There you go. You’ve already nailed the interview and been offered the perfect internship in the country of your dreams. Good job! Now that your departure date is approaching, it’s quite normal to feel a bit (or a lot) overwhelmed with everything waiting for you to get done before the big day.
Instead of spending sleepless nights and fighting with sudden feelings of forgetting something, use our checklist and get yourself prepared.
1. Passport and flight ticket
Everyone has seen those movies when the main character misses his flight. Even if it seems funny on the screen, believe me, you don't want to experience the feeling in real life. It seems obvious, but without your passport and flight ticket, your journey will never start. These documents must be the first on your checklist. Make sure you get them with you on the day of your departure. Otherwise, what starts as the day of your new life, might turn into a nightmare.
2. European Health Insurance card
We get it. No one wants to pay for something that is not mandatory. You are there thinking “Nothing will happen to me anyways”. Still, having insurance can save you a lot of stress and money. You simply cannot avoid falling sick or getting injured. Unless you are Superman, of course.
Pro tip: Apply for a European Health Insurance card. It’s not only safe, but also free. As an EU citizen, if you unexpectedly fall ill during a temporary stay in another EU country - whether on holiday, a business trip or studying abroad - you are entitled to any medical treatment that can't wait until you get home. You have the same rights to health care as people insured in the country you are in.
3. Call your bank
You should give them a call for several reasons. First, check if everything is in order with your card. Some cards issued without a chip are declined in other European countries. Second, let them know that you will be abroad, especially if it is for a longer period. If you don’t, they might flag your card and freeze it when they see that someone is using it in a foreign country.
4. Make a copy of your documents
This is an advice for you that I myself forget every single time. Until now, I’ve been lucky, but one day, I might not be. Making a copy of your important documents (a paper one and a digital one) could eventually save your trip if something goes wrong. Losing these important documents are already stressful enough, so having a back-up will help you to stay on top of the situation. And before saying that you never lose anything, don’t forget that many pickpockets specialise on naive tourists.
5. Check the currency
In Europe, you will be able to use your euros the same way you do it in Belgium in many other countries. Nevertheless, you should not forget to check before you leave. For example, in the Czech Republic or Hungary, paying in euros makes the price higher. Choose the local currency and save money easily.
6. Research the local habits
Most of us already do research before leaving the country. We check the best restaurants to try, the most astonishing museums to visit, the incredible sights to include in our itinerary. However, looking at local habits might be worth it too. What is that? Politeness, taboos, dress code, religion or mentality. By researching these things, you reduce the risk of misunderstanding and increase your chances to blend into your new home country.
7. Sealed bags for liquids
You certainly don’t want to lose the perfume you’ve been saving up for at the airport. What a bad start, isn’t it? Use transparent, sealed bags for liquids of maximum 100 ml and everything will be great.
8. Choose the best place to live
When you select the place you will live in your new country, take these two criteria into account. Safety of the neighbourhood and accessibility of your job. You will be happy if you can walk home feeling safe after dinner with your new friends. At the same time, you can sleep much longer in the morning if commuting doesn't take forever.
9. Pack smartly
It may seem like common sense, but no doubt that winter is going to be less cold in Spain than in Norway, and you need to pack accordingly. This tip can save you money on buying things that you already own (for instance a warm coat) by bringing them along. Instead a new wardrobe, you can spend your savings on more fun things, like excursions and weekend trips.
1o. Take care of yourself
By now you probably know - We love to keep the most important to the end. If you want to have an amazing experience, you need to allow yourself to be curious and open minded. That is the key to learn the most from your journey. By the time you return, you will become a better version of yourself, I promise!