Thinking of studying abroad? Well, it’s an incredibly exciting opportunity full of new experiences that you may treasure for the rest of your life! However, before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with some important things you should be aware of first.
(Also, I struggled with what kind of picture to put up so I chose one with my suitcase. I was very proud that I bought one for very cheap!)
1 Visa: Figure out when and if you need to get a visa before traveling to another country! I unfortunately had to learn this lesson the hard way. I assumed that I would need to get a visa on my own prior to flying out to Germany; which is where I will be studying abroad in a few weeks. I went to the German Embassy, applied for my application, paid $110 for the entire ordeal, and emailed my international coordinator from Germany that I needed more information from her about where I would be staying at the request of the German Embassy. She said that I did not need to apply for a visa because we would take care of it during my first week upon arrival. At first I was delighted to have this burden lifted off of my shoulders. Yet, to my dismay, I could not get my money refunded to me from the embassy. They said that I should have known prior to applying that I did not need one. So, please do make sure you know if you need to apply for one or not! I’ll definitely do more research for this next time!
2 Funding: Be aware of the monetary exchange rate of the dollar for the currency of the country you are going to! Currently, in Germany, one US dollar is equivalent to 0.75 euros. Research and ask your study abroad advisors about how much money they recommend you bring prior to leaving so you can save up enough money or apply for grants and scholarships. Specifically for Germany, the DAAD scholarship is a good suggestion when applying for funds. Regardless of any scholarship application you do, provide enough time for your professors to help you with a letter of recommendation. And be sure to give a thank you letter to anyone who assists you throughout this process! Also try to be cognizant of your own personal spending habits and needs. This will reflect how much money you should bring with you!
3 Packing Tips: Make a list of what you need and ask yourself why you need it! Try not to over pack as well. Remember, you will most likely be able to do your laundry every couple of weeks so you don’t need to pack your entire closet! Just pack the essentials. I recommend you print a copy of your flight itinerary and leave it in your checked luggage so if you unfortunately get separated from your luggage for whatever reason, the airport will know where you will be to return it to you! I found this list online that has been super helpful in what I want to take with me! Of course, cater your list to your needs specifically seeing as this is a very general list. Link to general packing list: https://www.stmartin.edu/oipd/images/pdfs/studyabroadpackinglist.pdf
All in all, remember, this is an exciting time! Start getting ready for your trip early and have a fantastic time! And for those heading to Germany, sehen sie alle bald! (see you all soon!)