So You Want to Study Abroad! Now What?

I’m sure you’ve heard what I’m about to say a thousand times from so many people who have travelled abroad, but at the risk of sounding repetitive, here it is: Going on an exchange program abroad will be one of the greatest decisions you make in your life! And getting a head start can make the difference between going, postponing, or staying behind.

If you have already taken the important first step of making up your mind to go abroad for a year, it is time to start doing more research and asking more questions about where you want to go—and how to get there. Believe me, after travelling through Canada, the USA, and Germany in two year-long academic exchange programs, one work and travel program, and one academic transfer program, I feel I can safely say that I know the work will be worth the reward!

Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you’ve covered all the bases:

  • When is the application deadline for the program I want to enroll in?
  • What sort of documents do I need to provide with my application?
  • Do I need to get reference letters from my teachers or professors?
  • Do I need to write a statement of intent?
  • Do I need official translations of any of my documents?
  • Does the place where I want to live offer classes that are relevant to my program?
  • Will I be able to transfer my credits?
  • Do I need a student visa? How do I apply? How long will it take to get it?
  • Will I need health insurance?
  • Am I going to live in residence, in a homestay, or at my own apartment?
  • Do I need to sign up for language classes?

I know that the details can seem overwhelming—and there are many more questions that will come up as you go through the process. However, if you stay organized and get your planning started early, you can get through it one step at a time and make sure nothing stands in the way of an unforgettable experience.

Don’t let a fear of change keep you in just one place! Get planning now and enjoy your next adventure.



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