Study Abroad Essential


A global perspective and cross-cultural competence are crucial for success in today’s world. In the present age, no person can afford to deny that the demand for people, who are globally mobile. Living in a foreign environment and gaining international exposure makes one adaptive to different cultures and enables him to survive the pressures of a competitive world.But before you leave, there are certain things to be taken care of. These may vary and change from each country, but they do form an important part of going abroad to study. Lets look at some of the aspects:


Most US universities require applicants to have taken MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) at least once during their life. Even if you have taken MMR as a child, it is recommended to take the MMR before you leave for the US. UK universities generally do not require applicants to have taken prior vaccinations. If you are student going to Canada, Australia, or New Zealand you need to clear medical requirements before you are granted a student visa. This includes a chest X- ray and often blood test as well. No matter which country you are going to study in, it is highly recommended that you actually take MMR, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Diphtheria, Tetanus and other useful vaccinations.You can take these vaccinations from any registered doctor or hospital. However it is best to take the vaccinations from doctor who understands overseas student’s medical requirements.

Health Insurance:

Students studying in  US and Canada can buy health insurance from the university they are studying in or from an independent insurance provider (provided the university permits) How ever all international students in the US must be covered under insurance policy. The UK on other hand has one of the best insurance systems in the world and international students in the UK, whose courses are longer than six months in duration, qualify to receive subsidized treatment and hence do not need to pursue chase any additional insurance. And if you are studying in Scotland, you not even need to pursue a course longer than six months to avail of the insurance benefits.When you apply for student visa to Australia, one of the requirements is that you register for the Overseas Student Health Cover Programme before you actually arrive in Australia. So there is no question about trying and testing new insurance policies. Even
Universities in New Zealand require applicants to have a comprehensive travel and medical policy. Which is generally purchased from the university? In rare circumstances, this policy can be bought from an external company and the university evaluates the external insurance policy.

Foreign Exchange:

The RBI allows you to take up to $100000 abroad for you education and incase your I-20 or admission letter states a higher amount , RBI may allow that as well (please check the latest foreign exchange rules directly with RBI) In short, you can easily obtain foreign exchange for your education abroad. Always carry your money in sensible denominations: travelers Cheque, cash , demand drafts (Check allowed cash limits with RBI) You can also wire transfer your money to your university’s account even before you get there. Wire transfer is safe, cheap and fast and many Indian banks charge as little as Rs250 for a wire transfer. If you prefer you can use it as a debit or ATM card.


Some airlines such as Air India British Airways allow extra baggage allowance for students. Remember to fly reputed airlines, which will not unnecessarily delay in flights or cancel your bookings. Remember to reconfirm your reservations at least three days before you fly and leave early for the airport. This is a very busy season and you do not want to miss your flight because you did not turn off your TV in time to leave for the airport. Make sure you check baggage specifications because before you choose your airline. Earlier if you were flying to the US you were allowed two bags of 32 kilos a total of 64 kilos. This has now been reduced by most airlines to 23 kilos per bag and totaling 46 kilos.


Indian Immigration & Customs:

If you are traveling to the US, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand you do not need to have ECNR or Emigration Check Not Required in your passport. If you get an immigration officer who insists on you having an ECNR, call the manager of the airport because you do not need ECNR while traveling to developed countries (such as the ones mentioned above) If asked at customs , honestly state the amount of foreign exchange that you are carrying. As a student you are allowed to carry the amount mentioned on your I-20 or admission letter.

When you reach your destination country make sure that you have your passport and I- 20 or admission letter with you when you land. Do not make the rookie mistake of putting your I –20 or admission letter in your checked baggage. Remember, when you land you first encounter immigration and only after that are you allowed to collect your checked in baggage.

At the foreign immigration counter you may be asked the reason for your visit, how long you plan to stay in the country and how you plan to fund your education. Make sure that you answer all the questions asked honestly and to the point. In some countries you may also be fingerprinted at the immigration counter. Do not worry, as this is a routine procedure.

Special note for customs when you land and clear immigration and collect your bags, you will encounter customs just before you leave the airport. The customs officer may ask you about the contents of your bag and if you are carrying fresh food with you. Again make sure that you answer the questions honestly. Remember, all customs officers are aware that food can always be found in any Indian students bag.

All these are the basic, but at times overlooked. So once you pack your bag, ensure that also have taken the essentials to enter the country.

Swati Salunkhe

Updated: March 22, 2016 — 6:18 pm