Surviving your first week as an international student – all the things you should know


Did you decide to study abroad but you are absolutely horrified by the idea of living on your own and exploring a new country? The experience of studying abroad should not scare you at all, as it is one of the most wonderful, maturing periods of your life. Moving abroad without having your parents help you at every single step you take will help you grow up, will teach you how to be independent and manage your resources properly. You will get to know how it feels like to be on your own, to be responsible for your own actions and many more other aspects that might transform you into a different, better person. Even though you experience some kind of fear at the moment, once you will get there, you are going to start tasting the beauty of living on your own.

Yet being an international student is now always easy because of one paramount aspect – community. You will have to make friends, to meet and interact with new people, you might even share a room with a stranger. Being open-minded and communicative are more like requirements rather than options. You have to get over yourself and out of your comfort zone and try to engage in activities regardless of the fact you may not know anyone yet. The only way to get out there and socialize is by participating in organized activities, by socializing with students that live next door and so on. After you set everything up with accommodation and university, you need to start getting involved in organized activities around the campus. Here are some more details about coping with your first week abroad:

What to pack for your first month

If you are traveling very far away and you need to pack at least one item for each kind of purpose you may think of, you should take into account this packing list. For luggage, you will need one large roller suitcase, one smaller roller suitcase that you can carry with you and one backpack. These should be enough for packing everything you need for a period that extends from one to three months. Start by packing outerwear, as it occupies more space. Get one winter jacket, some scarves, a leather jacket, a raincoat and a light jacket. For tops, make sure you pack dressy tops, light sweaters, sweatshirts, t-shirts and some tank tops. For bottoms, pack some pairs of leggings, a few pairs of jeans, sleep bottoms and shorts/skirts. Don’t forget your underwear or your accessories, and make sure you pack all sorts of shoes – flats, rain boots, gym shoes, boots, sandals and some flip-flops.

You also need to take with you some electronics, that may also occupy some room in your luggage. Take your computer and its charger, your phone and its charger and some adaptors you consider relevant. A power bank may be useful if you are going to travel for a while and want to use these electronics while on road. Don’t forget any important documents or medications that you only can obtain with a prescription. Anything else can be brought when you come home for holidays or special occasions.

Buy essentials once you get there

There are several things you can buy once you arrive at destination. After you’ve set your accommodation details, you may want to buy your own towels, bed sheets, pots, pans and so on. Don’t forget to ask if the accommodation company you choose offers included pillows or duvets. Buying things that you don’t need is not something you can afford at the moment. In case you are going to live with a roommate, try to contact them and go shopping together. Also, don’t struggle to carry all your toiletries with you because you can buy them at your destination. Only bring what’s absolutely relevant to you or too expensive to buy again.

How to balance your budget

You may want to keep a strict balance between the way you handle the budget, social life, and classes. First of all, you have to make sure that the money you receive is enough for getting you going each month. Living paycheck to paycheck is normal until you finish your studies, so don’t worry about that. You probably depend on your parents, so each situation is different depending on the financial possibilities of each family. If you struggle with finances, you might want to get a part-time job, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your social life or academic performance. You can read some useful student info and see how much it costs to live in the location you are studying at the moment. Keep your spending under careful observation and you won’t encounter any problems.