All packed up and ready to go!

Are you all set for a new life at a university overseas? Before that actually happens, you must first make preparations and manage some mundane but essential paperwork.
All packed up and ready to go!
Published 09 Jun 2017

Are you all set for a new life at a university overseas? Before that actually happens, you must first make preparations and manage some mundane but essential paperwork. Get all the work out of the way as quickly as possible, so that you can party with friends and spend some quality time with your folks before your final departure.


4 weeks before take off

  • Book your air ticket if you haven't already done so. Allow yourself ample time for the orientation activities organized by your university or halls of residence. Check if you need to get a confirmed return ticket.

  • Take extra sets of extra passport photos. They will come in handy, especially when you need to apply for student or membership cards when you get there.

  • Find out more about the country and school you are going to. You would probably have done some research before applying for your school, but it would be good to get as much details as possible, so that it won't be as much a culture shock when you get there. The university website is always a good place to start. Find out the country's climate, exchange rates and time zones.

  • If your parents are willing, ask them for a supplementary credit card. It is useful in time of emergencies - and that doesn't mean the Christmas sale!

  • Apply for a Singtel International Calling Card (ICC). It is expensive to call from overseas, and you get good savings with this card. It takes 14 working days to process, so do apply in advance.

  • Make sure you have a valid passport. You will need to have a passport that is at least valid for 3 or 4 years you will be overseas.

  • Renew your driver's license. If you are staying longer than 3 months in Australia, however, you have to pass a written test on highway codes and driving regulations to be granted an Australian license.

  • Sort out your student visa if you are going to Australia and America.

  • Pay your school fees. The Australian High Commission, for example, will only issue a student visa if you have paid the fee for the first semester.


3 weeks before take off

  • Go for a medical check-up. A clean bill of health is a prerequisite for many universities.

  • Get ample supplies of any medication you may need while you are at the doctor's. for example, asthmatics may need an extra inhaler.

  • Visit your dentist - for your own good, even if you don't have any dental problem.

  • Visit your optician. Get a spare pair of glasses of extra supply of disposable contact lenses.

  • Buy your health and travel insurance. Better to be safe than sorry.

  • Shop around for a laptop that suit your needs, should you require one. Funan The IT Mall is a good place to start hunting for one.

  • Learn to cook your favourite dishes. You will be craving for Singapore food after a while. It's also quality time spent with mother.


2 weeks before take off

  • Make photocopies of important documents such as your academic certificates, student visa, passport and letters from your university.

  • Shop! Head for the supermarket and buy some foodstuff you like, but make sure you can take them into the country where you are going. If it is wintertime where you are going, get a set of the necessary winter clothes. But don't overdo it.

  • Get your plugs and telephone jacks. The Australian 3-pin plug is different from Singapore's. You will need to get an adapter. In the United Kingdom, telephone jacks are different from those here, so you'll need an adapter if you plan to log on from your dormitory.

  • Get a rice cooker. Many Singaporeans student abroad swear that it is the most useful appliance they took with them. Get a small one. You will discover the culinary possibilities are endless.

  • Arrange to have someone from the university meet you at the airport. This can be done through the international students' office.

  • Get a bank statement or banker's guarantee letter from your parents' bank, if you have decided against signing on for a scholarship, and your parents will be paying for your education. You will have to produce this at immigration.

  • Males citizens have to apply for their exit permits. Now this can be done online at

  • Visit the hawker centres. You can never have too much fired guotiaos, carrot cake, roti prata or chicken rice before you leave.

  • Practice cooking some of your favourite dishes. Mum's passed you her secret recipes, now it's time to hone your skills! It's also a good reason to invite friends and family over for a final round of get-together before you leave.

  • Singaporeans students from your university might organize a pre-departure party. It's a good place to meet people and find out more about the university.


1 week before take off

  • Set up a web-based free email account. You may not get your own student email account for a while. To check your mail, just head for the nearest cyber-café.

  • Prepare a list of important telephone numbers, such as the Singapore Consulate, international students' office and your hall residence.

  • Get a haircut. It's good to look neat on your first day of school.

  • Get a bank draft so that you can open a bank account once you are overseas.

  • Head for the money-changer's and get a reasonable amount to tide you over till your bank account is open.

  • Pack - but not the night before. Do it a few days before departure. Know your baggage limit. (the average is about 20-22 kg). Ask your travel agent for extra baggage allowance if you really need it. Items that have to be declared should be packed separately. Australia is especially strict about bringing in food products.

  • Spend time with your family.

  • Party with friends.

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