Traveling overseas is exciting. There’s so much to see and do, and yet when also studying overseas, time can slip away faster than you might expect. That’s why timing your arrival is so important.
If you plan on studying overseas in Australia or any other country a significant distant from home, it’s best to get there a little early. Give yourself a few extra days or even weeks during which you can get situated, learn the area, and be ready for classes. Here are five specific reasons to arrive early and what you’ll gain by doing so.
Arriving a bit early gives you much needed time to get to know your host family, settle into your new room, learn the rules, and explore the immediate area. Where is the grocery store? The bank? The library? These are things you’ll be glad you already know when you’re deep into a busy class schedule.
If you’re staying in the same time zone, this is less of an issue, but if you are traveling from far away, especially across four or more hours, you’ll need a bit of time to adjust. The farther you are traveling from; the more time your body will need to adjust. A 12-hour difference, for example, can result in upwards of a week adjusting fully to the new schedule. The last thing you want is to fight jet lag and insomnia when you are starting classes in a new country.
Orientation events often occur a week or two before classes officially start. By attending, you will not only learn the basics of your new university, but you may meet some new friends. Especially at universities with large international student populations in Sydney and Melbourne, these events can be immensely helpful in settling in, learning more about your new university, and meeting a handful of people you can connect with as you get started.
There are always business details to handle when traveling overseas. For students who will be in Australia for several months, this might include setting up a bank account, buying a new cell phone, getting a local or student ID card, finalizing your health insurance, or enrolling for classes – if any of these things need to be done, give yourself plenty of time on days before the term starts so you can be ready to just focus on studying.
Here’s an easy one – have fun! The reason you’re excited to be in Australia is that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will be a lot of fun. But if you don’t give yourself enough time to have fun and spend your first few weeks running for errand to errand between classes, you can burn out fast. Make sure you build in enough time to explore your surroundings, enjoy the setting of a new country, and meet as many people as you can – these are the things that will stick with you forever as unforgettable memories of your time here.