What to know before studying abroadIMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay, public domain.

Studying abroad while pursuing your bachelor’s degree can help you in many ways. However, it can also present some challenges. Students should be aware of these obstacles – and how to overcome them – before they take off for their academic journey abroad.

Safety in a Foreign Country

In an unfamiliar area, you’re often at a greater risk of being the victim of a crime. You don’t necessarily know the locations to avoid. This can be especially true for students traveling abroad, because having limited knowledge of the language and culture can also make you a target.

It’s important for international students earning their bachelor’s degree to be aware of their surroundings and their actions. Schools with study abroad programs typically offer their students safety tips that can help them stay out of danger, according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s essential that students pay attention to and follow these warnings. Otherwise, what should be a rewarding and enlightening experience could turn into a traumatic one.

Working Across the World

When they’re living in the United States, American students can simply find a job to work while juggling their academic responsibilities. Students typically have the freedom to work as much as they want – part-time or even full-time, if they wish – as long as they’re able to get the hours.

However, when these students visit other countries, they might not have this freedom. Different countries have different laws and regulations that decide how much and how often international students can work. In the United Kingdom, for example, international students with a general visa may be limited to just 20 hours per workweek, according to U.S. News & World Report. Germany, on the other hand, typically limits international students to working 120 full days or 240 half days a year, U.S. News reported.

Housing During Your Semester Abroad

In the United States, four-year colleges and universities typically offer on-campus student housing. However, that’s not the norm in many countries – and students planning to study in these nations may be surprised to learn that finding housing is their responsibility.

To start their housing search, students can use resources like Facebook groups and connections they make through their university’s website, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students need to make sure they get all details in writing and understand any contracts they’re agreeing to so they can prevent themselves from becoming a victim of fraud.

How Your Study Abroad Experience Fits Into Your Education

Studying abroad can help you develop cultural knowledge, career skills, maturity and a global perspective. As valuable as these attributes are, your primary reason for going to college isn’t just to travel. It’s to earn your degree and get the education you need for future success. Before you disembark on your study abroad, it’s important that you understand how the trip will fit into your schedule.

Some schools make it easy for students to study abroad. In fact, at the top schools for studying abroad, a cross-cultural experience is often a graduation requirement. The curriculum at these schools might allow students extra flexibility to fit a semester overseas into their schedule. At other colleges, students need to carefully plan a study abroad so that it won’t put them behind in their studies. Students who want to study abroad should always talk over their plans with an academic adviser.

By being aware of safety concerns, living arrangements, working regulations and their school’s educational requirements, students can make the best decisions about how to plan their educational trip abroad.