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The first thing Prodigy-funded students do on campus

Katie Schenk - August 04, 2016

Tablet with blank screen over papers with numbers and charts

The first few days of any graduate course will feel like a dream. Just how hard did you work to get there? How many hours did you spend on test prep? Months of worry went into applications, financing, and telling your boss that you have to go back to school.

If you’re an international student, you have even more to balance before touching down in the country that will be your home for the next year or two.

And, if think the rush and panic in the weeks leading up to your first day on campus, or in a new country was crazy… you haven’t seen anything yet. The first few days and weeks will set a dizzying precedent for what you can expect until you finally receive that degree.

What you’ll need to do after you arrive on campus

Depending on where you study, you’ll need to head over to the local authorities to register that you have arrived on the visa issued in accordance with your study. Many universities in the European Union require this, though other countries don’t have this policy.

You’ll need to find the library, the gym, the grocery store, and the best place to grab a drink with new friends. And then there is shopping to do. While you may have brought some of your stationary and educational supplies from home, you’ll still need to grab a few more. There’s also the bathmat that wasn’t supplied with your campus housing assignment and some snacks to tide you over as you rush about for the first few days.

Securing a cell phone and a data plan are essential in the modern world, but some countries make it difficult for international students to sign up without a local bank account (which should also be on your list in some countries).

Of course, you’ll also be meeting advisors, mentors, and your new classmates. There will be introductory meetings and meet-up events for all the various clubs on campus (and you really should check out a few). If you are lucky enough to be on campus for orientation, there are tours and mixers to attend.

And that’s all before considering whether you’ve remembered to check in with your family and catch a few hours of sleep.

But, the first thing every Prodigy student must do…

…is get online and head to their Prodigy loan dashboard. Until you’ve signed your loan document – which must be done on campus – your funds cannot be released. And, a long delay means you might miss out on the loan dispersal date, effectively leaving you without financing for your degree.

So, as much as you’re keen to get to a mixer or figure out how cell phone plans work in your new country, take just a few minutes to make sure nothing will stand in the way of the frantic pace you have planned over the next year.

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