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THE UK: Applying to University

10 things to do before moving to Europe

Already got your acceptance into a European institution? Read our list of 10 things to do before you move to Europe so that you’ll be able to settle in without any hiccups.

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As with any study abroad journey, there are a few pertinent/essential things that you will need to do beforehand. It does not simply involve packing up your entire life into a suitcase… We spoke to some students who have just returned from their time abroad in Europe and we’ve shortlisted these 10 tips to help you prepare for your own trip here.

 

Learn the language 

 

It’s always important that you learn the language of the country that you’re moving to, most countries in Europe would have their own native language, unless you’re studying in London! Picking up the local language, even if it’s just the basics when you’re starting out, will greatly help you from feeling lost and alone in a strange new country.

It might be tempting to just pick up a language book at the store nearby, but you’re probably not going to learn much, we suggest you opt for a proper language class, one-on-one if possible. Language is a complex thing and with classes, you’ll have experienced tutors to help you with your pronunciation and encourage you. You’ll be able to flex your newly-minted language skills with them through conversations and they might even have tips on how you should comport yourself there!

 

Get to know where you’ll live 

Do your research. It’s really critical that you do your research on the area and place that you’ll be living in before you go. Learn more about the neighbourhood through travel blogs, online guides, reviews and even Google Street View. Find out where the amenities are, the local grocery store, electrical store, drycleaners etc. This will help you familiarise yourself with your new environment so that you won’t feel so confused and overwhelmed when you finally arrive. If you haven’t decided on your accommodation just yet, check out some of the neighbourhoods that you might want to live in.

You could try checking out some of these resources before you move abroad:

• Time Out (they have dedicated websites for major cities around the world)
• Lonely Planet
• The Abroad Guide Destinations section
• Local bloggers’ sites

 


Start inquiring about places to live

 

For those of you who don’t have accommodation all set up by your school, don’t fret. seek out your seniors or alumni members for advise and even recommendations on where to live in Europe. Alternatively, you could always use sites such as Hostelworld or AirBnb for the first two weeks when you arrive so that you’ll have some time to figure out where you would want to stay permanently. Before you go, you could also visit sites such as GumTree or CraigsList to see if there’s any suitable private rental properties available (and send out some enquiry emails), but remember NOT to disclose and personal information or transfer any money before you’ve seen the apartment and signed the required documentation.

give any personal information or money before you see the apartment in person and sign any documentation.

 

Print some photos of your friends and family

This might sound as a no-brainer, but having some form of reminder to your life back home can help alleviate the strange feeling of being in a completely new environment. Select and print a few of your favourite photos of your family and friends so that you can bring them along and hang/display them in your room.

 

Get travel insurance

As with any trip abroad, no matter the duration, it is important that you buy travel insurance. Do your research so that you know what the best travel insurance plan for your situation and location. Most travel insurance covers the cost of lost luggage, stolen items or passports and other disasters that you may encounter while moving to or while living in Europe, so choosing a good plan is important and well-worth your money.

 

Pick up a new camera

 

If you’ve already got a decent DSLR camera or are not a self-professed shutterbug, then you could skip this point. For those of you who love taking pictures and have been dithering about buying that camera, you should get one now. Moving to a different country would not just provide you with new sceneries, but also new experiences that you’d definitely want to capture! The latest camera models today come equipped with built-in wifi, making it a breeze for you to share your photos directly to Facebook or Instagram on your phone.

You’re moving to a completely new and foreign destination— you’ll definitely want to be able to document every step of your journey along the way. The newest cameras have built-in wifi, making it really easy to share your photos directly to Facebook or Instagram on your phone. Check out this list of cameras that are great for both study abroad students and world travellers.

 

Figure out your communication plan 

Setting up a proper phone line is something that you shouldn’t skip. Decide if you want just a functioning handphone or a land line as well. It’s pretty cheap and easy for you to get a pay-as-you-go SIM card that can fit into your smartphone or you could choose to purchase a basic phone solely for calling.

 

Get a no-fee credit card

Most banks impose many different types of fees when it comes to international ATM withdrawals and debit card services.  Give your bank a call and request for a breakdown of the different kinds of charges for your current account and cards and ask if there’s a way to reduce those charges or eliminate them completely. If that’s not possible, source for other banks that will allow you to do so, or just setup a bank account in Europe and for a credit card there.

 

Get familiar with the local transportation options

 

Aside from finding out where their supermarkets are and where the budget-friendly restaurants are, understanding the local transportation system is key to helping you settle in your new environment. Some foreign transportation systems work differently from what you’re used to. For instance, when you’re traveling on a bus or train in Italy, you would need to validate your ticket by getting it stamped with the date and time, else you’ll be slapped with a hefty fine. Researching and understanding the transportation system will also help you find the best place to live in based on accessibility and affordability.

 

Document everything you own

This is might sound very tedious, but because you’re moving to another country for a period of time (and in the case that you get robbed or lose something), it’s vital that you have photos and copies of all your important documents and anything else that is dear to you. For example, things like debit and credit cards, passport, admissions letter, certificates, expensive electronics (make sure you have their serial numbers jotted down) etc. have a record of you will need to call if you lose any of these things and how to go about contacting them. Make sure that you have all these information stored somewhere safe will ensure that you can report them to the relevant authorities, such as the police, insurance company or anyone else that can help you sort the mess out.

 

Motivated to study in Europe now that you know what you should do? Check out the courses available in Europe here.

 

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.

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