You’ve already made the first big leap—you’ve decided to study abroad in the U.S. Your time abroad will be full of unique opportunities and exciting experiences, but going to a new country can be daunting. You may be worried about being prepared, and that worry may grow as your departure date approaches. Instead of being worried, make sure you are properly prepared by following this last-minute to-do list:
Verify your travel information
The first step is, of course, getting there. Make sure you know the times of your departure and arrival. Flights can change, so keep checking frequently as your flight gets closer. Also, make sure you have all transportation arranged to get to and from the airport.
Print any maps you might need
Maps may seem old school, but depending on your cell phone provider, your phone may only work when connected to wireless internet, so you won’t be able to access GPS in most cases. Maps will help you navigate throughout your new city.
Ensure your important documents are safe
Studying abroad means you’ll need to have some important documents with you, like your passport and other valuables. Don’t put those items in your checked luggage—carry it on, and try to keep them close to you.
Have cash on hand
If you can get it ahead of time, it’s good to have American money on hand. If you can’t, try to find an ATM as soon as possible to get cash, just in case of any emergencies.
Make a budget
It’s easy to spend a lot of money when you’re in the midst of an exciting experience. To prevent overspending, set a budget for your time abroad, and make an effort to stick to it.
Put your name on all your items
Add labels that include your name, address, and phone number on the inside and outside of all the luggage items you have. This can help prevent any confusion or lost luggage in transit.
Write a list of what to pack, and check it
Think of everything you’re going to need on your trip. Look at the weather to make sure you have all the appropriate clothing that you will need in your new city. Think of other items that might be essential, like multiple phone chargers, school supplies you might need, and maybe a few things to remind you of home, like photos or your favorite snacks. Make a list of everything you’ll want, and go over it several times to make sure you’ve got it all.
Figure out how to communicate with home
Depending on your phone and your provider, the way you can contact home may vary. It might be FaceTime or Skype, or you may be able to call and text. Check with your service provider and see what your options are. Make sure you follow any instructions carefully so you don’t get charged extra fees.
Do some research
To ease any other worries, do some research on what America is like and how you can be prepared for the culture. The more prepared you feel for this experience, the more at ease you will be going into it.
Checking these items off this list should ease your concerns, but if you’re still worried, try talking with other students who have already studied abroad in the U.S. They may be able to offer some insights on what to expect, or they may share advice about mistakes they made or items they forgot to bring.
Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world's largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.