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30 Days to Departure Checklist

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Start your study abroad countdown right.

To point out the painfully obvious, moving abroad is stressful. If there’s a way around that, I hope I don’t disappoint by admitting that I have yet to find it. However, letting stress snowball and cripple you with anxieties? That can be avoided.

Ease your mind by accomplishing these tasks once your 30-day countdown to departure has begun:

Meet with your banker

Avoid any surprises once you make it to your destination and get the lowdown on the best way to exchange your money. If you’re planning on opening a new bank account once you’re settled, this is the perfect time to get all the information that you’ll need to do so.

Call your cell phone provider

If you plan on replacing your SIM card with a local one once you arrive, you will likely need to unlock your phone with your existing provider before you leave. 

Begin packing

It's never too early to start. First, decide what comes with and what might be better off being donated or sold. Once you think you’ve packed everything, check how much shipping or extra checked baggage will cost, and then go back through your items once again. You can survive without more than you think.

Check and re-check your travel itinerary

One of my connecting flights had actually been cancelled and I wasn’t notified. The new flight I had been routed on landed 30 minutes before my connecting flight would take off, which was not ideal at such a massive airport. Customer service is always so helpful when this happens, but it is critical to keep an eye on your flights.

Organize all your documents

Depending on the details surrounding your move abroad, immigration and customs may not only want your passport, but proof of enrollment or an offer letter from your school. I would suggest printing off all your important documents and making copies, before putting them in a folder inside your carry-on item.

Get to know your new home

Familiarize yourself by looking at campus maps, bus schedules, tourist websites and first-hand accounts on blogs. Feeling prepared by knowing where exactly the nearest cup of tea can be found could be just what you need to stop the overwhelmed thoughts on that first morning in a new town—or continent.


Not everyone has your courage and the strength to leave what's normal and familiar. That very decision alone makes you capable of far more than you think.

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Ahnika White

Ahnika White is an aspiring travel writer from the midwestern United States living in Ireland, where she's pursuing her goal of earning a master's degree in English Literature at the University of Limerick.

Website: www.mywanderouslife.com

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