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10 Things You Should Do Before Studying Abroad

10 Things You Should Do Before Studying Abroad

By Kamil Zawadzki

September 03, 2008

Do you have your ISIC? An (ISIC) is a student ID you can use abroad. This $22 investment is not a prerequisite for travel, but it functions as a discount card and can save you money at hostels, restaurants, museums and more. The International Student Travel Corporation (ISTC) offers detailed lists of ISIC discount locations throughout the world.

Keeping in touch. Your family and friends may want to keep in touch with you by more than just e-mail and instant-messaging while you’re abroad. Consult your school or search online for international cell phones and plans. Ask your current service provider whether your phone can be used abroad; find out what fees may apply. Don’t want to buy a new phone or plan? International calling cards are another option. You can usually buy one once you’re abroad.

Got connections? Traveling can be stressful, especially when you’re navigating foreign airports. You don’t want to miss a flight or lose your luggage because of a tight connection. Book your flights so there’s enough time for you and your luggage to get to the next plane. Keep in mind that any delay on the first flight will make your connection that much tighter. Most travel agents suggest at least two hours between international flights.

Pleading ignorance doesn’t cut it. You can use the to research some of the basic laws of your host country without wading through volumes of legal jargon. Keep in mind that differences between U.S. and foreign laws are not limited to drinking age; there may be other standards that you should know about. In Singapore, for instance, it’s a crime to jaywalk, sell gum or not flush the toilet after use.

You’re probably going to come back at some point. Even if you want to travel after your academic program is over, purchase a round-trip ticket. Otherwise, you may have a difficult time finding a one-way flight back and it may cost you more. Some countries require a return itinerary upon entry, so it may prove essential rather than optional. There may also be a limit on how long you can stay once your visa expires.

Check with your travel agency and chosen airline about their policy regarding return date/flight changes. Plan ahead to make sure you’re at the right airport early on your return date.

STA Travel and Student Universe are two popular sites with discount airfare and insurance that students can use to plan their travels and get tips from people who have already gone abroad.

Do some light research ahead of time and your trip will be more enjoyable. Bon voyage!


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