Taking the first steps to study abroad in another country is understandably both exciting and a little bit scary. But studying in another country will not only help you exceed academically, it will also open new perspectives that you would have never known about.
5 Important Things to Remember if You are Planning to Study Abroad this Summer
If you are considering studying abroad this summer, there are some important things to keep in mind—outside of how many pairs of shorts to bring.
1. The Expense of Study Abroad
We are going to get right to it; you are probably stressing about how much money to take this summer. The expenses you can expect can be affected by a variety of factors, some of which are:
- The school you choose to go to
- Which program you select at that school
- How much additional support is offered at your chosen school
- Exchange rates
- Travel costs
- Cost of living in the area you are considering
In many cases, it can be quite affordable to study outside of the country with the possibility of financial support being available to you. This varies from school to school, but many institutions offer special rates for students applying through joint programs with schools in other countries.
Knowing your options and creating a plan that will best suit your needs will prepare you for how expensive it will be while you are studying abroad this summer. Remember, you can always contact your student advisor to receive more information about the financial programs available to you.
2. Do I Need a Student Visa?
Having a student visa depends on the country you’ll be studying in and how long you will be studying there. Some countries have agreements with the United States to allow you study without a visa if your stay is under the stated amount of time. Other countries will require you to apply for a student visa, while others need proof of adequate health and travel insurance. For more information about the student visa process, click here.
3. You Should Have the Right Health Insurance
Having medical insurance is likely not something you are thinking about when traveling to another country this summer, but it is imperative to have while you are away. Here is why:
An Unexpected Accident or Sickness Could Occur
If you are studying abroad for an extended amount of time, there is a chance that you could get sick with the flu or experience an unexpected injury. Life is unpredictable, and accidents happen. You could injure yourself while you are away or get sick from food. If this happens, you want to make sure that you will get the treatment you need so that you can continue your education in full health.
You Might Have to Pay Expensive Medical Bills Out of Pocket
If something unfortunate does happen to you while you are away and you are uninsured, you could be left with an expensive medical bill. Contrary to popular belief, healthcare in other countries is not always 100 percent free. You can’t just walk into any healthcare facility with zero worries about how much treatment will cost. Having the right insurance can ensure that you won’t end up with a large medical bill.
Study Abroad Health Insurance is Easy to Obtain
Getting health insurance might seem like a burden, but applying for study abroad health insurance is quick and easy. Doing that paperwork now will save you a lot of headaches in the long run if an emergency does happen.
4. Know the Cultural Intricacies of Where You Will Be Studying
It is essential to familiarize yourself on the cultural differences of the country you will be studying in. For example, in a lot of other countries, the practice of tipping your servers or bartenders is considered rude.
If you don’t understand these differences, you may find yourself feeling embarrassed or worse. Some things that are not considered a big deal in the U.S. could be illegal in other countries and result in fines or imprisonment. A little research goes a long way when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the culture you will be traveling to.
5. Safety (Finding Embassies and Knowing Places to Avoid)
You should always be aware of your surroundings and do your research, so you know what areas are unsafe in the country you will be staying in. Your health and safety are the two most important things to prioritize while you are studying abroad.
If you do find yourself in trouble, your first point of contact will likely be your home school’s study abroad coordinator or international student advisor. However, if a serious emergency occurs, you should go straight to your country’s embassy. Make sure you know the number and address of your embassy’s location before you leave your home country.
At LewerMark, we understand your unique needs as a student studying abroad. That’s why we’ve designed every LewerMark Study Abroad Plan you in mind. We partner with trained multilingual and medical personnel available to advise and assist, quickly and professionally if you are experiencing a medical emergency or need medical treatment.
If your school does not provide study abroad health insurance plans to you before you go to study abroad, click here to learn more about LewerMark’s study abroad health insurance plans.
Author: Erin Caswell
Erin is Assistant Vice President of LewerMark Student Insurance division. Erin has a degree in Education and worked as an instructor before joining LewerMark more than six years ago.