Studying Abroad: Making Your Plans During COVID

Full disclosure:  I know someone who is studying abroad in the United Kingdom (UK) during the Age of COVID.  This was a plan that was made before the pandemic.

For various reasons, studying abroad may seem to be scary and impossible right now, but with proper planning, you can make your dream of studying in another country come true!

One big positive in the Age of COVID for studying abroad is that most European universities only have one student per dorm room: no roommates!

Following is a general plan for applying for study abroad at your college.  Your college may have different rules and rules are always changing because of COVID.  This is a general outline.  Please be sure to check with your college for up-to-date information.

Applying for Study Abroad

Your college will most likely have a Study Abroad office on campus.  You will probably have to apply during the beginning of the year prior to the year that you want to go.

When you apply for Study Abroad, you will have to provide basic information like your name and class year.  Here are some other questions you might see:

  • How does studying abroad benefit your major or research?
  • What interests you about the country's culture?
  • How will studying abroad help you?
  • What is your GPA?

You're Approved!  Preparing for Your Trip

After you have been approved, your college will either require that you watch videos and/or read about the Study Abroad university.

You will learn about:

  • Financial support
  • Health insurance
  • Registering for classes
  • How to get credit for your courses
  • How your Study Abroad courses will fit in your course load for your major.

Now that you have been approved, you will need to get a Student VISA.

The Student VISA

If you have been to another country, you know that you get a visa stamp in your passport.  A country endorses your visit by stamping your passport with a visa.

The first thing you must do is to obtain a passport.  This is a month's long process, so try to get your passport application done six months to a year before your Study Abroad.  If you are over sixteen, passports are good for ten years.

Each country has its own form of a student visa, which allows a student to stay longer than a tourist visit.  Student visas allow you to stay for the length of your studies, usually with an additional grace period.  If you want to study in the UK, for instance, you must apply for the following:

  • Tier 4 Student Visa. (Do at least 4 months prior)  
    • Sign the application
    • Send your passport to New York for review.
    • When your application is approved, visa is attached.
    • Don't apply too early, however, as you may have to reapply.
  • Biometrics Residence Permits provide your identity in the UK, a right to work or rent, and the ability to apply for public assistance.
  • You may need to provide a tuberculosis test.
  • COVID Test (Keep checking, as regulations are fluid!)
  • Passenger Locator Form to make sure that the UK government can find you, if necessary.  Follow guidelines on this form in order to get to the university.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments below!

Books About Studying Abroad

 Read an excerpt Preparing to Study Abroad, book cover
 Read an excerpt Living and Studying Abroad, book cover
Language Learners in Study Abroad Contexts, book cover
Study Abroad for Dummies, book cover
 How To Be An English Teacher Abroad, book cover