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5 tips to help you prepare for studying abroad

Congratulations! You've found your dream study programme, the university has accepted you, and you're ready to start preparing for an unforgettable overseas adventure. But that doesn't mean simply throwing a spare change of clothes into a suitcase and digging out your passport.

From filling out the correct forms to finding a reliable student shipping company, your to-do list when preparing for higher education abroad can feel never-ending. Fortunately, we've compiled the following tips to help first-time international students get organised. After all, you've got more important things to worry about, like acing your final college exams and planning the perfect bon voyage party.

1. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation

The amount of paperwork you need to complete before moving overseas to study can feel overwhelming. To avoid any stress, organise all your documentation in order of priority well before your departure date:

  • Firstly, check your passport is up to date and won't expire while you're away on your travels, as this can take up to six months to renew.
  • Next, apply for a student visa either on your destination country's government website or through the nearest embassy — these take a couple of months to process.
  • Finally, book your flight at least a month before jetting off, as last-minute tickets are often more expensive.
When sending your most treasured possessions overseas, you'll need to find a professional student shipping company you can trust.
International students
Preparing to study abroad

2. Research the host country's culture and customs

Did you know it's polite to let people off the train in the UK before you get on? Or, in America, you should leave a 15-20% tip on top of a restaurant bill to avoid dirty looks from the waiters? Taking time to familiarise yourself with your soon-to-be home's culture and customs will enrich your study abroad experience and help you avoid making any accidental faux pas.

Another excellent tip to ensure you feel like a local in no time is to learn a few essential phrases in the local language. Whether you listen to a podcast on your daily commute to school or take a few bite-sized lessons on apps like Duolingo, picking up the basics makes settling in and finding friends much easier.

3. Choose a trusted student shipping company

When sending your most treasured possessions overseas, you'll need to find a professional student shipping company you can trust. Some of the most important factors to consider as you compare international movers include the length of time they've been in the industry, whether they offer a no-obligation online quote and the number of positive reviews they receive.

It's also a good idea to research what additional services they offer. For example, Seven Seas Worldwide not only specialises in door-to-door shipping, but we also handle customs clearance, supply quality packing materials, provide flexible storage solutions and have a multilingual team on hand to assist with every step of your shipment’s journey.

4. Pack your belongings carefully and securely

It might seem silly, but bringing your favourite blanket, photos of loved ones and other mementoes from home can instantly make your uni accommodation feel more comfortable. Remember, though, the less you ship, the cheaper it will be, so before packing, sort your belongings into piles of what to bring and what to leave — you might even uncover some hidden gems you can sell on Craigslist or eBay!

To protect your belongings, ensure you pack them into durable containers, like the double-walled, chemically hardened cardboard boxes we provide, placing heavy goods at the bottom and lighter pieces on top. Then, fill any gaps with bubble wrap, crumpled newspaper, towels, and other cushioning materials to prevent knocks and bumps, and use plenty of brown parcel tape to seal the flaps.

5. Understand nerves are normal!

Goodbyes can be tough but stepping outside of your comfort zone is part of what makes the whole experience of studying abroad so valuable and worthwhile. To overcome these anxieties, save all your friends and families' phone numbers so you can easily contact those you're missing and keep them in the loop about all the exciting things you've been doing. Also, research the clubs and societies organised by your university and get involved, as these will help you meet like-minded people, provide trips to explore your new surroundings and give you a chance to leave behind the stress of your studies and have some fun.

International student shipping

About the author

Lizzy

Lizzy

Lizzy is a member of the marketing team here at Seven Seas Worldwide. She has over ten years of experience writing for print and digital and is incredibly passionate about creating content that both entertains customers and answers their queries.