you - Make sure you carry essential medicines with you. Research and find out which medicines you’re permitted to carry. For medicines that need a prescription, make sure you have one.

  • Medical Insurance - If possible, talk to the admission committee, and try to have a Mediclaim before leaving for the host country.

3. After Arriving In The Foreign Land

  • Inform the authorities of your arrival - Report to your college/university about your arrival. Ensure to understand the rules and procedures you need to follow as an international traveller. Also, report to the Indian embassy of your arrival and keep their phone number handy in case you need to reach out to them in an emergency. The most common emergencies are safety-based and document-based.

  • Bank account - As your existing debit cards may not be useful in a foreign country, you would be needed to open a bank account with a local bank in the host country. Contact your university mentor to understand the processes for the same and reach out to the bank advisor. You will then be paying your bills from the same bank account. Preferably, open an account with a bank that has an on-campus branch at your college/university.

  • Phone and sim card/s - Buy a new SIM card and a suitable calling plan that is cost-effective. Your SIM should be good for both national and international calls. Once again, your university mentor may be able to guide you on the same.

  • Emergency contacts: Keep the list of emergency contacts handy, such as fire, ambulance, police, and so on. You will be in a new country, and keeping safety measures in place is always a good idea.

4. Arriving At The University

  • International student clearance - Get the international student clearance from the university. It is always a good idea to reach a few days before the commencement of your program to avoid any rush and settle in the new ecosystem.

  • Identity Documents - Collect your college ID card, complete online registration on the student website, and register with local police (if required).

  • Attend the orientation and induction sessions - Begin interacting with other international students. Some people may initially feel hesitant about approaching new people, but eventually, you will be able to begin enjoying such interactions.

5. Acclimatising Yourself

Having mentioned the above, nothing really matters more if your mind is not in the right place, and for that, you need to acclimatise yourself to your new environment. Here are a few tips to help you deal effectively with the big transition of relocating to a different country.

  • Jet Lag - If your host country is in a different time zone than your home country, chances are you might experience jet lag. Jet lags often disrupt the sleep cycle and lower energy levels. However, give yourself a few days’ time, have your meals on time, and your body will get adjusted to the new timings.

  • Social connections - For people who are not extroverted and tend to take their time in adjusting to new places and people, relocating to a different country might seem demanding in terms of the efforts they may have to put in to form social connections, i.e., with peers, faculty, flatmates, etc. A suggestion here would be to take one step at a time and not feel forced into forming social connections just because most people around you seem to be doing so.

  • Meditate - Practice meditation for 10-15 minutes a day. It is likely to help you lower your stress and anxiety levels, and plan your next steps more mindfully.

When leaving to study in a foreign country, do extensive research on your end, talk to people in your network who have had foreign travel experiences of various purposes, and act on the findings. Once you reach the new country, numerous questions may pop up in your mind, but make sure to solve each of them one at a time. Finally, just know that the two things that have been common to all students who have successfully studied in a different country are patience and consistent efforts. So keep your hopes up and have a wonderful time ahead.

All the best!

Penolipi Wordsmith is a pioneer in drafting compelling SOP's, LOR's, CV's, and Custom Essays. Their team consists of graduates from the top B-Schools in India and Abroad, and have been actively working in the study abroad domain for more than 10 years. They can be reached at www.penolipi.com.

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