1. Take note of important telephone numbers—this roughly translates as home (and if applicable, foreign) universities', organisations' (British Council, Erasmus, host company etc...), your home GPs', your bank's stolen cards' line, insurance claims'.
2. Try and sort out a mobile phone/ internet deal.
3. Keep a record of your finances: how much money are you being offered through grants, how much personal money you have, what’s the craic with your student loan etc.
4. Set up a bank account, preferably one that allows you to withdraw freely
5. Warn your home bank that you're going away so they don't block your card once out there--not fun and a lot of hassle to fix!
6. Create a list of people you can check in with. Do you know of anyone out in the country, perhaps not necessarily in the same city, but relatively close by? Ask around (friends, family, university, work etc...) and build a network before going out there. Search for friends on ThirdYearAbroad.com!
7. Read up on where you are going. Know the ins and outs of your chosen destination!
8. Write a checklist of the places you want to visit and things you want to do there, so you keep homesickness at bay.
9. Make sure you carry your valuables on your person and not in your suitcase!
10. Label your luggage (old-fashioned but worth it in case your Havainas get lost...) and should also check and see what you are allowed/not allowed to pack into your suitcase.
11. Find out your luggage allowances from the airline—these vary from country to country and airline to airline.
12. Make sure your passport is valid and renewed! Simple, obvious, yet so easy to forget. Remember it can take months to process a passport, so do this as early as you can.
13. Do you need a visa? Double check what the requirements are with your embassy. Leave enough time to do this, as some visas take longer than others!
14. Check online or with your local GP to see if you need to take any vaccinations.
15. Is your prescription covered? If you require any medication, make sure you can bring them into your host country, otherwise they may be confiscated.
16. Photocopy all your important documents! (credit/debit cards, birth certificate, driving license, passport, EHIC card) Make sure you keep one copy of each for yourself and one for your parents (your tutors at home/abroad might also need a copy). We recommend emailing them to yourself, along with a passport-sized photo, in case you lose your paper copy.
17. Research international calling card plans.
18. Read the small print for insurance policies and get covered—better safe and sound than very sorry if something goes pear-shaped!