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Checklist for international students before leaving for winter break

winter break
Don't forget to do all these things before you leave for your winter break. Source: Shutterstock

It’s that time of year where finals are winding down and students are excitedly heading off to spend Christmas and New Year back home or off on a holiday.

If you’re not spending your winter break on campus, there are a number of things you’ll need to do before leaving campus.

It can get pretty hectic during this time of year, so here’s a handy checklist so you don’t forget anything.

Keep your space safe

Leaving an empty room or apartment behind during winter break? Make sure you’ve locked your doors and windows securely. Consider installing a padlock, if you don’t already have one, for added security.

You may have trustworthy roommates, but you never know what might happen while you’re away, which includes break-ins.

Besides locking up,  also ensure your lights, heaters, and electrical appliances are turned off or unplugged to avoid power surges and energy wastage, not to mention your bills skyrocketing while you’re away.

Store your stuff

If you live on campus or are between leases, you might be faced with the dilemma of having nowhere to keep your stuff during the break.

You don’t want to lug it all back with you – winter clothing and all – so you need to find a place to store them safely while you’re away.

You can ask a trustworthy friend if you can store your stuff in their apartment or basement, but ensure there are no valuables.

Another option is to rent a storage unit if you have nowhere else to stow your stuff.

Plan your travel

It’s a busy time of the year so you don’t want to be caught in long queues at the airport or stuck in a traffic jam on your way to your destination.

Plan your travel in advance and figure out if you need to take the bus or an Uber to get to your particular point of departure so you won’t be stuck at the last minute.

Planning early means you can also check with your friends if you can carpool or hitch a ride to the airport in advance.

Prepare your documents

Make sure you have all your documents in order, such as your signed I-20 (for US students), valid visa and passport, before you travel.

Don’t leave this until the last minute as it may be too late to renew your passport or get your I-20 signed in time for your departure. Remember, your passport must be valid for at least the next six months for you to leave the country.

For international students, please be reminded that you should also bring your passport with you as your proof of identification even if you’re travelling domestically and have a driver’s license.

Pay your bills

Don’t leave your bills unpaid over winter break or you might be coming back to late penalties. Ensure your utility, credit card and phone bills are all paid up so you can enjoy your holiday without worrying about outstanding payments.

Safe travels and happy holidays!

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