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Have you ever thought about making a pre-departure checklist? Going abroad to study at an international university can be an exciting but complex process as you have many things to do.

You’ve made it through the applications, the seemingly endless wait for the admission offers, and the potentially “scary” VISA interview(s). This doesn’t stop there; now you’re anxious about what to pack.

For you, moving to a new country means packing your bags, learning how to adapt to a new culture and educational system, and making a new life for yourself in a place you’ve never lived before. Since you’re moving abroad for school rather than a vacation, there are a few things you need to think about in the lead-up to your big move. 

Not to worry, we have created a checklist of everything you’ll need, and you can start crossing off the items as you get them.

Your Ultimate Pre-Departure Checklist

  1. Airline Research
  2. Essential Documents Checklist
  3. Health Checkups and Prescribed Medications
  4. Clothes and Shoes
  5. Cash
  6. Supplementary Items
  7. Final Checks and Contact Information

Airline Research

This might sound odd, but you need to verify certain things with the airline you are traveling with to avoid unforeseen situations. Before packing, check with the airline to confirm the baggage limits. Before entering the country, you’ll want to double-check your luggage for items, such as meat and medications, etc. 

Additionally, there might also be a possible need for a transit visa. Ensure you have enough time to get through airport security and immigration before your next journey.

Essential Documents Checklist

You should always keep your most essential documents in a folder or binder in your carry-on. It would help to keep them organized in one place as they are crucial for your trip. 

While you can have a soft copy on your phone, remember to present all these documents in hard copy form. Keep them where you can quickly retrieve them in case you’re asked. Below are some of the documents you need to bring with you:

  • Your International passport / Visa
  • Flight ticket
  • Other forms of identification, such as your birth certificate, an identification card, or a driver’s license.
  • Accommodation proof
  • Original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
  • Admission letter/ CAS (Confirmation of Admission to Studies). Note that the CAS is for UK students only.
  • Letter of enrolment
  • Health insurance proof
  • Scholarship documents (if any)
  • Tuition deposit slip
  • Proof of your financial support/cash/traveler checks, etc.(e.g., your bank statement)

Again, always keep them with you; don’t put them in your checked baggage! Additionally, you should have an extra copy with you, and you can also make some copies to keep at home.

Health Checkups and Prescribed Medications

A health checkup is one of the most important things to do in your pre-departure checklist. Going for a comprehensive medical checkup would be best to avoid getting sick during your first week at your destination due to the stress of getting things in order. 

Your medication is a must; ensure you don’t leave any behind. Some of your prescriptions may be unavailable or very expensive in the country where you want to study.

It is always better to be safe than sorry, so bring more than enough of whatever you need in the way of pain relievers, antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, cold remedies, antacids, or anything else. You should get prescriptions for any medications you plan to carry from your doctor.  

Clothes and Shoes

Before leaving for your study abroad experience, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local climate and pack accordingly. Pack clothes that are easy to mix and match. For example, you can buy trousers that you can pair with different tops. Bring shoes you can move around in easily. Also, pack winter boots and cold weather gear (i.e., gloves/ mittens, hat, scarf) to prepare for the cold.

You can pack sneakers for walking around, dress shoes for giving speeches, and sandals for lounging in the sun. Even if you have an idea of the weather at your destination, you should only bring half the clothes you’ll need and buy the rest when you arrive.

Electronic Gadgets

Another item to put in your pre-departure checklist is an adaptor or any device you can use internationally when preparing your travel bags. Remember to bring any necessary electronic devices to aid your studies, whether a laptop, tablet, phone, etc.


Another thing most people forget on their pre-departure checklist is cash. As trivial as it seems, you may need some spare change if you need to call or pay for a ride or a snack while you’re out and about. Think about how much money you’ll need for the first few days. Before leaving the country, you can also get a debit or credit card that you can use internationally and open a local bank account as soon as you arrive.  

Supplementary Items

Other items that you might like to bring along with your essentials include:

  • Dairy
  • Hangers
  • Sunglasses
  • Bedsheets
  • Kitchen towels
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Body moisturizer
  • Shower gel, shampoo, soap
  • Shaver, razor, shaving cream, comb
  • Bath towels 
  • Air pillows
  • Stationeries
  • Sleeping bags
  • Hot-water bottle
  • Desk Lamp 
  • Safety Pins
  • Small sewing kit.

Final Checks and Contact Information 

Ensure you’ve checked everything off your pre-departure checklist and have all your emergency contacts written down before you leave for your study abroad experience. As we stated earlier, keep your passport, visa, admission letter, and any other paperwork needed in a secure location. 

Keep a record of your medical history, including allergies and prescriptions, in your wallet. Also, ensure that you have access to sufficient finances to cover initial costs once you arrive in your destination country. Do not forget to charge your gadgets before leaving for the airport.

Remember that you can buy certain things at your final destination, so pack only the necessities and anything that might be more difficult to find or more expensive to purchase overseas. Ensure your luggage doesn’t exceed the airline’s baggage limit to avoid paying more. 


Studying abroad may be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but only if you put in the time and effort to prepare for it. Following this pre-departure checklist, you can start preparing for your big move on the right foot. We wish you a safe trip, and don’t forget to comment if you find this helpful!!

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