Navigating the Challenges of Studying Abroad: Insider Tips for a Smooth Journey


Hello! My name is Geraldine Palacios. I will be participating in a semester abroad at Swansea University, UK. I am really excited to start this journey!

I have some experience with moving abroad, from Peru to Houston, Texas to start my undergraduate degree. I know the start of this adventure can be lonely and stressful, but I am also aware of the rewarding experience I will gain and the enormous personal growth I will have. I expect this new journey to be different, since now I will be staying all by myself in a flat with fellow students. However, before I start my journey abroad, there are some important documentation to complete in Houston, like:

-Booking a flight!

-Applying for a visa!

-Completing credit equivalency forms!

I really want to encourage everyone to book their flights as soon as they can. If you have doubts about your flight dates, don’t forget that most airlines provide flight insurance. Also, credit cards! There are some good credit cards out there that offer good perks, like travel insurance, if you buy the ticket with the card.

Now that I have mentioned flights, it’s very likely that the reason you are not sure about your travel dates is because of the visa. I received my visa a week before my departure flight! I was scared that the delay meant there were some issues with my visa application and that it would not allow me to go abroad. But luckily, it arrived before my flight, so I didn’t have to make other arrangements. It’s important to note that they do take three weeks to send your visa back, so if you are in this step, just be patient and check your mail.

Lastly, course equivalency forms! Personally, I have had a hard time with this step. Since I am a Civil Engineering major, my classes are a bit more complex to transfer. Also, I found that the classes that I was scheduled to take this semester at my home university don’t offer them in the semester I will be at my host university. So, there was a bit of a conflict there. I would recommend always talking with your advisors; they are really the ones that can help you out of these issues.

Some important tips are to research the culture and customs of your host country: It is important to be familiar with the culture and customs of your host country before you leave. This will help you to understand and respect local traditions and customs, and it will also make it easier for you to adapt to your new environment.

Finally, Organize your finances: Before you leave, make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay. You should also inform your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling abroad, to avoid any problems with your account while you are away. Remember that there are some credit cards that charge an international fee when used abroad.

Don’t forget to make the most out of your family and friends while you are still in your home! You will miss them a lot! These are some of the minor problems you might find on your path to study abroad, but there is help every step of the way! Just remember that this experience will be unique!