Preparing to travel

Travelling to a new place can be daunting, especially when you have lots of things to remember and your luggage in tow. It is worth sorting out travel arrangements well in advance and it is probably cheaper too. Here are a few tips and resources to help you get on your way planning your new adventure.

We also have advice for you on funding your time abroad

Passport, visa, and other official documentation

If you are studying or working abroad, you will need a visa to authorise your stay. Each country has different requirements, so it is important that you check with the embassy of your destination country well before you leave. 

Going to an EU country

Provided you have a UK passport, you can live, study or work within the European Union without a visa. 

As the UK is part of the EU, if you are a UK national you’ll pay the same course fees as nationals of your destination country.

What papers will you need?

If your study or work placement in an EU country lasts for three months or less, and you are a UK national, you’ll just need your passport or identity card.

Some EU countries stipulate a period within which you have to get in touch with the authorities to let them know that you are in the country. This may be less than three months.

If your stay for study/work in an EU country is longer than three months you may need to show:

  • your passport or identity card
  • proof of enrolment from your chosen EU institution or employer
  • proof of health insurance 
  • evidence that you have enough income to support yourself (this could be from various sources, including parents or bank savings).
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). See the section on health for more information. 

Some EU countries require you to register after three months of studying or working there, to prove that you have a right to live in that country.

Going to a country outside the EU

If you are studying or working outside the EU, you may need a visa. Each country has its own regulations so it is best to check with the embassy of your destination country. 

In some instances you will need to get in touch directly with your destination university or college to find out about visa requirements.

There are various websites, such as UKCISA, that provide comprehensive country guides and visa requirements.

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance is essential: you’ll need to make sure you get the right cover. It’s a good idea to get a broad policy, covering everything from small injuries to emergency flights home. The Money Saving Expert website and Third Year Abroad has good independent advice relating to travel insurance. 

Healthcare in the EU

If you are going to study or undertake a work placement in a European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you’ll be eligible for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will enable you to get state health care in your country of study at the same rate as people who live in that country.

If you’re travelling with any dependants, they will need their own EHICO. 

Your EHIC card can be used for a variety of medical needs. What it covers varies from country to country so it’s important to take out medical insurance as well. You can find out more about the EHIC at NHS Moving Abroad, or the EHIC website.

Healthcare outside the Eu

For study/work placements outside the EU it is worth checking what medical services are offered in your destination country. For example, Australia offers Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Wherever you go, it’s worth contacting your chosen institution/employer to find out if they recommend specific health care provision or websites for international students.

Accommodation

Towns or cities will have a myriad of accommodation options from hotels and guesthouses to shared houses and apartments.

Don’t feel pressured to find somewhere permanent before you depart, it’s hard to know what you’re looking, when you're not actually there looking at it. You can always stay in temporary digs while you get to know the place a bit. A little local knowledge goes a long way when looking for accommodation.

TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION

Try AirBnB which lists rooms for rent in local people’s houses or apartments on a temporary basis. Use Trip Advisor for hotels, guesthouses and other temporary accommodation. 

Local Universities and Colleges

The international office is a good place to get tips on local accommodation. You can also check notice boards around campus. If doing a degree abroad, you may be entitled to a room in the halls of residence.  

USEFUL WEBSITES