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The ‘Overseas Student Checklist’ – A Short First Hand Experience

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So you are excited about travelling overseas -a new educational journey for you. You are exited about staying in a new country, studying in a renowned university, and all the bells and whistles that it comes with. A new financial and personal independence. New friends. New culture.

But is it all sunshine and roses? Have you ever thought about leaving home for the first time and staying away from the meticulously loved and pampered environment that you were brought up in, away from your parents?

Trust me, it will be as much intimidating in the beginning as it will be fun.

Back when I was in standard 10, I had the opportunity to go to Singapore to pursue my further education. One of Asia’s major financial and lifestyle hubs, a major educational center, and home to some of the ‘creme de la creme’ universities in the world, my excitement was at cloud nine.

And it was a pleasant experience indeed, but it is worth sharing that staying alone for the first time, that too in a foreign land, is indeed intimidating first. The cultural difference, a new environment -something totally different and out of your comfort zone, can take time to get adjusted to. And it indeed is worth sharing for any other prospective candidate that wishes to go overseas for his education.

Therefore, I have prepared the following checklist -the absolute necessaries that you should absolutely cover before you embark on your journey.

  • RESEARCH! Before you go stay at your new place, research the area and the important places nearby -medical shops, convenience stores, metro stations etc. You are in a new country, and you should have a basic idea of where is what. 
  • Get an ISD pack on your phone. Being from an Indian household, I can almost say for certain (for most people) that the first thing you’ll do after reaching your destination is call your parents. Get a low tariff-low validity plan with data, since you’ll be getting a local SIM card anyway. A phone with data will also help you access Google Maps, which can be a life saviour at times.
  • Keep enough cash on you. I know that most of you will opt for a FOREX card (and you should, it is the best and safest way for your folks to send you money), but keeping enough cash in handy will take care for your immediate necessities like food and transportation when you reach your destination. Although the amount varies from country to country, keeping at least INR 20,000 should get you started and keep you hassle-free.
  • Keep your passport safe at all times. This is the single most important document you’ll have with you during your stay overseas. Lose it, and you’ll land yourself into a lot of unnecessary trouble. Your passport will help you to get everything -from a student’s ID Card to a new SIM card. So keep it safe and secure.
  • Travel with essentials only. Travelling to a new country is bound to make you literally take a part of your home with you, but in the end, you may not end up using a lot of those things. I took three pair of shoes with me, and never used one. Try to plan your itinerary beforehand, check your baggage limits with the airlines, and travel smart.
  • Apply for all required documents like student ID, Bank account, permits (many countries will require you to apply for one) on time. Consult your university helpdesk in case of any issues -they will be happy to help you.

Travelling to a new place overseas for studies is an exiting phase of your life. Financial and personal independence awaits you. But it also brings a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. With some proper planning, a little foresight and a positive attitude, it can be an experience of a lifetime.

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