Studying abroad is an adventure that draws the attention of many young and old who seek to live new experiences, meet people and, at the same time, improve their level of English.
There are language courses for young people of all kinds: summer courses, mini-stays, academic years, semesters, trimesters, English courses abroad for adults, English courses with families … there are many possibilities that we find when we begin to consider traveling abroad to learn languages.
An English course abroad makes the student feel confident when speaking in a foreign language, but it also means a leap in maturity for the student who learns to be more tolerant of cultural differences and to take responsibility for their own conflicts.
Mom and Dad won’t be around to get your chestnuts out of the fire, and we’re not just talking about teenagers, there are some thirty-something who still need their parents to go to the bank …
However, embarking on a trip of these characteristics is not an easy decision, especially if it is for a long stay as it involves a very drastic change in your routine and involves many other responsibilities that you probably have not had to face alone before.
Hence, you need to know some study abroad tips before taking your trip. Here are top 8 tips to study abroad and not die trying.
- Choose a suitable study destination
Studying abroad means that you need to study and live in another country and city for a period of time, maybe 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or even longer. So while choosing a study destination, you should think carefully and choose a suitable country or region. Otherwise, you may suffer a lot when you study abroad.
2. Be careful when choosing a language center
Every city has a huge number of language centers. The price is usually one of the decisive characteristics when choosing but it is not the only detail you should look at. The area in which the center is located is very important, do you like the tranquility of the outskirts or do you want to experience the bustle of the natives every day and be in contact with it?
In general, language schools abroad have very complete facilities and usually offer very competent services but it does not hurt to inform yourself of the differences between them and choose accordingly.
Another aspect to take into account is the type of students who usually attend each academy, it is not the same to be a 15-year-old and end up in an academy full of professionals who want to learn business English than to be an adult who uses their savings to travel abroad and ends up in a class where all the students could be his children.
That will prevent you from connecting with your peers and feeling comfortable to speak up, which is what you go for.
3. Consider what accommodation you are looking for
The three main types of accommodation for international students that we come across when planning a trip of these characteristics are native families, student residences and shared houses. The last one is only recommended if the stay is going to be very long and if the level of maturity of the student is very high since after all it is about renting an apartment and living on your own.
For this reason, we recommend in most cases one of the first two options. Both have their pros and cons, it is all up to you deciding what is more rewarding for you.
Families are perfect for getting along with English and really using it, but sometimes they take the term family very seriously and go with you wherever you go. A student residence, on the other hand, gives you more freedom, but the tendency is usually for you to meet people from your own country, which is not beneficial to improving your language proficiency.
4. Purchase a health insurance
With the European health card, you have basic health needs covered in countries where health is public or with a certain percentage of copayment. However, if you are in a country where healthcare is private, they will charge you an arm and a leg even for going for ibuprofen, so we recommend that you study well the situation in your destination country and if it is necessary, take out a health insurance that can cover your well-being.
5. Do not forget the paperwork
Traveling abroad is not a piece of cake, each country asks for some documents and demands some requirements to enter its borders. It is clear that some are stricter than others but all have some kind of bureaucratic procedure to offer residency.
Normally an ID or a passport is enough but in some countries a visa or certified and signed documents are necessary. If the student is younger, the paperwork increases, have everything prepared and in order so that you do not have any problems when they ask for it.
6. Make full preparations
Arriving in an unfamiliar country, where you don’t know anyone, you don’t know the name of any of the streets and you probably just fumble the language can be stressful the first few days. Finding a hotel to sleep in until you find definitive accommodation, looking for a suitable language center, visiting the city and meeting people becomes much more difficult if you go without having prepared the ground a little from home.
In this case it is better not to improvise and to have a clear planning, at least during the first days. It seems unbelievable but time passes very quickly and everyone who does not take advantage of it will get lost.
7. Kick every corner of the city
To know a city you have to walk it. Until one day you don’t feel like having your feet ripped from the pain that has caused you to spend hours and hours lost in the city, you won’t be able to say that you know where you are.
Are you afraid of getting lost? The fear is psychological. Look at it this way, so you will surely dare to speak English to ask how to get to your accommodation.
8. Control the means of public transport
In the day to day you will move in public transport, Metro, bus, tram or whatever. We doubt that you want to spend a fortune on taxis, so the ideal is that the first days you go to the metro, bus or tourist information point to ask for a map of public transport and start using it. When you realize it, you will be an expert and you will be able to go where you propose. With these 8studying abroad tips you can go to the end of the world. If you want to know more about studying abroad, you can go to CatEight. You can find a great number of news and tips about studying abroad there.