Challenges you will face when you study abroad

Challenges you will face when you study abroad

Challenges you will face when you study abroad

Have you ever dreamed of studying in a foreign country? It’s a common daydream for students, living alone, away from your family and hometown, doing everything yourself, and making your own rules. It’s a fun scenario and one that everyone wishes to find themselves in at some point. 

Some of us get lucky and get to live this dream out, only to find that there are challenges along the way that we did not anticipate. Not to downplay the happier experiences, but, sometimes living abroad, away from your family and the ease of your local life, has its issues.

Homesickness

Moving alone to a different country can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also be challenging. Being in an unfamiliar territory where you don’t know the people, speak the language, or understand the spaces around you can make you feel homesick. You will start missing your parents' nagging, annoying your siblings, and even the shop around the corner that you didn’t like going to. But don’t fret: it’s an entirely reasonable feeling to miss home when you move away from it. Don’t let yourself get too absorbed in it though, and allow yourself to try out new experiences and interact with people as much as you can to help yourself get used to the new surroundings.

Cultural shock

The most common affliction of moving abroad is the cultural shock. It’s the impact of moving out of a familiar territory and into an unfamiliar one, where you don’t understand the social roles of the people around you nor the rules of what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t. Many European countries have different ways of observing time, such as siestas in Spain. The values held by people can also be vastly different than what you’re used to, so what might have been a norm in your own environment can be considered rude or inappropriate in other places. Cultural shock can also cause loneliness, stress, and other changes in the mind and body.

Making friends

When you’re a kid, making friends is the most natural thing in the world. You can walk up to someone and start talking, and you have a friend. But when you’re an adult, there is too much fear of rejection, social awkwardness and anxiety to go out there and make yourself vulnerable. But there are ways to battle this. Just be yourself, don’t change your behavior or beliefs to fit others’ expectations, and try to mingle with people as much as you can. Eat lunch in the cafeteria and make an effort to interact with others, and be welcoming when others interact with you.

Communication

Moving to a foreign country often comes with its problems, and the biggest one that almost no one anticipates is that of communication. For some reason, you assume that everyone will understand English, or whatever language you are communicating in. Try to make sure that you memorize or write down some common and essential phrases that you will need to use frequently, and keep a language book or dictionary with you wherever you go. 

Currency differences

Some countries give student visas which allow international students to work in the country they are studying in, while others don’t. Managing your finances can be quite challenging if you don’t know the currency rates; keep track of the scales so that you know when to ask your parents or guardians to send money. Be smart about the timings; it’s best to receive the funds when the rate is at its lowest.

 

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