So, once you decided that you really want to take a year abroad, alone, and experience a new culture, this is what to do. As these things are just an estimation, try to do these things as soon as possible, so even earlier than I wrote down. If you can.
1 YEAR BEFORE
> Check Financial Situations
Before starting an exchange year, ask your parents whether they can afford paying an organization, whether you need a scholarship, etc…
> Choose An Organization And Country
After you are sure that you are able to do a year abroad, choose an organization (like the one I am using) to be prepared for your stay and think about THE COUNTRY, that you want to stay in.
> Appointment To Talk
Most organizations send a staff to talk to you and your parents personally. Before that, you won’t be able to fill out any papers, so try to make an appointment as early as possible.
And now onto your current school. You obviously need to ask if you can go just like that for one/half a year. Ask your principal if you can go directly into the next grade after returning home or how it works in your school.
6 MONTHS BEFORE
> The Detailed Application
After finishing all the points above, you will probably have to fill out the “real” application by now. And here, take time to complete all the questions and answer them with your parents. Try to do this as close to dead-line as possible, as you will most-likely change during half a year as a person. No stressing, some students are not even finished one month before their flight.. ;) (shocking, right?!)
> Check-Ups, Papers
Your organization will probably tell this to you too, but I will just list everything in here. Now it is also time to check on your immunizations and that you have filled out any important papers/let your doctors/teachers fill them out.
> Start To Save Money
Because you can’t let your parents pay for everything! Sell old clothes, go babysitting or don’t spend money in the city so that you have this money for all the malls in your new country ;)
Already checked if your passport is valid long enough? A new passport doesn’t take long to be made, but still, doing everything ahead of time is so much better, trust me ;)
> Bucket List
And it is of course time to do something like a bucket list too! Of things you want to visit, see, do, experience, and and and…
2-3 MONTHS BEFORE
> Book Flights
Once you got your host-family, look into flights immediately, as they are cheaper the earlier you book them.
> Enjoy Family And Friend-Time
As sad as it is, your allowed luggage-weight won’t be enough to take all your friends and family with you, so indulge in and enjoy the few months that you have left! Make as many things as possible together and just have fun, because this time will fly by so fast!
1 MONTH BEFORE
> Money And Phone Abroad
Before leaving, inform yourself about how to handle the money and phone situation. If you have to cancel your phone-contract and what bank-card you need. Ask your organization or former exchangers for help. (Or watch THIS video)
After talking to your family for the first few times, you probably have a feeling for them and know what they would like. I would recommend something local from your country and city. You can also ask them whether they would like to have anything special, that they might already know and miss from former visits to your country.
2 WEEKS BEFORE
> Free Audible And Music-Trials
As I haven’t signed up for audible, I still have my free month good, just as with apple music. And as I don’t have any good music or “books” on my phone, I thought that this is a genius idea, as you don’t need any wifi either, so you can enjoy smooth beats while flying into your new 10months-life.
And you sadly have to say goodbye to your closest and best friends..so why not throw a “party”? Just plan something like inviting your 10 best friends and just sit down at a nice location and have a chat, play funny games and go swimming. This is what I am going to do and I just love this idea. A video and post about mine will come up soon!
Yes, the trick is to not pack much as you can buy anything at your new home, but still, I have some things I can’t live without like my favorite moisturizer and shampoo, so I am going to buy a few bottles, as I don’t know what will be available over in the new country.
1 WEEK BEFORE
> Plan Packing
Because we want to prevent the stress of packing two hours before the flight ;) Make a list and carefully think about what to take with you. Inform yourself about tips and hacks on packing and maybe pre-pack a week before, so you know how to do it and what to pack!
> Change Some Money
You obviously (should) have your card now, but having some extra bucks on you while traveling is always a good idea, as you never know what will happen. So change a bit of money, just in case..
Are you participating at an exchange or doing year abroad and were these tips helpful? Let me know down below!! :)