Now that you are all set to travel abroad to your university, there are a few things you should be aware of before you travel, as explained by Dr. Karan Gupta, Founder of the Karan Gupta Education Foundation, and Education and Career Consultant for Karan Gupta Consulting :
Informing your university that you are coming and have acquired the student visa
You either have your student visa or are waiting to receive it at this stage of the study abroad process. Now is the time for you to inform your university that you intend to attend classes for the August or September 2022 batch and that you have either received your visa or will be getting it by an approximate date. You will also have to pay the tuition fees at your university near the beginning of your course, and most universities have instalments available so look into such options.
Vaccines are compulsory for students as you will be living with or at the very least mingling with people from several different countries and cultures consistently. It exposes you to the risk of contracting several diseases and can compromise your health and education. Most universities will have a list of vaccines you will need to take before you arrive or vaccines you should take as soon as you arrive on campus. These usually include the MMR(Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), Hepatitis B in some cases, and most importantly, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. You will need to take whichever vaccine is acceptable for international travel(for COVID specifically) and produce a proof for air travel and board agencies of the country you travel to.
Book your air tickets as early as possible. The price and availability of air tickets will be challenging the longer you wait for a booking. Luckily as students are the most common fliers at this time, you will get discounts or allowances from several major companies. Be sure to ask them about it before you book the ticket.
Do not rely on cash when you travel abroad for your safety. Majority of the funds you intend to carry should be on foreign exchange or forex cards. These cards are safer to use and often can be used to make online payments until you open a bank account abroad.
Even if the country or university you will be attending provides you with health insurance, getting any dental or other medical procedures is preferable before you travel. Hospital check-ups should be done whenever necessary for any medical needs that may arise but if you have a pre-existing condition, you should travel with prescriptions for all your medication, prescription glasses, etc.
What to carry and what to buy
Carry necessities for a couple of weeks only and consider buying the rest from where you land. Check your airline guidelines as there may be differences in what is allowed and what is prohibited. Also, err on the side of caution because certain countries have strict policies on what is and isn’t acceptable.
(This column by Dr. Karan Gupta is part of a series of articles by the Free Press Journal, Mumbai’s Study Abroad Guide for August 2022.)