How it works - Study abroad preparation

  • STEP 1 – Review each preparation area
  • STEP 2 – Set each item to Started | Done | n/a
  • STEP 3 – Save your results in each section
  • STEP 4 – Check the 'In progress' items below
  • STEP 5 – Regularly update the 'In progress' items
  • STEP 6 – Save the progress (overwrites profile info)
  • STEP 7 – Before going abroad, revisit all items!

The listed items provide a general frame to help your preparation to study abroad, but it might not be a fully comprehensive list in your case. Always keep in touch with the coordinators of your host institution, home institution (if any), supporting organizations, fellow or local Alumni students to ensure you’ve got all the details for a successful study abroad program!

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Study abroad preparation categories
1 - Host Country
Reset section
Study abroad to do list
D - Done - You completed the item (the system will not remind you anymore, but it’s worth double-checking it before going abroad)
S - Started - You made some progress (it’s listed in your profile and at the bottom of the service. You can update it by unticking the „Started” box and ticking the „Done” or „N/A” boxes)
NA - Not Applicable - Typically refers to items that aren’t necessary for you (e.g. you will start a full-degree program, so you don’t need to check the remaining courses at your home institution)
Embassy/Consulate info
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Gather tips on study abroad safety, visa application, customs duty, driving license usage, potential threats, diseases and other regulations that international students and all travelers must be aware of
Culture shock factors
?
Research the cultural differences that might be shocking at first. The more you understand the host culture the easier it will be to adjust to your new environment and enjoy your study abroad program
Language basics
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Learn at least the basic expressions and the alphabet or character symbols in the language of the host country to form a connection and have a better understanding with local people easier. A mere 200 words vocabulary will take you further than you’d imagine
Banking/payment options
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Check the list of locally accepted credit/debit cards, frequency of banks and ATM-s and the cost of withdrawing cash in your host country and international transaction fees
Local currency
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Check the local currency, current exchange rates and have at least 100 USD worth cash with you in the local currency
Local kitchen
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While exploring the local cuisine, factor in your food allergies or intolerance to certain ingredients
Accommodation types
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Decide which type of accommodation fits your study abroad goals best: rent an apartment, live with a host family or move in to a dormitory offered by your host institution
Consumer price index
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The more you know about the cost of living in your host country, the better you can allocote your money to maximize your experience. Choose a host country with your budget in mind, so you won’t need to stress about money while studying abroad.
2 - Host University
Reset section
Study abroad to do list
D - Done - You completed the item (the system will not remind you anymore, but it’s worth double-checking it before going abroad)
S - Started - You made some progress (it’s listed in your profile and at the bottom of the service. You can update it by unticking the „Started” box and ticking the „Done” or „N/A” boxes)
NA - Not Applicable - Typically refers to items that aren’t necessary for you (e.g. you will start a full-degree program, so you don’t need to check the remaining courses at your home institution)
Study abroad application process
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Collect detailed information on the application process, the preliminary requirements, potential exams needed (e.g. language exams)
Application materials
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Fine-tune your CV, motivational letter and study abroad essay (if needed) in line with the requirements of the host institution
Submit your application
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Gather the necessary personal and educational documents, the letters of recommendation and fulfill the required exams to successfully apply for your selected program
International office staff
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Collect the contacts (phone and e-mail) of your international student coordinators to be able to ask questions from them if needed. If it is not assigned automatically, ask who will be your local point of contact from the staff members
Courses and syllabus
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Check the available syllabus and course descriptions (course topics, timing of classes) to see which subjects are the most interesting, credible, informative, can be accredited back home (if it’s a part-time program) or which ones could give you most edge moving forward in your career.
Academic year structure
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Check the semester start date, end date, exam periods (there might be more), main holidays and longer breaks to be able to make (travel) plans for those periods
Examination
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Gain a clear understanding of the local scoring system, type of exams (mid-term, final exams, open/closed book, essay/multiple choice)
International student support
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Most higher educational institutions assign a local student, a „buddy” or mentor to support international students. Get in touch with your helper to gain useful local information and guidance in the beginning (and throughout) of your life abroad
3 - Home university
Reset section
Study abroad to do list
D - Done - You completed the item (the system will not remind you anymore, but it’s worth double-checking it before going abroad)
