Things to do before departure

You need a lot of time and patience to plan an overseas stay. It is important to begin early. Unexpected details can rob you of precious time that you would prefer to spend with your family or friends before departure.

Regardless of which country you are going to, there are a number of things you should remember. We have listed the most important ones for you here:

Insurance policies and memberships:


There are many possible problems regarding health insurance. Countries with compulsory health insurance do not let students out of contracts easily. It is possible to save money, however. Here are some tips:

  1. Private health insurance policies can be temporarily suspended for a definite time period. You then pay a fraction of your usual premium while you are out of the country. When you return home, you can re-activate your policy with the same original conditions you had.

  2. Public health insurance coverage can be cancelled in some countries.

  3. Talk to your consultant and find out for sure. The government health insurance office can often give you the needed information.


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For German citizens:

You generally do not have to pay health insurance premiums when you are out of the country. If you are insured privately, or with your parents' policy, you do not have to worry. Simply inform the health insurance provider and stop payment. It is not so easy for students who have public health insurance coverage ("gesetzliche Krankenversicherung für Studenten" = a monthly premium of 64,77 EUR + nursing care insurance). These students must pay their premiums as long as they are enrolled in a German college or university. If you have this type of insurance, you must pay premiums at home and overseas. Remember this when planning your budget!

Insurance for the country of destination


Find out if your present insurance is also effective in your country of destination. There is sometimes an agreement between different countries and you do not need additional insurance. If you must take out additional coverage, then you must remember a number of things.

  • In some countries, like the USA, health insurance coverage must full fill certain requirements.

  • Inexpensive insurance does not mean it is good coverage. It is very possible, that you have high co-payments with an inexpensive policy. That means you must pay a lot yourself in the event of an illness.

  • Pay close attention to the limits of liability. This is the amount that the insurance provider will pay. For example, in case of an accident, the limit of 30,000 USD is not enough coverage in western countries.

  • Be aware of the risk you are taking if you do not have adequate coverage. A traffic accident can be very expensive.

  • The choice of insurance provider is important. Generally, a German or European company provides better services than a company from another country. The location of the head office is very important. If the head office is in a country with a low-standard health care system, then the benefits are not comparable to European standards.

  • Be aware that if something happens, the two euro you have saved monthly will not help you if the resulting services you get are sub-standard. Your health is important. Do not save money in the wrong place.

Here you can find an overview of our health insurance: Tariffs

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Important documents:


When traveling overseas you must remember certain documents. We recommend that you make photocopies of all documents you may need upon departure and in an emergency. It is best to save them online. That way you can access them from all over the world.

Important documents:

  • All copies dealing with your visa
  • Passport
  • Flight details
  • Vaccination card: in some countries you need proof of vaccinations. Contact your family doctor for definite information.

  • International driver's license: this depends on your country of destination. This is often only possible in combination with your driver's license from home.

  • International student ID card: with this you can receive many discounts.

Contracts at home:


Try to avoid unnecessary costs. There are many monthly fees that you do not have to pay if you are overseas. Amongst them are: insurance policies, rent for an apartment, club fees, membership dues for the gym, mobile phone contract and much more.



As a general rule, put everything in writing. In case of a dispute, you need written proof.

  • Mobile phone contract: with many providers you can suspend your contract. Before you leave home, turn off the data roaming feature, or you can get a very high bill.

  • The gym: with written confirmation (for example, internship contract or rental contract in country of destination) it is possible to cancel or suspend your contract. The law states that the gym must release you from your contract if you live too far away.

  • Additional health insurance policies can be "suspended" (in German "auf Anwartschaft stellen"). This means the contract is suspended and not cancelled. You pay a fraction of your usual premium and can re-activate your policy to the same original conditions when you return home. Particularly health insurance and pension plan contracts should be suspended. With these contracts, the fees are determined by your age upon entry, which means the older you are, the higher the fees are.


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Packing:


Along with your personal belongings, the following things should be included:


  • Passport
  • Visa documents
  • Confirmation of health insurance
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Dictionary
  • Travel guide and maps of country and city
  • Electrical adapter

Doctor's visit:


Be sure to have a check-up from your family doctor and dentist before you leave. There are better things you could do while overseas than sit in doctors' offices. You also probably need vaccinations, especially for more exotic countries.

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All about money:


It is very unpleasant to be in a foreign country without any cash. Make the necessary arrangements before your departure to save yourself a lot of aggravation.

  • Especially in the first hours and days you are so overwhelmed with your new surroundings, that it is best to have some of the local currency with you. You can order this at your local bank. Be aware that you may have to order it a week in advance.

  • In case you do not have this already, it is probably a good idea to establish an online-banking account for your personal accounts. That way you can manage your money from any country in the world.

  • It is also wise to grant someone you trust (parent, brother or sister, partner) the power of attorney over your bank accounts. This person can then manage your accounts, make money transfers or easily inform you of your balance over the phone.

  • You cannot withdraw cash from ATMs or money machines with your EC-card in many countries. It is never a bad idea to have a credit card. Find out which credit card (Visa or Master) is most widely accepted in the country of destination.