Studying abroad and taking a gap year are two of the most rewarding experiences available to college students. Though both opportunities differ in some significant ways, they’re considered extraordinary chances to broaden your horizons and gain valuable academic, professional or personal experience.
But if you’re like most students, you may be wondering what happens to your belongings while you’re away from campus. Will you need to ship your items to your destination, back home or pay to keep them in your dorm for a semester? To answer these questions, we’ve created this guide that provides general study abroad/gap year tips as well as details on college storage and student shipping options, like year-round storage offered by Collegeboxes. Here’s how it all works!
What is Study Abroad?
Studying abroad is when a student lives in a different country while attending college. It’s usually coordinated by the student’s college through a study abroad program. According to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, more than 300,000 American students participate in study abroad programs annually. Students typically live abroad for a semester or an academic year and stay in either furnished dorms or with a host family.
Is Studying Abroad Worth It?
This depends on your goals, but generally, yes. Students cite the desire to travel and experience a new culture as primary reasons for studying abroad. Others apply for a study abroad program specifically to learn a new language or participate in a hands-on learning program. Most study abroad programs are designed to enhance the typical college education with unique experiences exclusive to that program.
What is a Gap Year?
Unlike studying abroad, a gap year isn’t a part of a college education. Taking a gap year involves delaying your undergraduate education to travel, work or volunteer to obtain personal or professional growth. Most gap years occur before your undergrad career begins, but students may also take a gap year during their undergrad or before beginning a graduate program. Gap years are often coordinated through the college even though they are not technically part of the curriculum.
College Gap Year & Study Abroad Tips
No matter which opportunity you choose, it’s crucial to plan and ensure your gap year or time spent abroad is both productive and meaningful. Here are six general tips for taking a gap year or studying abroad:
- Start Planning as Soon as Possible – As soon as you’re sure you want to take a gap or study abroad, start looking at study abroad programs and various gap year opportunities. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the better prepared you’ll be.
- Set Goals for Yourself Ahead of Time – Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish during your time away so you can use your time wisely. Is professional experience, cultural learnings or travel more important? This will help narrow your focus.
- Make Note of Places You Want to Visit – For many students, studying abroad for a semester or traveling for a gap year is a one-in-a-lifetime occasion. Take time to see the sights and take in your surroundings – you might never be back!
- Journal or Document Your Experiences – With that being said, be sure to document your experiences by taking photos or videos, or by keeping a detailed journal. Remember this is supposed to be a learning experience for you to draw from later.
- Look into Financial Aid at Your College – Not all students know that you can get financial aid from your college to study abroad. You can also coordinate with your school’s admin on deferring housing or aid during a gap year. Be sure to use all resources available to you.
- Save, Save, Save – Even if you’re able to receive financial aid, do yourself a favor and save as much money as you can prior to your gap year or study abroad program. You’ll be happy to have the extra spending money or an emergency cash fund (if necessary).
Year-Round College Storage: How it Works
Year-round college storage is one of the most convenient options for students taking a gap year or enjoying a semester abroad who also need dorm room storage. By allowing Collegeboxes to do the heavy lifting, you can focus on bigger picture tasks like academic advisement, passport acquisition, program application, travel planning, packing and more.
How it works is simple:
- Sign up for Collegeboxes on collegeboxes.com and select summer storage
- We ship a Supply Kit to your dorm room or university housing, you pack your belongings
- We pick up your belongings and transport them to a nearby storage facility
- Your items remain in a secure, climate-controlled storage room
- We deliver your items to your new dorm room when you return to college
Keep in mind that year-round storage isn’t the only way to manage your dorm room belongings when you sign up for Collegeboxes. International shipping services and local storage are available to students who need a combination of services. For example, you can have your dorm room furniture stored locally, but opt to have your clothing, bedding and school supplies shipped overseas to your destination. Everything will be shipped back to your school when you return.
Benefits of Year-Round Storage and Shipping With Collegeboxes
There are many reasons students choose Collegeboxes for their study abroad and gap year needs. Nothing else gives students the combination of convenience, versatility and peace of mind like college storage and shipping with Collegeboxes.
How year-round storage & shipping will benefit you:
- Convenience – All you need to do is sign up, schedule a pick-up and delivery date and pack; our expert college movers will do the rest. This is a convenient solution for college students and their families, especially as they prepare for a gap year or study abroad program.
- Versatile – Are there items you want shipped home or to your destination and others you want placed in storage? Collegeboxes can make that happen. Our services include domestic and international student shipping services so your belongings are sent where you need them.
- Security – Your belongings are stored at a secure storage location so you can rest assured your mini fridge, bicycle and summer wardrobe are safe and secure. Collegeboxes has access to U-Haul’s network of self-storage facilities, so you share the benefit of industry-leading security.
Enhance Your Semester Abroad or Gap Year With Collegeboxes
Don’t allow the challenges of college moving or storage take away from your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel and study abroad or take a gap year to enhance your professional and personal skills. Sign up for Collegeboxes today to receive convenient and customized study abroad storage and shipping services from the college moving experts.