Making the decision to go and study miles away from home can be a daunting experience. With tons of things to take care of and a plethora of checklists to check off, the whole process can get mildly overwhelming.

Every student will have their own list of must-haves to gather before travelling, however, let’s take a look at the top five things that are of utmost importance for every potential international student.

1. Academic Requirements

Every university will have their own set of bare minimum academic requirements, including a proof of English language proficiency, that students will have to meet. It’s not possible to surpass these requirement and students wishing to pursue higher studies should strive to maintain a good academic record.

[Check out our blogs on the general application requirements in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.]

2. Finances

Besides a pristine academic record, a bank balance to support your years of study is equally if not more important. It’s quite desponding if money is the only road block between you and your dream university; so plan and save well in advance. International universities can take a toll on your bank account and unfortunately you’ll always need more money than you account for. There are scholarships and financial aid available to assist students but more often than not, this will only cover part of your expenses.

[Check out our blog on The Cost of Studying Abroad and Ways to Minimise It for some helpful advice and tips.]

3. Travel Documents

Most people at this stage already have a passport; if not, then this would be the first thing to take care of before even thinking on applying to universities abroad. The next most important travel document would be a valid visa, which takes a long time to process so leave a lot of time between applying for your visa and your date of travel. Certain countries or universities might ask students to have travel insurance and medical reports as a proof of their good health. Check with your local travel adviser and make sure to have accumulated all these documents within time.

[Check out our blogs on getting a student visa in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada]

4. A Local Bank Account

In most cases it might not be possible to do this without actually arriving at your designated study destination, however, opening up your own local bank account should be one of the first things you should do once you arrive. It’s a lot more convenient and will save a lot of unnecessary costs racked up by foreign cards and ATMs.

[Check out our blog Smart Saving Tips for International Students for more on this.] 

5. Local Knowledge

A complete understanding of the local customs and traditions will only develop with time but it’s still a good idea to get accustomed to the Do’s and Don’ts and to read up on some of the societal norms pertaining to the country you’re planning to travel to.

It is said that the ‘Failure to prepare is the preparation for failure’, so get started in checking these pre-requisites off your list if you’re thinking of studying abroad.

About the Writer: Mariam Khawer is an Accounts and Finance graduate with a passion for the creative arts.