There’s often a lot to think about when you go abroad for a long time. And it can be easy to get carried away with organizing leaving parties and buying new outfits when you should be arranging things like insurance or study financing. Here are a few things you should probably be thinking about before you head off on your travels:
Okay, we admit the topic of insurance is about as exciting as watching paint dry but boring or not, you need it. So make sure you’re insured for a trip abroad. Double check that your insurance allows you to spend a prolonged period in another country, not all travel insurance policies do. Make sure the insurance covers the country that you are going to and that you’ll be covered for doing an internship abroad.
Is the excess excessive?
Check that the excess on your policy is reasonable. Look at insurance options for belongings and activities. Many policies will cover you for say, mountain biking, but what about other extreme sports? And what about driving a car or a motorcycle? Are there any restrictions on the size of the vehicle?
Make sure you prepare for the worst
Ensure your insurance covers an emergency flight back if something happens to a member of your family and you need to get back home quickly.
Book your flights
Flight prices vary depending on when you book, but often the best deals can be found around two months ahead of your departure date. Try sites like Skyscanner to compare ticket prices and if you can, be flexible with your dates to get the best deals.
Investigate financing options
Are you going to take up a student loan for this internship? Set a limit before you leave and don’t change this when you’re abroad unless you really have to. Different options are available in different countries. In the Netherlands, for example, students that don’t live with their parents can apply for extra student financing. You can find out more about uitwonende beurs here.
Determine what is and isn’t included by your placement provider
Placement providers like Start Me Up arrange your transfers and accommodation in the country where you’re interning. But you may want to arrange accommodation before or after your placement, and you may have to make your own arrangements when it comes to food. Research how much you’ll be spending on living costs and budget accordingly. You can use sites like NomadList to research costs.
Make sure you don’t get screwed on cash withdrawals
Tell your bank you’re going away and ask how much withdrawal fees are in. Check if your bank card is set on ‘international’. Check with your bank if you are not sure. Do you have a credit card? Or a debit card with a limit? Know before you start splurging.
Get some dollars
If you’re American, this should be pretty straightforward. Even if you’re not, it shouldn’t be impossible. Dollars are useful – especially if you have to pay for a visa on arrival, and you haven’t yet encountered an ATM at the airport.
Look into cards that offer free withdrawals
Some bank accounts offer free withdrawals and cards like Revolute allow you to add credit to them and withdraw funds at no cost. Do your research.
Investigate the possibility of subletting your room
Do you have a room or apartment in your home country? You don’t always have to give this up if you’re going abroad. So look at ways you could sublet it for the duration of your stay on a site like AirBnB.
Pay a visit to the doctor’s
Many generic versions of different medicines will be available abroad, but you may want to make sure you have identical medicine to the kind that you use at home. Visit your doctor to see if you need any specific vaccinations or medications ahead of your travels.
Check the visa situation
Your placement provider should be able to answer your questions about visas. Start Me Up can help arrange visas for students – depending on the length of the placement.
Get licensed to drive
Are you planning to ride a motorbike, scooter or car while you’re away? As well as making sure your insurance covers you on the mode of transport you’ll be using, you might need to obtain an international driver’s’ license.
Light sleepers: be prepared
Interning abroad is stimulating in many ways. And some things take some getting used to – like the morning chorus of roosters in Bali, for example. They don’t care whether you’re a light sleeper. So don’t be surprised if from 4 am, you’re having your sleep interrupted by these boisterous neighbors. Want our advice? Industrial strength ear plugs: you’ll sleep like a baby.