Studying Abroad? Be Prepared

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For most students, back to school means buying a new backpack and No. 2 pencils, and getting the laptop computer ready. But for students studying outside their home country, the preparation is much more challenging. Aside from studying a new language and learning new customs, both U.S. students studying abroad and international students coming to the United States must plan for the duration of their trip – whether it’s a semester or a year. This includes preparing for unexpected situations that can arise when being away from home for an extended period of time -- here are a few pre-departure tips for making the study abroad experience easier.

For most students, back to school means buying a new backpack and No. 2 pencils, and getting the laptop computer ready. But for students studying outside their home country, the preparation is much more challenging.

Aside from studying a new language and learning new customs, both U.S. students studying abroad and international students coming to the United States must plan for the duration of their trip – whether it’s a semester or a year. This includes preparing for unexpected situations that can arise when being away from home for an extended period of time.

Here are a few pre-departure tips for making the study abroad experience easier:

·    Back up your important records. Make three photocopies of your passport, visa and other important documents, such as Travelers Checks. Leave a copy at home, keep one and provide one to your study-abroad leaders. Having copies of these documents will expedite replacement if the originals are lost or stolen.

·    Purchase international student health insurance. Every year, thousands of students studying outside their home country require emergency medical treatment and are unprepared for the high costs involved. Affordable plans such as Study USA-HealthCare meet most program requirements while offering comprehensive coverage.

·    Purchase pre-paid phone cards or an international cell phone to make calling home simple and less expensive. Remember to pack an up-to-date address book and include all important phone numbers for family and friends, as well as physicians, the number for your own embassy and contacts at your college or university.

·    Prepare your finances. This requires more than just budgeting for your stay. Make sure you take enough cash to exchange when you arrive – taking into account incidentals. Also, check with your local bank to ensure you will have access to your account through ATMs in your host country. Using ATMs provides a simple way to obtain your money in the currency you’ll need.

·    Fill prescriptions to cover your needs while you are away. Also, verify that the prescriptions you are taking with you are not considered controlled substances in your host country.

·    Pack all guides and pre-departure materials in carry-on luggage, including a map of the area you are traveling to. This guarantees that even if luggage is lost or stolen, you’ll have the paperwork you need as soon as your plane touches down.

·    Save room in your luggage to pack souvenirs when you return home.

Interested in learning more about the importance of health insurance for your study abroad experience? Visit http://www.travelinsure.com to find answers to frequently asked questions and rates for Study USA-HealthCare.

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Kathy Barlow
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