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There’s no denying the appeal of studying abroad. Moving to a new country, learning new skills, going on new adventures and making new friends is a truly exciting concept. It may mean taking a step outside of your comfort zone but it’ll be worth it for the benefits that you’ll get.
Although, moving abroad to study has ample advantages it also comes with its difficulties and there will be ups and downs.
So that you’re completely prepared for what you might face when embarking on a study abroad programme, here we look at the challenges that you might face and how to overcome them.
It’s highly likely that when you join a study abroad programme you’ll be moving to a country that speaks a different language. This can often be one of the biggest challenges as living in a country where nobody speaks your language can be very isolating.
Communication barriers are just a fact of life when living abroad and there’s no need to let it stress you out, take it as a learning opportunity and begin learning a new language or find different ways to communicate.
Sometimes it can be hard to adjust to currency changes, for example, £1 is the equivalent to ¥9.11 in China and money changes like this can often be confusing at first. You will spend a lot of time working out the exchange rate of what you are purchasing and comparing everything to what it would cost back home. This is only natural and the trick is to develop a fast conversion system for yourself so that you mentally determine the prices of goods when you want to buy anything and know the “normal” price for the essentials.
Something that can affect people more than they expect is homesickness. The initial excitement of your new adventure can often disguise this but once you are thousands of miles away from family and friends it can kick in.
It’s important to know that you won’t be the only one feeling like this as it’s something that many students abroad experience so it’s very likely that there will be a support network in place.
The key is to keep yourself busy and not let yourself succumb to the feelings of loneliness. Find new interests, engage with new people, explore your new destination and take on new adventures to distract yourself.
Every country has its own culture and depending on where you study the culture can significantly vary to that of your home country. It might be strange and unsettling at first but it’s important to embrace the new culture and try to integrate.
The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself and disconnect from your new surroundings, make an effort to become accustomed to the local cultural norms and soon it will all be familiar.
It’s not uncommon to pick up a bug or get the flu when you’re travelling long distances, living in an unfamiliar environment and eating new foods. When you’re a long way from home without any family or friend this can be daunting but don’t panic. In every country, there are many medical centres with good specialists but it’s vital to have good international healthcare insurance.
In almost every university there are departments specifically for international students so if you find yourself struggling with any of the above there will be dedicated personnel that can give you help and advice. Don’t let these challenges hold you back, studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity that will teach you a lot.
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