Challenges of Studying Abroad and How to Overcome Them
Studying abroad can be an exciting time in the life of a student. You can move to a new country and learn new skills and make friends for life. You may be encouraged to seek new adventures and extend your boundaries.
Although there are many great benefits for studying abroad it does come with its challenges. Therefore, as a student abroad, you will have some difficult times.
In this article, we will be discussing Some challenges of studying abroad and how to overcome them.
It can be very difficult to move to a new place, especially if you relocate some place very far from home and your loved ones. Starting a new life abroad will cause you a little headache and trouble. Adapting to a new country in a new culture can make you doubt your decision.
For instance approximately 300,000 international students are enrolled in various Australian universities. Australia is well known for its high quality education. So undoubtedly, the number of international students keeps increasing every year. Yet, most of these students STILL face many challenges when they come into Australia for the first time. Some have trouble adapting to the culture, others have trouble connecting with people.
As you may know, the best way to mitigate potential problems is to feel prepared to face those problems; a road bump here and there does not have to derail you from your overall time abroad. Therefore, we have put together some of the barriers a student faces when they want to Study abroad AND their solutions
Barriers to Study Abroad
Many think that going abroad will be as quiet as other types of travel: enjoy, eat and have fun. But studying abroad is not a vacation. It is real life. The cost of dining at the restaurant will eventually add up, late nights will lengthen your sleep during class and the overall pace can make you run away in ruins. Even if you do well, you will find the study abroad ups and downs that affect you, day in and day out – sometimes exacerbating.
Here is a list of what to expect.
- The Language Barrier
The main problem abroad is the language barrier. Living in a country where nobody speaks your language can be very isolating.
Communication barriers are a fact of living abroad and making sense of the lifestyle of foreigners. This means that many students studying abroad may feel lonely and homesick
You can let it stress you or you can see it as a learning opportunity.
2. Cultural Differences
In addition to the language barrier, there will also be difficulties in culture. Each country has its own culture and you may find it difficult to integrate. This can be especially difficult when you live with roommates. The behavior of your roommates may seem strange and bad, but in your new home, these behaviors are quite normal.
You suddenly look and feel very lonely. You are surrounded by other people and your appearance, your fashion, your inability to communicate in the language of the country or your general presence are of course … different. Never before have you felt so uncomfortable or disconnected.
3. Finances–Running low on cash
Despite all your efforts to plan, budget and track your spending throughout the semester, there might this one weekend you may have spent too much. Nobody can blame you for managing your double-digit bank account.
Like all students, from time to time you will have difficulty controlling your finances. If you live abroad, it can be harder to reconcile your living expenses and your study expenses. Concerns about your finances can slow you down and make you feel alone or stressed out.
4. Academic Difficulties
Honestly, you can have trouble when it comes to starting classes at your new college or university. The language barrier only can contribute to this challenge, because you may be taking your courses in a language you don’t even understand the first word.
We have already mentioned homesickness, but for many students abroad this can be a real problem. You live thousands of miles away from your friends and family, making you feel isolated. Universities around the world are faced with students’ problems with homesickness, which shows how widespread the problem is.
But then, It is perfectly healthy and normal to feel homesick, just do not let it become a crippling part of your experience abroad. Your support networks are still there!
5. Time zone annoyances
Trying to navigate two time zones on opposite ends of the world can be really frustrating. You need to constantly check what time is appropriate for each time zone and make a habit of calling early in the morning or late in the evening.
Getting used to currency differences
Getting used to currency differences is also a difficult process. For example, in Costa Rica, you need to remember that 500 Costa Rican colones is equal to one dollar. And in continental Europe, you will have to remember that anything that costs €1 actually costs $ 1.40.
As with most foreign learning challenges, currency differences are some of the things that do not really hurt you if you only stay for a short time, but have a big impact if you stay at least one semester or more.
6. Wanting to stay forever
You have fallen in love with this new place-You love everything about it – the sights, sounds, smells, energy. More importantly, you love the YOU that lives here. You feel more self-confident and self-assured than ever, fearing the idea of returning home. Like the saying goes every good thing surely comes to an end.
Solutions to study abroad challenges
How to Handle the Language Barrier during Your Study Abroad
The best thing to do is practicing more before the start of your studies. Also, do not be afraid to ask the locals to re-pronounce the words. They are usually eager to help you. ”
We also recommend using some online tools that can be helpful in overcoming the language barrier. Duolingo offers a very useful language learning program, while SpellCheck, JSpell and Reverso or similar programs help you translate sentences or check for grammatical errors.
How to Handle Cultural Differences studying Abroad
Make an effort to be familiar with local cultural norms and terminology. If you do not speak the mother tongue of the host country fluently, have a translation dictionary created or fill your smartphone with foreign language applications. Make friends and ask for tips and advice on how to be more authentic with strangers.
Ultimately, you should not allow the fear of offending or speaking incorrectly keep you from interacting healthily within the host culture. You will learn over time, and if you are patient with yourself.
How to Handle Finance Challenges studying abroad
“There are a few ways to make sure you bring enough money while you’re away,” says Best British Essays author Fiona Morrison. “Take advantage of all the options available to you.” Here are some that you can try for yourself if you need money:
- Look for scholarships that will help you. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities open to international students studying abroad
- Depending on the laws in your study abroad country, you may be able to work part-time. Try to find a job that you can integrate into your studies.
- Cook all your meals instead of buying takeaway food.
- Save up cash for emergencies, as you’ll be glad you did when an unexpected bill comes in.
How to Deal with your Academic Difficulties
Balancing your time can be a great help to you. Do not let your social relationships take all of your time. Remember that you do well at school, especially if you have goals in life
Also, nothing can beat a person who is prepared. Organizing your timetable and creating a to-do list can be a great help for the success of your schoolwork.
The to-do list can also avoid getting stuck if you have a list of projects/schoolwork that you need to do first. It will also help you to be less stressed when you have a lot to do.
How to Deal With Homesickness While Studying Abroad
There are several ways to calm the loud voices in your head reminding you how far you are from home. You can engage in new interests, new clubs or new adventures in your study abroad destination, you can ask your friends/family /counselors for advice.
You can find a taste of home by introducing yourself to the local Starbucks Café. Most persons can practice yoga, meditation, journaling, or another self-knowledge activity. Find other parts of yourself that have been kept unknown.
The important thing is that you do not spend hours on Facebook and your other favorite social networking sites. This would be counterproductive and actually feeds your feelings of homesickness, rather than eradicating them.
How to Deal with Currency Difference
Make sure that you 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, that is. Ask the locals how much they expect you to pay. Do not spend the euro like dollars or the dollars like naira/rand/cfa!
This might seem like an intimidating list, but don’t worry! It sounds significantly harder than it actually is. The phrase “having failed your way to success” comes to mind. I think all people who have studied abroad can relate to that statement. From university applications to finding a place to stay and identifying the social norms, we have all been unsuccessful in some if not all of these respects. But when you push through the challenges, everything will work out.