Study Abroad Checklist: Everything You Need to Do to Prepare

  • Posted on June 09, 2022
Study Abroad Checklist: Everything You Need to Do to Prepare

Planning and preparing to study abroad can be a hectic task especially if you’ve never been to another country. Since there are a lot of procedures, applications, deadlines, and arrangements to make, it’s easy for something to slip from your mind. And the moment you realize that you’re missing something, you might be too late!

Are you preparing to study abroad? Then, timing is everything! Paying close attention to dates and deadlines becomes mandatory, especially when it comes to:


  • Applying to programs

  • Finding housing

  • Making travel arrangements

  • Seeking financial aid

  • Getting passports and/or visas

A chronological checklist becomes necessary to organize the steps you need to take to prepare for your trip from one year before your departure to your arrival. 

Use the following study abroad checklist and enjoy a hassle-free departure!


One Year Before Departure


  • Research on Study Abroad Programs

Research and compare different study abroad programs and choose the best program that suits you. Some foreign universities organize study abroad programs with their partnering organizations or sister universities. But there are more options for you to consider!

Following are some of the best third-party organizations that offer study abroad programs:


Reach out to people you know who have studied abroad and ask for their experiences. You can also contact your academic advisor to discuss the best options for you. When comparing the different options available, keep in mind the class credits, cost, location, courses, program duration, and travel possibilities. 

Research well in advance because you never know how early you’ve to apply. Stay updated regarding the deadlines, so that you don’t miss an amazing opportunity. 


  • Register for a Language Test (If Needed)   

Non-native English-speaking students are required to prove their language efficiency if they are planning to attend a study abroad program taught in English. This proof is mostly in the form of a standardized language test score. 


 Some of the commonly trusted and accepted test scores are:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 

  • PTE (Pearson Test of English)


You are required to include your test score when you are applying, so you must register for a test as early as possible. You can take these tests regularly at any center around the world. 


  • Apply for a Passport (If You Haven’t Done It Already)

You might think one year before departure is too early to get a passport. But, sometimes the passport application may take several months. When the time comes, you’ll need a passport to make travel arrangements and to get a visa. Apply now if you do not have a valid passport!

Even if you’ve got a valid passport, check for any renewals. Some countries have a “six-month rule” wherein they require your passport to be valid for six months after the date you plan to return to your country. 


Eight to Ten Months Before Departure

  • Apply for a Suitable Program

After considering and comparing all your options, choose a program that fits your interests and your academic goals. It’s important to pay close attention to the deadlines, it may be earlier than you expected. You will need plenty of time to apply for a visa, make your travel arrangements, and sign up for classes before the program begins. 

Some programs accept students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Consider applying early so that you don’t miss out on such a golden opportunity. 


  • Apply for Financial Aid/Scholarships

Studying abroad can be quite expensive. In addition to the tuition fee, you have to pay for housing, dining, and travel arrangements. Some students may require financial aid to cover all these costs. 

Deadlines may vary. Some fundings may require you to apply early while some have their deadline close to the departure date. 


Six Months Before Departure

  • Begin Your Visa Application Process

Attaining a student visa is one of the most crucial steps. Most countries require you to hold a visa, while there are some exceptions like New Zealand. You don’t need a visa if your program is for less than three months


The process of applying for a student visa differs from country to country. In some countries, it might be tedious work involving paperwork and interviews, while in some places it may be a straightforward procedure through online enrollment. 


  • Get Student Health Insurance

Your visa may also require you to prove that you’re covered for any unexpected medical bills that may occur when studying abroad. Your primary insurance or school-sponsored insurance might not cover your medical needs, so it is always best to be prepared. 

Five Months Before Departure

  • Looking for Housing

Students studying abroad can choose from three options: living on-campus, off-campus, or with a host family. 

  • Living on-campus has its advantages like hassle-free commuting and easier access to campus resources. Apply quickly, they tend to get filled up fast. Off-campus offers an extra tip of independence to your trip, but it can be tricky if you are not fluent in their language. Begin looking for housing early as it takes a lot of applying and dodging scammers. 
  • Living with a host family helps you to learn cultural nuances quickly and in great detail. 


Three Months Before Departure

  • Book Flights

International flights tend to be cheaper when booked 3-4 months in advance. Start tracking prices early and book in advance. The longer you wait, the more expensive your flight ticket can be!

  • Apply for Travel Credit Card

Consider applying for a travel credit card at your local bank, if you don’t have a credit card. So that even if you miss a train, you don’t end up sleeping at the railway station! Use your credit card to book a hotel room. 


One Month Before Departure

  • Notify Your Bank

Notify your bank of travel beforehand, as most banks tend to block debit or credit cards when there is a suspicious activity like unexpected foreign transactions. 


One Week Before Departure

  • Order Currency From Your Local Bank

This step is necessary so that you don’t run into any financial troubles upon your arrival. It is possible at most local banks and does not take more than a week. 

  • Make Copies of Your Travel Documents

Make three copies of each of your documents and place them in different locations. This way you will have a backup if you lose your documents or if they get stolen. 



Preparing to study abroad can seem like a daunting task without proper guidance. Get in touch with the best study abroad consultants in Kerala to make your preparations easier. This way, you don’t have to spend time researching on the Internet. Contact Campus World, overseas education consultants in Ernakulam for more information regarding your study abroad trip.