How to Decide Guide 2015

If you're having trouble making a decision about whether study abroad is right for you, you might want to download our handy 'How to Decide' Guide 2015

The guide is designed for all undergraduate students who intend to spend, or are considering spending, some time abroad as part of their degree programme. The information is intended as a brief guide to get you thinking about your time away, and to direct you to further resources on this site.


Phone SA

Communicating with home on your year abroad is an extremely important thing to consider before you depart. You need to make sure that you will be able to keep in touch with people you love, as well as ensuring that you can keep on top of emails from UCL.

UCL Email Address

All correspondence from the Study Abroad team will only be via your UCL email address. It is important that you regularly log-in to your account to keep it active. Accounts that are left dormant for too long are frozen and passwords will only be re-issued over the phone if you have already registered for UCL MyAccount. If you have not already done so, make sure you get this done as soon as you can. Otherwise, if you need to re-activate your account, please contact the IS helpdesk on +44 20 7679 5000.

Address details

You are expected to keep your contact details abroad up to date via Portico. If you are unsure of how to do this, please log into Portico to access self-help guides or contact Portico Services for assistance. 

Mobile phones

Most of you going abroad will already have a mobile phone in the UK, and will probably want to have access to one abroad. Getting phone overseas can sometimes be complicated, so it well worth thinking about before you go. Rather than suggest a one-size-fits-all solution this conundrum, we have come up with a few things you can look into before you go abroad.

  • Does your phone work overseas? How much will it cost?
  • Do you want mobile internet or will a cheap text and call plan be enough?
  • Are you on a contract here? Will you have to pay that while you're away? 

Once you've considered all of the above, try and research the phone plans available in your host country. You may not be able to get a phone sorted before you go, but at least you'll be armed with some information when you go into the shop!


VOIP services such as Skype offer a video and voice messaging service over the internet, which can be great for international calls. It's wise to set up the connection and add friends and family before you go, rather than trying to get their details once you're away. You may also wish to give those who are less technically-minded (grandpa, we're looking at you!) a quick lesson if you think they need it.

Useful apps

If you have a smartphone, take advantage of the huge range of apps available and get a few on your phone which will help you out abroad. Our top three are:

WhatsApp Messenger - this app lets you can send free text and media messages over WiFi or mobile internet iphone android
Wordreference -  a mini version of the community-built online dictionary and translation resource. iphone android
Fieldtrip - find the local hidden cultural and culinary hotspots with this clever little app - it'll tell you what's closest to you based on your location. iphone android

Page last modified on 04 dec 15 14:00