Studying abroad? Everything you need to know before stepping on-board
(ARA) - Studying abroad is an invaluable experience; it can introduce you to a whole new world, train you in a new language and help open doors to future endeavors. However, preparing to live in an unfamiliar place for an extended period of time is not something that can be taken lightly, and requires the requisite amount of preparation.
Whether you are traveling yourself, or you have a child who is studying abroad, it's important to take both practical precautions for everyday life, as well as plan for more uncommon, worst-case scenario situations. While there are plenty of things to go over before you embark on your journey, here's a list of things you should consider before boarding the plane:
* Plan ahead to figure out how you will communicate with your loved ones. Ask your school about temporary cell phone plans and if they aren't available, consider purchasing an international phone card at home to use at payphones and landlines abroad.
* Figure out how you will manage your money. Your school should be able to tell you what banks or ATMs will be compatible with your accounts, as well as the best places to exchange your cash. Talk with your parents about how they can wire you more money if you need it.
* Check with your health insurance provider to make sure you are covered if you get sick or hurt while studying abroad. If you won't be covered under your plan, ask your provider or your school about temporary coverage options.
* In addition to your health insurance, it's a good idea to also purchase an additional medical and travel assistance membership. While your health insurance can cover medical procedures if you get sick or injured, a membership with a travel and medical assistance company, like On Call International, will cover things like emergency medical evacuation expenses in the event that you can't be treated locally or need to return home for long-term recovery. Academic Memberships offered by On Call International are designed for students and faculty going abroad, and provide access to a 24-hour global response center that allows you to speak with an English-speaking nurse for over-the-phone recommendations, or to speak with an assistance coordinator for help with other needs such as worldwide dental, medical and pharmacy referrals. The service also provides help for inconveniences like credit card replacement assistance or assistance with lost or stolen luggage or travel documents. For more information, visit www.oncallinternational.com.
* Research where you will be living and see if there are any particular areas in the city you should avoid. Whether you are at home or abroad, it's always a good idea to know your surroundings. You should also check for reports on thieves using scams to dupe tourists or those unfamiliar with the area, so you can avoid them. Use common sense when dealing with strangers, just as you would at home.
While it's wise to take these precautions before you head out, don't get bogged down worrying about what could happen. It's always good to prepare for the worst, but you're far more likely to go through your trip without incident and have a great time. By simply planning in advance, you'll have peace of mind of knowing that you're prepared for almost anything you will encounter during your travels.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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