Studying abroad can be a great experience, but it’s not easy. Here are some tips to make your study abroad experience a little easier.
The Culture Shock
One of the difficulties you may experience studying abroad might come as a result of cultural shock. A sudden shift in culture started with food, style of dress, transport systems, and even rituals. This may be very different from those in your home country. Things like this may lead to anxiety, depression, frustration, and homesickness. Once you aren’t prepared to cope or live with these differences, it can lead to a reasonable amount of stress and can affect your productivity in your day-to-day activity.
You may ask what are the signs that you’ve got a cultural shock. It is often said that to deal with a problem you must first identify the problem. Well, these are some symptoms that show that you may have cultural shock;
- You withdraw and spend an enormous amount of time alone. You also avoid contact with locals.
- You then tend to develop feelings that are negative about the culture and people of the country that’s hosting you.
- You feel uncomfortable, angry, frustrated, confused, and irritated. You also lose your sense of humor.
- You are easily bored and unable to concentrate on your work.
- You eat and drink obsessively or you most times need an enormous amount of sleep.
To overcome cultural shock you have to realize that adjusting will take time. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Keep an open mind and try to focus on the positives. Accept that you may be homesick and put to mind your academic expectations. Get to know a couple of students and find ways to relieve stress.
You should also learn about the culture of the people, what they mostly eat, what they wear and other important things in whatever country you go to study in. If the medium of instruction is not your language, take time to learn their language. This will be of great importance and will help you to settle well quickly.
The Language Barrier
Studying abroad, especially in a country where their language is different from your native language is really difficult. Communication is very important in our everyday life. We interact or communicate every day. So how can you overcome the language barrier when you study abroad? Well, you’ll have to;
- Use plain language. Be direct. Don’t try to use an esoteric vocabulary
- Find a reliable and trusted translation service. You should also be cautious when finding a translation service. Make sure they have reliable.
- You can get an interpreter.
- Try and also use visual methods of communication. Where words fail visuals won’t. It is much easier to explain complicated concepts using pictures or diagrams.
- Use repetition. People tend to hear something more than once to know what you are saying or to get an idea of what you may mean.
- Also, try to be as respectful as you can be. Talk slower and calmer and also learn to listen and understand.
The Financial Difficulties
Studying abroad comes with its own problems, especially in the area of finance. Students may face monetary problems at some point or other. Considering the cost incurred while studying abroad, students also have to cover other expenses such as tuition fees, accommodation costs, books, cost of traveling, living expenses, and a lot more. It might also be necessary for the student to purchase a personal computer or a laptop which will help in the student’s studies. All this costs money.
To handle financial problems when studying abroad, firstly understand the fees of the host country. From the fees to when you use a debit card in the country to when you use an international ATM. To be on the safer side try to find credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to avoid extra costs.
Also, try to create a budget even as you study abroad. Having a budget for each day, each week, etc will help to prevent you from unnecessary spending. This will help you differentiate which expenses are priorities and which ones are for fun and leisure.
Spending like the locals in the host country will also help to reduce any financial difficulty you may face. Be friends with a few locals and get familiar with some of the cheapest restaurants, shops, groceries stores, etc as this will reduce costs for you.
Another important factor is to know the exchange rates. Although rates do fluctuate but have some knowledge about it.
The Relationship Problems
Interacting with people who don’t speak the same language as you do can be quite challenging. Thereby building relationships may be difficult.
Find out what the interest of locals of your host country like to do and develop a bit of interest in it. They’ll be tempted to teach you as they will be interested that a foreigner wants to know about their culture.
Also, try to keep in touch with family and friends at home so you don’t feel so lonely all alone.