Preparing to Go
When it comes time to study abroad, there are a few different things you will want to be aware of to make the most of your experience, and to make the process as smooth as possible. Below are some suggestions from previous Study Abroad students and staff that could help make smooth transitions and getting ready.
When you are packing, consider your destination. Use an online weather website to determine what the weather will be like, and what you should be able to wear at a moment's notice. Going to England during the rainy season? You may want to bring a rain coat. What does the temperature feel like at night? Perhaps a hoodie would be appropriate.
Additionally, will the provider's apartment be furnished with pots, pans, plates, etc.? If not, are you able to contact your study abroad roommates to determine if you'll buy there, or ship it?
If you do not have a passport or visa, start that process as soon as possible. Passports last for quite a number of years, but if you have one, check to make sure it isn't expired. In most cases, it will take some time to secure these documents, and you don't want to lose the chance to study abroad because of any delays with them.
Also, when you do your cost sheet, your visa will usually be projected in the cost analysis. However, the cost of a new or renewed passport is generally not considered, so be aware!
When it comes to funds, what is the best way to make sure you have access to cash when you need it? Also, your destination may require you to operate with the local currency rather than American dollars. Contacting your bank to inquire about access via your ATM card is a crucial element to this. Also, decide how much actual cash to have on you, versus safety. This is reviewed during the safety literature during your application process.
Most providers will provide you with a local cell phone that will make local phone calls. Many times, these costs are free, however this varies, so check with your provider. These cell phones are emergency use mostly, and carry expensive charges for US calling. Most students suggest securing a legitimate pre paid cell phone from a reputable seller at your destination; discuss with your onsite provider office for the best location for such a pre paid phone for calling home if need be.
Resource from U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affair