Studying abroad is an incredible, life-altering journey. Though it may be daunting at first, leaving your native land for an unfamiliar culture can be exhilarating! With proper planning and mindset in place, your experience abroad should be truly unforgettable. However, studying abroad does present certain unique challenges – from culture shock to language barriers, financial struggles and other considerations; being aware of them beforehand will allow you to prepare and make the most of your experience abroad. Here are seven of these obstacles awaiting your journey abroad!
1) Culture Shock
When traveling overseas for study or travel purposes, culture shock can be experienced when leaving home country and arriving in another. You may feel disoriented, uncomfortable and even questioning why you decided to study abroad. While culture shock is normal when studying abroad, being prepared and knowing what to expect may help manage its severity more efficiently. To reduce culture shock while abroad, make an effort to become acquainted with local customs before departure and take steps such as learning about its traditions beforehand.
Doing research before traveling will give you more of an understanding of the culture when you arrive, as well as helping reduce culture shock when studying abroad in the same country. Talking with other students who have studied there can provide important perspective that may make you feel less alone and isolated.
2) Language Barriers
While studying abroad can be exciting and stimulating, you may experience situations in which the native tongue is unfamiliar to you. From airport arrivals and checkout lines to ordering food or classes, communicating can often prove challenging without understanding. Therefore it is advisable to learn at least some of the local tongue before departure in order to facilitate better relationships and break through communication barriers more easily with others.
Join a language program at your host university, or find a language partner, to improve your language skills and feel more at ease during your stay abroad. Learning a few key phrases of the local tongue may go far toward making you more at ease during your travels abroad.
When studying abroad, homesickness may set in. You may miss your family, friends, daily routine, comforts of home and the sense of familiarity found at home. Some students may also experience depression as a result. Homesickness can occur at any point throughout your experience abroad and it’s only normal that you miss them at some point!
Most students experience homesickness when studying abroad and there are ways to manage it effectively. Staying connected with family and friends through social media, phone calls, emails or study abroad groups may help – staying close with those closest to you will greatly reduce homesickness.
4) Financial Struggles
Since most students study abroad on scholarships or their own money, you may encounter financial challenges during your trip abroad. Budget carefully to make sure it lasts through to its conclusion as well as factor in exchange rates between home country and host country.
You may also wish to apply for a travel credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, as this can help avoid the additional expense of each purchase you make while studying abroad. Doing this can help ease financial struggles while studying abroad.
5) Different Academic System
If you are attending university in another country, you may encounter differences in their academic system. You might experience limited class options or no elective courses to select. Furthermore, an application or admissions process might vary from what is used in your home country.
As part of your transition into studying in another academic system, a language assessment may be necessary to demonstrate proficiency. Being mindful of any challenges presented and managing expectations accordingly can help make this transition smoother.
6) Making New Friends
As you form new friendships abroad, you may feel as if they’re replacing those from back home, leaving no time for both groups of friends to remain close while making more abroad.
Making New Friends Its One way of managing this challenge is setting reasonable expectations about when and how often you can communicate with friends abroad. You could also stay actively involved with groups or organizations that connect you with new people while remaining connected with old acquaintances at home. Doing this allows you to keep in touch with old ones as well as meet new ones overseas.
7) Safety And Security
While studying abroad, you will travel to unfamiliar places, meet new people and attend events that may not take place in safe settings. Furthermore, foreign countries often have different legal systems. To stay safe during your study abroad experience and enjoy it to its fullest potential, be wary of how well-protected you may feel during this experience.
As soon as you arrive in a foreign country, it is vitally important that you become acquainted with your surroundings. Being mindful can help avoid dangerous situations; before leaving home make sure to research both the city of destination and surrounding areas to assess their safety and security situation.
Studying abroad can be a transformative experience that changes lives forever. While it can be challenging, its rewards far outweigh any difficulties. But it is crucial that students prepare themselves for what might lie ahead; culture shock, language barriers, homesickness, financial struggles, different academic systems, making new friends are among some of the challenges you will likely face when studying abroad.