If you’re one of the lucky students who will be spending next year studying in a far off country, your to-do list is probably filled to capacity as you scramble to pack up everything you need for the next few months into a reasonable amount of suitcases. But there are some things that just aren’t included on the pre-made checklist your university has inevitably handed out to you.
So before you jet off to Paris or Hong Kong or Buenos Aires, consider adding these items to your list in order to make the transition in and out of the country go as smoothly as possible.
1. Plan next semester’s courses before you go.
Hopefully your school advisor has already reminded you to pick out your classes for next semester. But if you haven’t yet, now’s the time. The last thing you’ll want to do when you return from your amazing trip is plan your class schedule, especially when many of the classes may already be full. You might also want to contact different professors before you choose or ask your classmates about what courses they recommend, and that’s a whole lot easier to do when you’re not hopping around from foreign city to foreign city every weekend.
2. Talk to your roommates about future housing options.
Depending on when you decide to go abroad, you should think about planning your future housing before you leave the country. Especially if you decide to study abroad during the spring semester, you should have a quick talk with your roommates about where you plan to live the following year. Apartment complexes and houses can fill up so quickly, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find something when you’re thousands of miles away. Decide where you want to live the following year now so you’re not panicking the minute you get back.
3. Print out a set of business cards.
I know you’re trying to cut items from your suitcase, not add them, but bringing along a set of business cards can make a huge difference when it comes to making professional connections abroad. It’s easier than ever to design and create business cards that won’t break the bank (check out MOO and Vistaprint for two online printing options), and they won’t take up too much room in your bag. Get a small set (you probably won’t need more than 20) before you go and tuck a few in your wallet as you’re traveling along. You never know who you may run into, and who wouldn’t mind adding some international connections to her network? . . . .