Applying for a study abroad program is not just a one step process, rather you have to deal with other important things before and after the application. Here are some tips I’ve gathered from the internet and study abroad alumni. These tips have been very helpful to me, and I hope you also find them invaluable.
Passport. If you do not have a passport make sure you apply for one right now, even if you decide to drop from the program later on. Possessing one means you do not have to worry about lodging an application in the future.
Applying for a visa. Checking your country’s embassy website is a wonderful source of information. There, you can estimate the price for a visa, lodge an application, and view the types of visas the country offers. For those traveling to Australia, visit this website: www.immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspx
Choosing a bank. Are you looking for a bank that does not charge you international fees for withdrawing money or using your card abroad? Most cooperate own banks charge you for using a card outside the United States. Banks charge because they have to make a profit, but smaller banks who are not-for-profit often waive those pesky international fees. If you are a resident and/or studying in San Francisco, joining SF Fire Credit Union is your best option if you are trying to avoid those fees. Although if you do not want to make the switch to a credit union, some well known banks do waive international fees like Citibank. Just check with them first because most tend to charge. Also, let your bank know that you’re leaving the country so they don’t block your card.
Phones. Purchasing a phone in the States is way cheaper than trying to buy one outside the country. Try websites like Craiglist.com and Amazon.com for used and refurbished phones. Beware that some countries may run on a GSM network so your phone may not work. If you would like more information on GSM and CDMA phones, click this link for a thorough explanation. The website helped me out when I did not understand the difference between the two types of technology.
No matter where you go, studying abroad is exciting. Happy Traveling!
P.S. I’m on my way to Melbourne, Australia as of this moment!