Cross Off This Checklist Before Taking Off For Studies Abroad!

Excited that you will soon begin a new phase of your life? Studies at a university abroad can be very enriching and fulfilling, but the process to get there can be a daunting one given the paperwork and the list of do’s & don’ts that pop up. We’ve put together a checklist to ensure you have a seamless pre-departure experience.


  • Make sure you don’t have an expired passport. If you need a new or renewed passport, apply early. Apply for your student visa early too. Documentation and bureaucracy might increase the time factor, so ensure you apply much in advance and make sure that all your documentation is current
  • Speak to your academic counsellor a few days pre-departure to take care of present and potential academic matters.
  • Make sure financial aid documents (including scholarship applications, loan applications and FAFSA renewal) are complete and at hand
  • If you are leaving between January to April, and have a history of employment, don’t overlook your taxes.
  • Make copies, in triplicate of any important documents (Passport, Visa, University invitation letter etc). Keep one set with you,  one with your parents and give one to your study advisor
  • Try and get an International Driving Permit (Driving License). You never know when it might come in handy.
  • Keep a copy of your previous syllabus with you. If there are prerequisites for some courses which you might have covered in your earlier education, this sheet of paper might come in handy to waive the prerequisites off.
  • You will require your provisional or degree completion certificate. Make sure you apply for it much in advance if you don’t already have it.


  • Get all the vaccinations you need prior to travel. Consult with a Travel medicine specialist to get all the requisite immunization for the country you are travelling to in place. Get a TB test done prior to leaving.
  • Have an eye sight check-up done before leaving. If you have vision problems, get a spare pair of spectacles, since they are much cheaper at home
  • Get a dental check-up done prior to leaving. Avoid dental care in many developing countries.
  • If required, arrange for any relevant medical records to be sent to your study program.
  • Get a good insurance policy which will cover you when overseas. Health care can be terribly expensive in some countries and being without one can be like a death wish.
  • If you need medication regularly, carry adequate supply with you along with a signed prescription. It’s also good to carry some over the counter medicines, as you will not be able to get them while traveling.
  • Ensure you are not carrying any controlled substances. Some medicinal drugs have ingredients which’re banned in certain countries, so read upon them beforehand!

Foreign Exchange For Students

  • You will need forex for education. So make sure you buy a prepaid card which can be reloaded with funds from home as and when required.
  • There are a few trusted online forex dealers in India which offer this reload option and allow up to 100,000 USD as forex for education and 10,000 USD as personal forex in a calendar year.

Contact Information

  • Compile a list of numbers – Family, friends, university contacts, local guardians, emergency services, etc, and save them on mail, in your address book and in print.
  • Get a good international SIM card or international phone card. You can always buy a local SIM on contract with your phone once you arrive.
  • Leave your contact information with your family and your advisor. Be sure to leave your family’s contact information with your advisor, and vice versa.

Flights & Miscellaneous

  • Carry very limited & essential items in cabin baggage and keep it as light as possible, for during transits you may have to walk long distances. Get a cabin baggage with small wheels.
  • Buy a Visa folder (to hold cards), a wallet/ purses (leather good are usually to safeguard your documentation & cash.
  • Carry a good pair of sneakers, for you will have to do a lot of walking on campus!
  • If carrying electronic items, check for high voltage compatibility and carry an international adapter
  • If you are a vegetarian please specify for vegetarian food on your flight.