The ultimate pre-departure primer: Prepare like a pro!

Leaving your place of comfort to pursue studies abroad? Finding your footing in a new land and trying to acclimate yourself to a new culture can be extremely daunting. This is especially overwhelming when you have to do it while being thousands of miles away from your support system and simultaneously juggling the many demands of a new university life.

Before hopping onto this rollercoaster journey, take a moment to evaluate whether all of your pre-departure formalities are in place. Curious about the specifics? Don’t worry, we’ll be your five star tour guide as we delve into the details with this informative piece.

Pre-departure prep

This is a summary overview of the non-negotiable elements in your pre-departure prep. It’s really all about the 3 p’s – preparation, preparation, preparation but we will dive deeper so you don’t miss anything!

1. Prepare a checklist

Although gaining acceptance into your desired university is undeniably a pivotal milestone, it is merely the first stride among many that await you on your journey overseas. How can you effectively manage all the rest?? The answer lies in checklist/s. Record every item on your agenda, regardless of how seemingly insignificant, in an organized manner, be it on paper or within the notes app on your phone. This way, you can keep all the essential information in one accessible location, ensuring nothing slips from your attention. You may create several for different categories like – travel, clothing, essentials, admin etc.

Some important documents you cannot miss out on include

  • Letter of acceptance and enrolment
  • Flight tickets
  • Student ID + identification documents
  • Relevant documents like bank statements and pay slips, or scholarship certificates as proof of funds
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Academic certificates from high school to IELTS or GMAT
  • Medical reports and health insurance documents
  • Passport + visa original and photocopy
  • Travel Insurance

2. Book your flights in advance

International flights can be pretty steep so it pays to book ahead as much as possible. You might pay much more the closer you book to your departure date. Besides, booking in advance increases your chances of landing a direct flight to your destination. Multiple reliable third-party websites have attractive offers around the year. Make it a point to scan through them and sign up for the sales updates. You will surely find something that will put a smile on your face and your wallet.

3. Check your passport + valid visa

One of the first things you must do before assembling your documents is to check how long your passport is valid for. It should have more than 6 months left after the completion of your course. Also, do not keep the visa process until the last minute; ensure this important step is ticked off well before time (even booking the tickets, we’d recommend).

4. Get a health checkup done

For you to have a fulfilling academic experience abroad, your must be in good health. Chart out a comprehensive plan of action in consultation with your doctor to effectively manage your health. Also, goes without saying, if you are under any prescription, make certain to fill it out and pack it among your belongings. Medications should be sealed and have the prescription paperwork from your Doctor.

5. Read about your destination

Moving to a new country, particularly as a student, can be overwhelming. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone in every sense of the word- physical, mental, and emotional. A good way to gain some sense of familiarity with your destination is to read as much about it as possible. Look up their traditions, customs, and cultural practices that you need to be respectful of. Dive deep into the history and explore all the touristy spots to see what it has in store. If possible, learn a few common phrases in the local language, too; it might be extremely handy and an ice breaker.

Besides accruing familiarity, this will offer you many experiences to look forward to when you set foot in your destination country.

6. Sort out your accommodation

This is one of the essential items you must take care of before leaving. Most international students choose one of the following three options when it comes to accommodation:

  • On-campus accommodation
  • Homestays
  • Off-campus apartments

Every option has its pro’s and con’s and it depends on your preferences on what will be best for you. The best is to research in advance and talk to the experts to soundly determine what fits your requirements the best. We, at Gradstar, provide a range of premium to budget accommodation support services, including helping you find a suitable place to live, negotiating rental agreements, and arranging airport pickups.

Wrapping up

Pre-departure prep involves a lot of things and can appear overwhelming if you don’t have a guiding figure by your side. This is where Gradstar comes into the picture. Book an appointment with one of our Dream Makers to co-design your once-in-a-lifetime experience studying overseas.

From completing your application profile to organizing pre-departure orientation workshops, Gradstar covers you on all fronts. We have decades of experience leading international teams at top universities worldwide. This experience has informed our services, which aims to find the best possible study solution for you. We treat students like people, not numbers. Our Dream Makers support you through enrollment, including help with visas, travel, and accommodation. Book an appointment today.

Date Published: May-29-2023

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

This blog was written by Gradstar Global Education.