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Studying abroad is an exciting adventure that can open doors to new experiences and opportunities. But like all milestones in life, it requires preparation. You can’t just hop on a plane one day and decide that you want to spend a few learning years overseas. It’s important to ensure you have everything in order for this big journey. 

If you don’t know where to start, you’re in luck. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get ready for your study abroad experience. 

Research and Goal-setting 

First on the list: do some research and set your goals. Gather a shortlist of countries, international schools, and/or programs you want to get into. Look at the quality of education, cost of living, cultural differences, language, and climate in each of your choices. Check university rankings and program reputations. 

Plan your educational, career, and travel goals. Are you studying to boost your skills, advance your career, or fulfill a personal goal? Having a clear purpose from the very beginning will prevent you from making major mistakes that can cost a lot of money or stress.

The USA, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan are the most popular choices for Filipino students. Global education specialists like IDP and British Council can provide guidance in your study abroad journey.

Set realistic expectations and be prepared to adapt your plans as needed.


Proper documentation is crucial for a smooth transition to studying abroad. There are different sets of documents needed for each country or school, but these are the essentials: 

  • Passport. Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay. 
  • Visa. Research student visa requirements of your destination country and start the application process early. Visa application and results can take several weeks or even months.
  • Acceptance letter. Keep a copy of your acceptance letter from the university handy.
  • Academic documents. Prepare digital and paper copies of your diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR). 
  • Identification cards. Bring multiple forms of identification (national ID, driver’s license, etc.) at all times. 
  • Health insurance. International health insurance with enough coverage is necessary to get a student visa in most countries.
  • Vaccination records. Check if your destination country requires specific vaccinations and carry proof.
  • Language certifications. You may also need certifications on IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Check your university’s requirements.
  • Letters of recommendation. Secure recommendation letters from teachers or employers.


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    Managing your finances is key to a stress-free study abroad experience. Calculate the total cost of your program, including tuition, fees, and books. Research the cost of living in your destination, including rent, food, and transportation. 

    Set a pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic budget to cover all kinds of scenarios you may encounter while living in a foreign environment. This will help you determine how much money to save or whether you need to apply for scholarships and grants offered by your university or other organizations. Examples of scholarships and grants include: 

    You can also consider working part-time if it’s allowed by your visa. As a last resort, you may take up student loans if other funding options are insufficient.


    Finding the right place to live abroad is a vital part of your study abroad experience. Set a budget, negotiate, and make sure you feel comfortable and safe. 

    Some international students have a relative abroad where they can stay. But if you don’t have that, you can find out if there are on-campus housing or student dormitories that offer safe and convenient access to your campus. Apply early because these spots can fill up quickly just like here in the Philippines. 

    Private stay outside the school may also be possible. Rental sites like Rent Berry and Housing Anywhere can help you find accommodations for mid to long-term rentals outside of the campus.



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    International students usually hold off booking their flights until they’re granted a student visa to save time and money. Hacks to consider:

    • Use websites like Skyscanner to know the best possible rate you can get.
    • Use an incognito browser to see and secure the original fares when you’re ready to book. 
    • Go directly to the airlines’ site to book your tickets. 
    • Double-check dates, airports, and time zones before booking your tickets. 
    • Check one-way fares and consider booking with different airlines.

    And don’t forget: Arrange your transfer from the airport to your accommodation for a hassle-free arrival.


    Packing smartly ensures you have everything you need without excess baggage. Here are some tips:

    1. Clothing. Pack appropriate clothing for the climate and culture of your destination.
    2. Electronics. Bring necessary gadgets and adapters for the local electrical outlets.
    3. Medication. Carry a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you need.
    4. Comfort items. Bring items that remind you of home, such as photos or small mementos.

    For a full list on what to pack, check out The Travel Club Ultimate Travel Checklist.


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    Building a network can provide support and enhance your experience abroad. There are a lot of student groups in each university, and local Filipino communities are present around the world. However, don’t get too pressured to join these groups if you think you still need time to focus on adapting to the culture and adjusting your routines. 


    The more important thing to do is to stay in touch with your family and friends back home. You must also keep a list of emergency contacts, including the Philippine embassy.

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    Studying abroad is a transformative experience that requires thorough preparation. By organizing these aspects of your journey, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enriching time in your new academic environment. 

    Safe travels and enjoy your study abroad adventure!


    The Travel Club will hold its Travel Guide: Exploring the World thru Education event on June 29, 2024 (Friday) at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay. Come as early as 1PM for the registration and enjoy a free consultation with Global Education Specialists IDP and British Council.Reserve your slot thru the registration link below:

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