Studying abroad can be a fantastic experience, allowing you to really get to know the culture and people of a different country. Time abroad is enriching, leaving you with memories and experiences, and is a wonderful opportunity to really explore and connect with a town or city for life.
Ensuring your studying abroad period runs smoothly is important. One of the most essential things you need to have before you go, is the correct documentation. Plan ahead and be prepared with everything you need from a place at your chosen university, to any additional visa documentation required to study in another country, plus travel insurance to cover you throughout the duration.
Here are our top travel tips on the documentation you need to study abroad:
Although this may seem obvious, it is the most vital document for travel and study abroad. Make sure your passport has not expired and will be valid for the entirety of your time abroad. Be sure to have at least six month’s validity remaining on your passport after your return date in case plans change.
Students studying outside of Europe or non UK/EU students studying within Europe will normally have to show immigration documents upon arrival in their host country. These documents will vary depending on study location and duration.
Make sure you have checked with both your international university and with the embassy of the country you are travelling to, to organise the visas needed to study and live legally in that country. Organise this months in advance of your departure.
When travelling keep your documents in your hand luggage so that they are easily to hand when you pass immigration control.
Make sure you have printed out all the documents sent to you by the institution you will be studying at. Any official acceptance letters and module confirmation documents should be kept in your hand luggage as you may need these as ‘proof of stay’ when passing through immigration.
You should also print off any directional details of where you should go and register on your first day, of any module lists, or even a map of the campus. It is best to be prepared and know what you need to do so you can feel as relaxed and confident as possible when arriving and settling in.
It may be useful to use your student card as identification when registering at your host university. An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) may be worthwhile getting (www.isiccard.com) as this is the only document internationally accepted as proof of your student status. It also can give you lots of great discounts and access to the ISIC 24-hour free helpline which can help with health, legal and general emergencies.
This card is essential if you are going to study in Europe, and can be applied for online: www.ehic.org.uk
If you already have an EHIC card, check that it has not expired and will be valid for the entirety of your trip.
Although you will also have travel insurance to cover you whilst you study abroad, many travel insurance companies will require you to have an EHIC if travelling within Europe.
This is essential even if you are travelling in Europe and have an EHIC. Getting good quality travel insurance will give you and your family peace of mind if the unexpected does occur, and something goes wrong whilst you are away.
If you do need to take medication with you, then it is a good idea to get a letter from your doctor explaining what medication you have in case you are stopped at customs.
Copies of all of your most important documentation such as your passport, any visa or immigration documentation, birth certificate, driving license, travel insurance or vaccination certificates are very important in case you have any issues or need to replace them at some point. Remember to store them in a safe place separately from the originals though!
Spare passport photos are also very useful as it can be difficult to find a photo booth in a new city and you may need them for your student ID card, or other documents at your new institution.
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