Academic Credit -The most obvious reason why students study abroad is to earn academic credit. You should consider the type of credit you will earn on your study abroad program. Will you earn credit towards your major or elective credit only? Will you receive grades or Pass/Fail credit only? You may study abroad to earn upper division credits in your major field or you may go overseas to earn some of your core or general education hours for your freshman year.
Language Acquisition - The world market place is shrinking rapidly, many companies require proficiency in second languages. Foreign languages are not only valuable in the work force they are valuable in the real world.
Practical Experience - Study abroad coupled with an international internship is an incredible way to gain some real world experience. Additionally you may find that only an international program can offer the real expertise you desire in your education. Australia is a great place to find a marine biology program, the engineering labs in Sweden may exceed your facilities at your home institution, and Peace studies in Geneva would offer an insight that couldn't be matched in Nebraska.
Resume Building - International experience is ranked high among many employers as a critical asset for prospective employees. Study abroad shows that you are resourceful, adventurous, internationally minded, and diverse.
Buy a Student Universe Exclusive Fare
When you see the symbol to the right, it means the associated fare is available exclusively for full-time students, youth, or faculty. If you purchase a ticket and are not eligible for the special fare, you may be refused boarding by the airline. If this happens, you will not receive a refund for your ticket.
Buy a Regular Fare
Regular fares are available to all of our customers, regardless of age or status. When our student fares are not available on a particular flight, regular fares are a great alternative.
Airlines often add a weekend surcharge of $25-40 (each way) for flights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Try Several Dates
If your schedule is flexible, try flying a day before or a day after the dates you originally entered. This can increase your chances of finding availability and a great price.
Search Major Airports, as well as Local Airports
Check fares from your local airport, but search fares from your closest major city (Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New York) as well. Competition among the airlines is higher in larger markets, and fares are sometimes lower.
Fares are subject to airline availability, which changes frequently. Airlines allot only a certain number of student fare tickets. Once those tickets are sold, there are no more student fares available, even if it appears there are still seats on the plane.
Get a Passport:
You can apply for a passport at post offices, and county and municipal offices. Apply several months before you leave, especially if you need visas from foreign embassies. When you apply, bring proof of citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, a consular report of birth abroad, a previous passport, or a certificate of citizenship. You must also bring proof of identity, such as a driver's license, a current student or work ID, or an old passport. You will also need two 2"x2" photos of yourself taken in the past six months.
As soon as you receive your passport, make a copy of the front page that has all your identification information, and keep it in a separate place from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, the copy will make it easier to get a new one.
Get a Visa:
Do some research and find out if your country of destination requires a visa. If so what kind of visa will you need? Sixty percent of the world's countries require visas for any length of stay. If you travel, you may need visas for other countries. Apply early for visas. Processing time varies widely. Embassy addresses and phone numbers can be found at www.GoAbroad.com
Get your immunization shots:
The Center for Disease Control offers the most up-to-date information regarding vaccinations and shots. You should also consult your doctor.
Get a student ID:
International Student IDs provide you with discounts at museums, for youth admissions and fares for transportation and other great discounts. In many cases your student ID from your school will suffice. The additional benefit of an International Student ID is the travel insurance, which usually includes minimal accident, health, repatriation and medical evacuation insurance. There are two major sources for student Ids. ISIC Card which can be obtained at any Council Travel Center or at www.goabroad.com/studentid/index.cfm
Consider a phone card:
Do a little research and find out how you'll be communicating with your people back home. Phone cards are great but they don't always work. The e- kit is recommended which combines voice mail, e-mail and phone card with conversions at the cheapest rates. (www.goabroad.ekit.com/ekit/home)
Another recently developed option is the travel cellular, though expensive; you'll have a number to give your friends before you get on the plane. (www.TravelCell.com)
The choice is your personal preference and may well be decided by the length of time you will be studying at Assumption.
Take your mobile:
If you already have a mobile phone it is recommended you bring it with you to Thailand. Once settled down in Bangkok you can then simply purchase a Thai SIM card for a very reasonable price. However do not continue to using your SIM card from your home country as any calls made or received in Thailand will be hugely expensive.
In addition to the basic coverage provided by the ISIC card, you should take additional comprehensive travel insurance. Your coverage should include medical evacuation and repatriation. Two reliable and reputable sources are: CMI Insurance Specialists, Cultural Insurance Services International CISI
However, it is recommended that you shop around and find the most appropriate cover for your circumstances and length of stay.
Develop a budget:
Consider the in-country costs before you go. You should develop a budget and live by it. Consider the costs of optional excursions, gifts, school supplies, internet access, in-country transportation and general living costs. Many a student, has lost their mind at one of the night clubs in Bangkok and have spent their semester budgets in their first week abroad. Try to familiarise yourself with the local currency, and calculate your budget in that currency.
Learn about your destination:
You're going to experience culture shock, no matter how cool you are, regardless of how diverse you are, and with no regard to your language ability you will have culture shock. One of the ways to have a better experience is to have realistic expectations. Read everything you can about your future home. The Lonely Planets guide to Thailand is a very informative book with hordes of information on Thailand and Bangkok, a few evenings reading through this before you go will at least give you an idea of what to expect.
Bangkok is warm all year round, you will not need to pack a case full of sweaters and other woolen clothes. Pack light! Do research on your destination in advance, find out what kind of items you must bring (for example- English t-bags are scarce and somewhat expensive). In Bangkok you will find almost anything you would expect to find in any Western City, and a whole lot more. Once more, items you may be considering to buy before leaving for Thailand (such as cotton shirts) will almost certainly be more expensive in your home country than in Thailand. If you are not sure you will need it, leave it at home!