Studying Abroad? Look out for these tips for you set off

Apart from giving you the knowledge you are seeking studying abroad gives you exposure to new language, culture and history. But it requires good amount of homework along with paperwork and most important finances. If you are planning to study abroad then read on…

WORDS: SANGEETA SINHA

THE idea of studying abroad is attracting students all over the world. There is no doubt that moving beyond your comfort zone helps you become self-reliant and gives you more opportunities for personal growth. But it is important that you have clarity about your reasons to study abroad. Once you are clear about your purpose then selecting the country/course becomes simpler. If choosing the right course and university is important, it is equally important to understand the procedures involved with student visa application. Different countries have different rules and consultants in the field can help you with the process.
Foreign fees are high and that is the reason financial capabilities are checked before issuing the visa. If you don’t want your visa be rejected on grounds of finance, you have to show that you have financial support from your parents. Financial capability plays a major role in your visa application says father of an applicant going through the process.

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Studying abroad requires plenty of money and not all get scholarships so loan is the only option to meet the expenses. Interest rates are high and loans over 5 lakhs are generally with a co-lateral. This needs to be evaluated. Just spending money and studying is not the point unless there is job potential. After all you will need to earn and pay back your loan. You need to check whether the country allows for post-study stay back option.
However, these things are only for evaluation purpose and not for mentioning in your SOP (Statement of Purpose), says father of a young aspirant planning to study abroad. It becomes one of the reasons for visa rejection because you have no obligation to return to your home country. Even if the country you plan to go for studies allows for stay back, don’t mention about your plans to stay back. Your visa may get rejected says an expert from the field. You need to prove that you are not a potential immigrant and you have full plans to get back to your home country.
Once your visa is approved and you are ready to travel it is important that you do your homework well. Make sure you are well acquainted with all the entry and exit rules of the country. Once you land in the foreign land the immigration officer would need to see all your documents so that he allows you to enter the country.

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Keep all your documents handy; passport, visa, offer letter from the university, bank statement, financials etc. While abroad, a student’s passport is one of the most important documents to keep safe. It is important to have photocopies of important documents with your parents or any trusted person in case of theft or loss.
Some countries would also need to verify your accommodation. Coming to accommodation, it is important to get to a genuine property dealer. Scams are common in this field. Don’t make any payment without checking the site. If the deposit asked is very high or if you want to view the site and are refused then get suspicious and it is better to avoid such deals.
Health insurance is another important area. Many countries like UK provide for health insurance but certain countries like Ireland don’t do it. You have to take private insurance which is mandatory for visa application. Prior to departure, the student should make an appointment with his/her doctor for a check-up. Going to a new country could mean exposure to foreign diseases or illnesses, and students should be up to date on all vaccinations. Now health being very important students often carry medicines. Make sure you are not carrying any drug which is banned in that country. And if you are carrying medicines in large quantities it is better to carry prescription along.
Cooking is something all students will need to do in the foreign land; after all how much can you eat out.

It is better to carry some utensils. Since fire cooking does not happen in many countries, carry utensils which work on induction. Pressure cooker is something which most students find useful in a foreign land and it will be helpful if you carry one too. Also make sure you carry a universal adaptor.
Money is another important part of your travelling abroad for studies. It is important you know about the various options available to carry out monetary transactions overseas. Forex card must be carried by all students travelling abroad for studies. Foreign currency demand draft (FCDD) is also an option. Other options include wire transfer, travelers’ cheques etc. Make sure you are in full control of your finances in foreign land. Having a small amount of the native currency is important to have in case of emergency.

And last but not the least do your own homework says Chavi Sinha a young aspirant travelling to Ireland for higher studies. Consultants play a major role in giving you guidance and assistance and keep you away from hassles but it is also important that you do your own homework too. Talk to others and connect with more and more people to gain knowledge and insight on travelling abroad. Social media can be a great help to connect and get information. Consulting with students who have already completed a period of study abroad is a great way to learn about what to expect and how to pack for the trip, she adds.
Check the weather conditions and shop appropriately. It is also a good idea to shop in the country where you plan to study so that you get the right clothes for the weather conditions there.

CONSIDER
☛ Be careful with your baggage; never leave it unattended or with strangers
☛ It is a good idea to have travel insurance
☛ Use only authorized agents for currency exchange
☛ Try to understand the layout of the city through a guide or city map
☛ Preferably your accommodation should be in place before you land
☛ Carefully review all your travel documents
☛ If possible try to land in new city during daytime
☛ Get in touch with tourist desk about the safe means to reach your destination
☛ Abide by the country code and dress accordingly
☛ Make copies of all your important documents like passport, offer letter, visa etc.