What Pre-Departure at UK Really Did for Me

connor-6You’re about to go and participate in some level of education abroad.  All you can feel is excitement and nerves.  Then you receive an email letting you know that you have to participate in a mandatory “Pre-Departure” session.  You probably begin to think that this session is going to be a complete waste of time.  I know I did.  However, here’s what you really get out of the Pre-Departure.


Peace of Mind

The world is a scary place.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be frightened of everywhere and everything.  After attending the Pre-Departure session, you will be able to obtain that peace of mind.  At a Pre-Departure, you will be able to voice any concern.  Representatives from the Education Abroad office will be able to help answer any difficult questions you may have.  You will also find out that there are follow up measures in place, if any issue were to occur.  You will learn about the stages of life while abroad.  You will hear from students and faculty whom have been abroad, and hear about the successful, weird, and adventurous stories they have to tell.  Pre-Departures really help solidify the knowledge that going abroad shouldn’t be scary; it should be enticing.

Helpful Resources

When you’re about to go abroad you lose sight of the knowledge you might need to have some helpful resources.  Luckily, the Pre-Departure helps set you up with those resources.  One of the items you will receive is a tiny blue trifold.  This trifold is a great resource for anyone going abroad, as it allows you to include your contact info, emergency contact info, UK’s contact info, and any other beneficial info you may need.  It’s like an emergency phone book.  You will also receive some advice about how to pack.  Most people think they should pack their one suitcase to the brim.  That’s not necessarily always the case.  Education Abroad representatives will be able to share their stories about what they packed when they went abroad as well.  During my Pre-Departure, we watched some very helpful videos, held some enticing dialogue, and even received a multitude of documents.  These are just two examples of the helpful resources to expect before going abroad.


I know this one is pretty obvious.  I know you’re already stoked to hop on that plane and travel however-many hours to your destination.  However, once you’re in a room with other people from UK who are about to embark on a life-changing experience, you’ll be glad you came.  You can meet others who may be going to the same location you are, or connect with others who will be around your general proximity abroad.  These connections can make traveling more fun, and sleeping arrangements a lot cheaper.  Plus, you’ll have some great new friends, and people to share your stories with.  You will be able to hear from Education Abroad representatives about their experiences in your locations.  Before you leave, you’ll be filled to the brim with excitement.


All in all, going abroad is a cluster of emotions.  It can be hard to get some of those emotions out and across to others.  However, UK’s Pre-Departure sessions are key to a successful time abroad.  Providing helpful resources and documents, reassuring your peace of mind, and allowing for connections you will be ready for your time abroad.  The world may be a crazy place, but you shouldn’t be scared.  You should embrace it.  Attending a Pre-Departure session will help you with your successful transition to your host country.

Connor Bechtol studies Management and Marketing at the University of Kentucky, and he just returned from studying for the full academic year at Oxford Brookes University.