Studying abroad can be an amazing experience, but it is not always easy. It comes with its one challenges so you should be prepared for them. In this article, we will take a look at some of the challenges that studying abroad brings and how you can overcome them.
The Challenges of Studying Abroad
Here are some of the many challenges that come with studying abroad;
- Higher Tuition Fee
When you check up school sites abroad, you will find that almost all schools abroad charge higher fees for international students compared to domestic students. There is almost always a significant difference between fees charged to foreign students than citizens. This is one of the reasons that contribute to the high fees that international students pay when studying abroad.
From tuition, health insurance, student activities, and other things, foreign students are charged higher. This is what makes studying abroad sometimes expensive. Some people say it’s because domestic students pay tax and other national dues which domestic students don’t pay for. Others say countries abroad use the study abroad opportunity to add more money to the national income since foreign students are not entitled to education at little or no cost in their country.
- Cultural Differences
Studying abroad means you are leaving your country to study and live in a different country, with a culture, people, and way of life. One of the challenges that you may face while studying abroad is that you may experience a different culture than you are used to in your country. People will act and react in different ways, and talk and socialize differently.
This can be a challenge because what you find acceptable in your country may in fact be a taboo or illegal in another country. This happens to foreigners most times when they are not aware that some things should not be said or done but they did innocently without any offense meant. While some countries may be lenient with you if they realize that you are new, others may not care and they may prosecute or caution you for it.
This means you can transgress unintentionally or that something that you did out of goodwill may be translated as something else.
Cultural differences can also discourage you from socializing. This can happen out of the fear of not knowing the right way to act or behave.
- Limited Scholarships
Another reason why international students find studying challenging is that some schools limit federal scholarships to citizens or permanent residents of the country. Most times, there are limited seats for foreign students to apply for and win scholarships for their studies.
For instance, Carnegie Mellon University in the United States explicitly states that federal scholarships are not available to foreign students but only to citizens of the United States or permanent residents of the state. Although, they also stated that foreign students can check with their departments to know if there are any available scholarships or fellowships that they qualify for but these types of scholarships or fellowships are often limited.
This means that there are slim chances that a foreign student may get the scholarship since lots of foreign students will be trying to get it and it will be very competitive.
- High Exchange Rate
Another challenge with studying abroad is that studying abroad can be really expensive because of high exchange rates. The dollar keeps increasing and this means a higher exchange rate for students from developing or underdeveloped nations.
The same fees that are normal and affordable to a domestic student may not be the same for an international student. For instance, if the tuition for an academic year of a school is about 10,000 USD. This may be quite affordable to a citizen of the U.S. However, it will be high for a citizen of another country whose exchange rate with USD is very high.
This is why most students run away from studying abroad or take up more affordable options. Studying abroad can bring a lot of global opportunities and exposure to students but most people can’t afford it as a result of this.
- High Standard of Living
Most countries abroad have high standards of living which make things expensive for international students. As mentioned earlier, some European countries have tuition-free schools so both domestic and foreign students don’t have to pay tuition. However, they have to plan and pay for their living expenses.
For instance, Norway has tuition-free schools but the country has a high standard of living. This means students have to pay high costs for their living expenses which is almost the same as paying tuition.
From food to transportation and other miscellaneous costs, the high standard of living makes people run from studying abroad regardless of any free tuition school. Students may not be used to a high standard of living in their own countries so coming to study and live in a country with a high standard of living may just be too much for them.
How to Overcome the Challenges
- You can apply to low-tuition schools abroad. There are schools abroad that are not costly as they have low tuition even for international students. You can check online for ‘low tuition schools abroad’ and you’d be amazed at some schools abroad that don’t require you to pay so much.
- When it comes to cultural differences, you can ask before doing or saying anything that you are not sure about to avoid offending the people. You can even make friends with the people there so that you can watch and learn from them since you relate more closely.
- There will be countries whose currency is not so high when compared with yours. You can look for those schools in those countries and apply to them. For instance, the difference between Polish Zloty and Nigerian Naira is 97 NGN while it is almost equivalent to Ghanian Cedi.
- There is a study abroad scholarships available that you can apply for. Scholarships vary with intent such as need, academic excellence, and personal and professional achievements. You can apply to the ones that you have higher chances of getting which can either be a fully or partially funded scholarship.
- Apply to tuition-free schools. These types of schools are mostly found in Europe. With this, you will not have to pay for tuition. You only have to sort your living expenses and other required costs. This way, you can study abroad for less.
Tips for Studying Abroad
Here are some tips that can prove useful to you while traveling abroad;
- You should calculate your costs and plan before leaving your home country. Since you have access to the costs that you will incur in your study abroad journey. You should make plans on how you want to cover some costs or how you will manage others.
- Another tip for studying abroad is to take public transportation when commuting. Most schools have free buses or discounted bus fares for students as long as you have your identification or card. You can also get a bike for distances you can cycle to. Bikes need little maintenance so you can get this if you don’t want to spend on transportation unless you’re going on longer trips.
- Register for part-time studies so you can pay tuition per unit. Each academic year has a particular number of units that you are required to take but the tuition sums up all the units for the academic year. So you can register for some of the total units per semester so you don’t have to pay all the tuition at once.
- You should keep track or record what you spend. This will help you track how you spend your money and the unnecessary things that you should remove and cut back on. If some things can be delayed or avoided, then you should.
- Prepare a budget and stick with it. It is one thing to prepare a budget but it is another thing to stick by it. You should prepare a budget but be disciplined enough to stick with that decision no matter what. This will help you manage your money well.
- You can work while studying abroad. In most countries, there are specified hours that you are allowed to work as an international student. Find out the number of hours