According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of U.S. students studying abroad is increasing, with approximately 80,000 American students pursuing a collegiate education abroad during each school year. As the world becomes more accessible, students can easily broaden their horizons and follow their dreams overseas. There’s much to be learned from international schools, as well as the cultures that surround them. Whether you have your eyes set on a graduate program at an academically recognized school or simply want to cultivate your global views, studying abroad could be just the experience you want.
Choose a Country – The country you choose will determine the type of experience you’ll have away from home, as well as the types of people you’ll meet during your travels. Because you’ll spend time advancing your education, it’s important to consider aspects of the country’s culture that could impact your day-to-day life, such as a language barrier. The education abroad adviser at the college or university you attend can assist you in selecting the destination that best fits your goals and needs.
Make Your Stay Legal – Unlike temporary international travel, which requires only a passport to cross borders, visiting other countries for the purpose of staying there long-term requires legal documentation and approval. Every country has different rules, but the U.S. Department of State is a helpful resource for determining the steps you’ll need to take to make your international travel legal. For example, if the United Kingdom is your destination, you will be required to obtain a student visa if you intend to live there for more than six months or if you plan to work during your stay.
Get Vaccinated – One of the most important steps you can take to prepare for study abroad is vaccinating yourself against diseases that you may be exposed to during your travels. Start by getting any immunizations recommended by the CDC for travel to your destination. There are many diseases that, while not prevalent in America, remain a serious health threat in other areas of the world.
Get International Student Health Insurance – Believe it or not, your health insurance in America may not follow you to another country. No matter how young or healthy you may be, it’s never a good idea to be uninsured. Fortunately, U.S. students studying abroad can obtain comprehensive student health services coverage and gain access to a worldwide network of healthcare providers through HCC Medical Insurance Services’ international student health insurance plan options. You can choose among three policies, offering varying coverage levels. StudentSecure Insurance plans ensure coverage for both inpatient and outpatient care, as well as coverage for sports injuries, mental health care and physical therapy.
Fund Your Stay – Studying abroad isn’t cheap, and the costs associated with international studies are significantly higher than those incurred with domestic learning. Your costs will be determined by factors like the length of your stay, currency exchange rates, your living expenses and tuition. You can fund your stay with a Federal Pell Grant, federal supplemental educational opportunities grants or student loans. Study abroad scholarships, like the David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad, are also available. You may also be able to find financial assistance through a third-party scholarship program or through your school’s international exchange student program.
Traveling to another country is like being a guest in someone else's home. It's important to be respectful of the culture and laws in your host country, and if possible, learn the customs of the citizens. You may find that this helps you build long-lasting relationships with new friends, and it may also help you better appreciate the cultural differences of people around the world. Be sure to research your destination thoroughly before travel, and embark on your new adventure with an open mind.
HCC Medical Insurance Services, LLC (HCCMIS) is a service company that is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. HCCMIS is regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. HCCMIS has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.