S - Started - You made some progress (it’s listed in your profile and at the bottom of the service. You can update it by unticking the „Started” box and ticking the „Done” or „N/A” boxes)
NA - Not Applicable - Typically refers to items that aren’t necessary for you (e.g. you will start a full-degree program, so you don’t need to check the remaining courses at your home institution)
International office staff
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Get in touch with your local international office to inquire about the application periods, processes and opportunities
Courses to complete
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Before going abroad, check your home institution syllabus to see which courses need to be completed to obtain your degree
Course attendance
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Request a special course attendance permit from your home institution for your study abroad semester, so your home institution is aware that you will complete your courses abroad
Course accreditation
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Align with your professors which courses you should choose abroad to be able have most of them accredited back home
Research paper or thesis
?
Align with your consultant on the expected progress with your thesis while studying abroad
Submit application
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Gather the necessary personal and educational documents, the letters of recommendation and fulfill the required exams to successfully apply for your selected program
4 - Traveling
Reset section
Study abroad to do list
D - Done - You completed the item (the system will not remind you anymore, but it’s worth double-checking it before going abroad)
S - Started - You made some progress (it’s listed in your profile and at the bottom of the service. You can update it by unticking the „Started” box and ticking the „Done” or „N/A” boxes)
NA - Not Applicable - Typically refers to items that aren’t necessary for you (e.g. you will start a full-degree program, so you don’t need to check the remaining courses at your home institution)
Visa application
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If you are traveling to a country where you need a visa, make sure you check the detailed consulate information, associated fees, required personal documents, health certificates and waiting time
Travel options
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Consider all travel options to your host city, it might be that the train or bus is faster/cheaper/more frequent than a plane. Check multiple providers before buying your tickets.
Buying tickets
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Buy your return ticket (or one-way) in time to minimize travel costs. If you already know that you’ll have a longer break during your studies, check the relevant tickets as well (but don’t buy them until your host institution confirmed the final schedule of your courses and also some countries might withhold your passport for a while for visa prolongation)
Jetlag preparation
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Adjust your biological clock in proportion to the upcoming time zone difference, particularly in case of intercontinental trips – this can save you days of discomfort
Proper luggage
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Get a luggage that is comfortable and safe to travel with and also its dimensions are fit for the airlines you’re planning to fly with
Offline books/movies
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Make sure you have enough reading/watching material for the trip, especially if you have a longer layover or bus ride ahead of you
5 - Networking
Reset section
Study abroad to do list
D - Done - You completed the item (the system will not remind you anymore, but it’s worth double-checking it before going abroad)
S - Started - You made some progress (it’s listed in your profile and at the bottom of the service. You can update it by unticking the „Started” box and ticking the „Done” or „N/A” boxes)
NA - Not Applicable - Typically refers to items that aren’t necessary for you (e.g. you will start a full-degree program, so you don’t need to check the remaining courses at your home institution)
Connect offline
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Get in touch with students at your home institution who previously studied (or currently studying) at your selected host institution
Connect online in advance
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Join the social media groups of the university and relevant student associations to build your social circles in advance and be up-to-date on housing/other information in the void
Connect online in advance 2
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Register on language learning and other sites with international audiences. Chat with locals online to get a sense of the local culture first-hand, practice languages and potentially build some valuable connections (if you decide to meet up in person, make sure your level of cautiosness fits the circumstances)
Bring souvenirs
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Pack some local goods that are unique to your country and easy to give away as gifts (e.g. sweets) to new people you meet like roommates, flatmates and first new international friends.
Results - your current tasks
Your chosen country:

This is a general guide to support your preparation for your study abroad program. The tool provides you with a framework that includes major aspects of life abroad in the form of a checklist. Frequently revisiting this checklist makes it more likely that you at least consider the most important points (and follow up on them), however it’s not a comprehensive list by any means.

There will always be additional personal, country specific or institutional factors you need to consider, so make sure you’re receiving information from various channels (most importantly from your host institution, future local and current fellow students).

In case you have any questions or potential additions to the checklist, please contact us.

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