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Being international student for a glance

Check this list to make sure you are 100% ready to go abroad to join student exchange program

This writing is based on my experience as a nominee for student exchange program. But unfortunately, I must canceled my departure because I didn’t get a visa to enter my destination country. Besides of my failure to become a really exchange student, I think the whole things I have done as a nominee to prepare my (canceled) departure, are worth to share. Let’s start the list!

Find out the details about your program

Here’s the classic problem: applicants don’t really understand about term and condition of the program they enroll. There are many types of student exchange program: from short term to long term, from fully funded (all of the cost is free) to half funded, etc. So, before you ask your senior student or your university office, be sure to check:

  1. Duration of the program. Commonly, it’s about 1 up to 2 semesters (6–12 months). But there are some universities that held a short term exchange program (just 3 months). You can always find the detail about it in host univeristy’s website or program fact sheet.
  2. Program fee. Some programs are 100% free so all participants shouldn’t have to pay even just for a cent. But, some other programs just waived the tuition fees. So must pay for your personal cost; from airplane ticket, taxes, insurances, accomodation, meals, and every other expenses. Some program also offered you a chance to apply for scholarship. One of the most popular scholarship that can be applied for student exchange is JASSO in Japan. If there’s enough time for you to do research, try to find this kind of scholarship because it will help you A LOT to fulfill your needed. Remember: you are away from home and some stuff that are cheap and easy to find in your country maybe hard to find in your host country. Be sure to alway take enough money with you.
  3. Available courses. Almost all of the universities that arrange student exchange program obligate the participants to take some classes that taught about host country’s culture, such as history, traditional dance, traditional art, folklore, etc. You must agree with it because this is the main purpose of student exchange program: exchanging culture. But, be sure you take other courses which is linear with your major at home university so you can get other knowledges and feel a different approach or point of view about some issues related with your major. Also, try to ask your university office about the score transfer system. This will be so beneficial for you.

What to eat? Where to stay?

It is also important to find out about the culture of your host country. The type of their food (is it tends to be spicy, sour, salty?) and what they usually eat for main course (rise, corn, wheat, potato?). For those who are Muslim, it is better for you to find the nearest halal restaurant around the area where you will stay during your exchange program. Wearing hijab in your daily activity will also help you to find halal food because some food sellers usually tell you whether their food is halal or not. Don’t forget to ask your host university about where you’ll stay during this program. Some universities provide a dorm for exchange students, but some others don’t, so you must find a place to rent by yourself. Don’t be afraid if you face the second condition I mention, because now there are a bunch of apartments and boarding houses open online reservation.

Four or Two Seasons??

Don’t only bring your favorite dresses and shoes, but take the weather as your main consideration. Find out about average temperature and weather forecast. Also, don’t forget to bring your medicine if you got some kind of allergy. Even though you have a health insurance, it will be quite complicated to claim it. So, take care of your health and cure yourself with medicine you bring will be the safest option. But if you got some serious disease, such as malaria, typhus, or anything, tell you family and university staff in charge as soon as possible (usually host university has a special staff who takes care and supervises exchange students).

Transportation

Find the best time to buy your ticket because its price is easily fluctuate. I would prefer to buy it through the airline’s official website than any online travel agent (I got a very bad experience with a travel agent). It is also important to search some information about public transportation in your host country; how to access it, how to buy the ticket, etc. If it’s possible, you can also search about some car or motorcycle rents, so you can go around the city easily when you arrive there.

Be ready to face the worst and the best, alone. And that’s the best thing! So, don’t miss anything before you go!

P.S: I won’t write about how to find the best tourism object in your host country because I’m sure that’s the first thing you do above all things :D


Hi! If you find there are plenty of grammar errors or any other errors in this writing, please let me know. I would love to get your critics. And kindly click the recommended button if my writing gives you a good input. Thank you!