How to prepare for Exchange/Living Abroad

How to prepare for Exchange/Living Abroad

Some of us decide at certain moment in our life to change our surrounding, city, country, weather is because of the studies, job, love or just the inner desire to change and know the world. It is the big step in our life that requires mental strength and courage, but also some technical and practical preparation. In this article we will list some basic of preparation when going abroad.

Language

It is not likely that you will move or go on exchange in the same speaking language country as your native one. It can happen off course, but in the case You are facing a new language, it is best to prepare by learning at least some basic so you can manage upon your arrival. Sentence like: where is…, Thank You, Please, Good Day, How much, numbers, etc.

Local expats community/Erasmus Organisation

It is hard to leave Your friend and families behind, and some of us face loneliness when coming to the new city. But the good thing is, You are not the only foreigner in the city/place and they all face the same situation. That is why There is a lot of associations, organizations that are connecting people and organizing events. For Young Student there are Youth Organizations like ESN whose main purpose it to organize events for all the incoming students and also local students. ESN is the biggest student organization in Europe, so wherever You go, it is likely that you will find one of their branches. Except ESN (Erasmus Student Network), a lot of other student organizations or agencies are organizing parties, travels, meetings, once You reach Your destination, there will be a lot of options for You.

If You are an adult, moving because of Your job or love, there are expats (An expatriate, shortened to expat is a person residing in a country other than their native country) communities everywhere. They organize events for every foreigner in the city. Except expats communities, there are also communities, societies, organization that gather certain nationalities (Balkan, Russian, American…). All You need to do to find them is use your Internet connection, for example Facebook is full of this type of groups.

Currency

You don’t want to go to a certain country without checking their currency first. It is a common mistake that people assume that every country in European Union is using Euro and that is wrong, there is European Union and there is Eurozone (countries using Euro). If the country is in EU, does not necessarily mean that they use euro as currency. So be sure do to your research about local currency.

Also, it is good to have some worldwide card like Revolut or Transferwise. This types of card are very useful because You can open account in every currency and change your money by real rate, without commission. Also this types of card assure You to take money from the ATMs without commission or with very low commission. It saves a lot of Your money that You would spend by using Your native card, because bank have tendency to charge a large commission for conversion.

Another option is to open a bank account in local bank.

Transportation

Plane, bus, train, bla bla car, there is variety of options to use to reach a certain place. Make sure to use the most practical one and to check local transportation. For reaching from one country to another with plane, there are many good sites for searching flites like: Kiwi.com, Skyscanner… For bus options there is for example, busradar, flixbus.

For domestic transportation there are always certain apps for the country and city, but even google maps is a good option sometimes, because it offers you tram/bus/metro numbers and different routes. However, if you are moving from one country to another, then it is important for you to safely transport your items as well. Many pack & ship companies in the market allows for such safe transportation and provides impeccable services at best rates.

Sim Card

Within European Union there is roaming, so sim card is not really essential, but outside of Europe it is more then necessary. Mostly because of the Internet, orientation, but also for phone calls and messages. So You can check on Internet the best SIM card options.

Residence and Visa

Make sure to check with local embassy what are your requirements for going abroad: do You need visa, what is necessary after visa expires… You will probably need to make a residence permit, which requires a lot of papers, some money and off course a You need a valid and registered home.

Insurance

You never know what life can bring You so it better to be prepared and have insurance, local one or worldwide one. Also You need insurance for Your job, Internship, Visa, Residence permit. So it is basically a technical necessity.

Culture customs/gestures

You don’t want to offend anyone when living abroad, so its a good thing to do some research about the customs, gestures that local citizens find offensive or not, because You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

And at the end make sure Your passport is valid for at least 6 more months before going to country that requires You to have one.