How to mentally prepare for your year abroad

Daisy Marshallon 19 April 2023
Person planning their travels with a camera, notebook and map

A year abroad is a huge step, but with some preparation, it will likely be the best year of your academic life.

You know when and where you are going for your year abroad but that’s about it! Many students say their year abroad was the most exciting time of their uni experience. But moving to a different place can be an overwhelming process. Below are some top tips to help you mentally prepare for the year!


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Don’t be too hard on yourself

Taking a year abroad is like stepping into a completely new situation. It’s a very brave thing to do so don’t be too hard on yourself! Prepare yourself for feelings of anxiety and homesickness but also reassure yourself that these feelings won’t last and that they’re a natural part of the process. 

If being away from family and friends is something you are worried about then you can set up regular video or voice calls with them. Remind yourself that you can always communicate with family and friends even if this isn’t in person. You could also organise dates for your loved ones to come and visit you! 

Get your admin done

Sorting out admin in advance will make you feel that one step more relaxed when you start your year aboard. Think about money and prepare how you are going to exchange currencies. We recommend looking into cross-continent paid companies such as Carton FX and Revolut which are able to be linked to your UK bank account.

Passport, plane tickets, camera, glasses and receipts

Making copies of your important documents is a fantastic idea. This could include your passport, health and travel insurance and driver’s license. You’ll need to show your university or employer certain docs so check what they need beforehand. Once these admin jobs are ticked off, your year abroad is likely to feel much more real!

Plan to settle in

Remember to keep busy during your year abroad. Take all the opportunities given to you to immerse yourself in the new culture. Perhaps apply for a part-time job? This would be a great chance to meet new people! 

Another fantastic way to find new friends is to join general exchange groups on Facebook in your chosen region. Meeting new people and making connections is the best way to feel at home in your new region.

Research your department

It’s important to learn about your new university. You could perhaps visit before you move or get advice from students in the year above who have done a year abroad in this location. Get to know the uni. Look up typical living arrangements and the campus layout. 

You could also sign up for clubs and societies the uni offers that you like the sound of. This is another great way to meet friends. Your year abroad is a fantastic adventure and a short period of your life. Find out as much as you can before you go so you can make the most of it!

Learn about the country

Getting to know the county before you set off is crucial! You need to start asking yourself simple questions such as what the weather is like. This will help you not pack big woolly coats when it’s 25 degrees all year round. Find out how expensive the location is so you can work out how much you will need to budget for the year. Research into the food and what tourist things there are to do there. 

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you don’t want to miss out on the hidden gems of your new country. You could watch YouTube videos or read blogs to find out more about your chosen country. Also, if it’s not an English-speaking country, why not download Duolingo or Babbel and start practising the new language now? Then you start counting down the days when it’s time to live your best life in your new country!

Are you planning to do a year abroad? Join the Student Hut Community for access to paid surveys which will help you get the travel essentials you need.

Daisy Marshallon 19 April 2023