Practical Preparation for Studying Abroad

Seminars, student parties and sightseeing are preceded by questions about suitable health insurance abroad, the right credit card and the perfect accommodation. After all, before studying abroad students should know some practical things and prepare for it.

Foreign health insurance

In order to study abroad, foreign health insurance is absolutely necessary, even for short programmes such as a language course. The foreign universities require international students to take out health insurance abroad. Many also offer them themselves. In most cases, however, students can also take out health insurance abroad in Germany. Normally it is also cheaper. Those who already take out health insurance abroad in Germany must ensure that they must provide the same services as the insurance offered by the foreign university.


The booking of the flight to the destination country is, of course, an essential part of the practical preparation for studying abroad. Our cooperation partner, the STA Travel Educational Travel Service, offers program participants of College Contact special conditions (4% discount). In addition, he will prepare a flight offer that is specially tailored to our programs.


Regardless of whether you are going abroad for a complete course of study, a semester abroad or a summer session, you should think about your accommodation beforehand. Everyone has his or her own ideas and desires and every accommodation option, be it student residence, shared flat or host family, has its advantages and disadvantages. The first point of contact for accommodation is usually your host university. But there is also a lot of information on the topic in Facebook groups or in the many reports on studying abroad. If you are looking for accommodation on the spot, don’t forget to book a room in a hostel for a few days in advance.

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is an official international student ID card that offers students in more than 125 countries a wide range of benefits, including discounts from air, rail, bus and telephone companies. Discounts are also available on admission to sightseeing and cultural facilities. Its price is 15,00 Euro and it is valid for one year.

Credit cards as a necessary means of payment

In many countries, the credit card is an everyday means of payment and therefore an absolute must-have when studying abroad. Many online shops and airlines only accept credit cards as means of payment. Compared to cash or EC card payments, credit cards have many advantages especially abroad. The choice of a suitable credit card should therefore also be on the to-do list when practical preparations are made for studying abroad. When selecting a suitable credit card for your stay abroad, you should consider the following aspects, among others:

  • Fees for using the card abroad
  • Withdrawal fees abroad
  • Debit interest rate for large amounts (for example, tuition fees)

Transfers to and from abroad

Normally, bank transfers must be made prior to the start of your studies abroad. Payments can be made by credit card or traditional bank transfer. Students must pay the application fee or tuition fees by credit card or bank transfer before or during their studies. Anyone wishing to open an account abroad must have their main place of residence there. However, a stay abroad during the course of studies often only lasts half a year or one year. In this case, re-registration is not worthwhile and many international students leave their main residence in their home country. This means that they have to make regular international transfers. Banks charge high fees for this. Peer-to-peer online money transfer services are an alternative for worldwide cash transfer. The providers also charge fees for transfers abroad, but these can be up to 85 percent lower, depending on the provider.

Telephoning and Internet Surfing

Keeping in touch with your loved ones at home or coordinating the next appointment with your new friends abroad – thanks to telephone and internet, it’s really easy today. Mobile surfing on the go is also a matter of course for most people. In order to prevent telephone calls and surfing while studying abroad from becoming a cost trap, students should pay attention to a few things:

  • Wherever possible, use WLAN and surf the web for free, use WhatsApp or make calls via Skype.
  • Don’t just keep using the German smartphone! Prepaid SIM cards from providers in the destination country offer favourable conditions for calling and surfing with full cost control.
  • Roaming charges should only be used in cases of absolute emergency, especially abroad and especially outside Europe.
  • If a telephone call is necessary, you should call each other if possible.

Shipping costs abroad

With a maximum weight of 20 kilograms for luggage, you can’t take everything you need for a longer stay abroad. Many students therefore buy many things on site. Those who do not want to sell or give away the newly acquired belongings at the end of their stay can have them sent home. Sending large parcels is comparatively inexpensive. Postage costs abroad vary from provider to provider, so you should choose the provider carefully.