So, you’ve reached that age where you need to start thinking about what you want to do with your life, or perhaps you are after a change of direction? Here’s the options; continue with or return to studying, spend some time discovering the world, apply for a job or opt for a career change. Without sounding corny, the opportunities are endless but why should you have to choose just one of those options? What about combining them? Please see further information on Studying Abroad here.
Studying abroad allows you to learn new skills, gain life experience, explore new destinations, expand your CV and even take part in volunteer schemes.
In comparison to the United Kingdom, the cost of higher education abroad is considerably cheaper and many universities within the EU offer English taught degrees.
So, whilst you’re deciding where in the world you would like to spend the next year or so, here are some other, quite important, things you need to consider.
Buying the right travel insurance
You are likely to be out of the country for long periods at a time and, unlike in the UK, medical expenses abroad do not come cheap. Generally speaking, most universities will not provide travel insurance so it is down to you to make sure you have the right cover in place for your specific needs.
But with so many travel insurance policies on the market, where should you start?
Your best bet is to look for a backpacker, gap year or long stay travel insurance policy that will allow you to purchase an ‘add on’ for studying abroad (this will provide cover for university fees, if you need to cancel your studies or return home early and are unable to complete the course).
Most travel insurance policies that are designed for longer trips (over a month in duration) will include two return trips home, up to a set number of days, without breaking cover, as standard but some will offer three or four trips back - so this may be something to look out for.
Also make sure there is adequate cover for your personal possessions, and gadgets – no one wants to be without their laptop on the run up to handing in their dissertation, right?
Visas and Passport
Depending on where you plan to study, how long you will be spending in the country and whether you’ll be working, you may need to apply for a visa. This should be done in plenty of time before your departure date to allow for delays. It is important to remember if you do not have the correct visa for your trip and are refused entry to a country the cost of the trip, university fees and the return flight home will not be covered by your travel insurance.
As I am sure you know, to enter a country abroad you need a valid UK passport. What you may not know is, depending on where you are travelling some country’s will require you to have at least six months left on your passport AFTER your return date home (for example if you are due to return home in April, your passport must be valid until at least October).
When travelling abroad, always keep your passport in a safe place and carry of photocopy instead of the original. If you do lose your passport or it is stolen, most travel insurers will cover the cost of an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) and some will cover if you miss you flight due to travelling to collect your ETD.
Local Area and Laws
When living in a different country you must follow their laws and are liable for the consequences if you fail to do so.
Spend some time researching the country and local area you are staying in so you are aware of the do’s and don’ts. It is also worth familiarising yourself with where the local hospital, pharmacy, police station and help points are – just in case.
Some areas abroad are known for pickpocketing, mugging and targeting tourists. Whilst you’re technically a student and not a tourist, criminals do not know this so remain vigilant and do not carry excessive amounts of cash, wear expensive jewellery or carry valuable on show.
Consider what you need to pack
You are theoretically moving out, so you need to make sure you have all the essentials.
Most universities will be able to recommend local accommodation so spend some time contacting each one to see if they supply things like cooking utensils, bedding, towels etc. That way you will be able to plan your budget effectively and wont waste valuable suitcase space trying to pack absolutely everything.