Taking a semester abroad is a life-changing, magical experience for many people. Before you can experience that magic, however, you’ll have to do a surprising amount of very real work. Preparing for your semester overseas isn’t as fun as imagining how you’ll spend your time once you’re finally there, but it’s essential for making sure you can actually have as much fun as you’re imagining.
One of the most important steps to planning a semester away is making a list. Try to think of everything you’ll need to settle before you go and write it down. We want to help, which is why we put together this little primer to get you started. Once you’ve planned everything out, you’ll be in the right position to make your semester abroad as magical as you envision. Start by doing each of the following things:
Get in touch with your academic advisor.
Going for a semester abroad isn’t the same as a vacation. You’re going to be going to school in another country. That means classes, studying, and schedules - all in a language you might not understand. If you're unsure about anything, you should meet with your academic advisor. That's what they're there for!
Your advisor can help you review course offerings, create a plan, and find student housing options. They’ll also put you in touch with resources for learning the language and your new class schedule.
Lock down the logistics.
You should work out all the details of how you’re actually going to get (and stay) where you’re going well before you actually travel. As you’re making (and double-checking) your plan, make sure you can answer these questions:
- Is my passport up to date?
- Do I have my flight booked?
- Do I have a budget for my time abroad?
- Are my accommodations confirmed?
- Have I looked into a student health insurance policy?
- Do I have photo-copies of all my important documents?
- Who should I contact in case of an emergency or if something unexpected happens?
- Where should I go in case of an emergency or if something unexpected happens?
It might sound extreme, but actually writing down the answers to these questions might be a good idea. The exercise will help you remember your plan better, and you’ll be able to consult the list if there’s anything you can’t remember!
Figure Out Where You'll Keep Your Stuff While You're Gone
The average college student isn’t going to pay rent for an apartment stateside while they’re abroad. Not everyone has their mom and dad to help them store their things, either. So then what can you do?
Get a storage unit! Most storage unit companies offer sliding scale size options to fit a wide variety of needs. You’ll be able to get one that’s small enough to store your important things. It won’t break the bank and you won’t have to worry about your possessions disappearing while you’re away.
Put a packing list together.
Study abroad isn't quite a vacation, but it's not completely moving either. That can make deciding what to pack difficult. Luckily, there are tons of thorough packing lists available online to reference.
Most packing lists recommend limiting yourself as much as possible and only taking what you absolutely need. That way you'll be able to focus on your experience… not lugging your stuff around here, there, and everywhere.
Spend time with the people you'll miss.
You’re going to be gone for months. Don’t let the stress of preparing for your upcoming trip distract you from what’s most important: the people you love. Take time to spend with the folks you’ll miss most before you go. You’ll relish the time away from preparing and cultivate memories to help you when you’re homesick.
While we can’t do your studying for you, we can protect your stuff while you’re away. Storage Direct offers a wide variety of storage units in sizes perfect for on-the-go students.
Whether it’s a semester abroad or you’re in between apartments, we have you covered. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help. Happy trails!