For most students studying abroad, the break at the end of the year is the best time to head home. After all, it’s Christmas and New Year, it’s cold and dreary in many parts of the world, everyone’s heading home, and the break is generally too short take on a job or internship position.
If you’re one of the many international students anxiously waiting for the semester to wrap up, here are a few essential things to remember.
Student accommodation is prime territory for burglars during the mass holiday exodus. If you’re staying on campus, you may be required to move out between semesters.
Remember to pack all your valuables and keep things you can’t bring with you in safe storage. If you’re staying in an apartment and it’s going to be empty through this period, make sure you lock all your windows and doors before you leave. If you have a friendly neighbour nearby who you trust and is staying put, ask if they wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on the place while you’re gone.
Check important documents
Always check if your passport is valid for at least six months before you travel overseas. For international students, you might also need to bring certain documents with you before you travel. For example, students studying in US must have their i-20 forms signed in ink by an International Student officer every year for re-entry purposes.
Sudents studying in the UK are advised to carry a status letter confirming their university registration. Make sure your documents are all up-to-date before you travel to avoid stress and hassle at the airport. Your international student advisor can answer any questions if you’re unsure.
Be ready for your return
If it’s just a semester break, make sure you have everything in order for the upcoming term. Take note of deadlines for class registration, as missing deadlines could result in you being denied access back into your host country you’re studying in.
Set appointments with your advisors before they leave for the holidays so you can finalise your class schedule. It’s also a good idea to have your housing sorted before you leave. If possible, you should pay your utility, rent, and phone bills in advance. It may get a little hectic, but making sure everything’s ready for your return ensures a worry-free break.
You don’t want to be lugging everything back with you. Remember that you have to bring it all back! Those going back to a warmer climate are free to leave behind those cosy winter clothes. Bring only the essentials (and important documents!) and presents for loved ones back home, so you can save space for things you want to bring from home like local snacks, medicines, toiletries, gifts etc. And if you’ll be preparing for exams whilst away, don’t forget to pack your books!
Finalise travel plans
There’s nothing worse than missing a connecting flight or train, leading to delays and making your trip back home even shorter. Double-check your travel times and plans (don’t forget to take into any account time difference!), and try to organise a ride to the airport or train station well in advance. Check the weather forecast during bad weather spells as well so you can anticipate delays.
Before you head home for the holidays, it’s a good idea to make a checklist so you can stay organised. Travel safe and happy holidays!