From collaborating with reputable professors and meeting new friends to improving language skills and learning about new cultures, there are so many benefits that come along with studying abroad.
However, studying abroad also comes with a set of drawbacks that may affect an international student's overall experience. Some of these include homesickness, financial issues and language or culture barriers, all of which can have a great impact on a student's focus and lead to what is commonly known as a mental block.
Generally, a mental block is defined as a psychological obstacle that prevents a person from completing an important task, in this case, to study. It can be caused due to many reasons, some of which include feeling tired or stressed.
Fortunately, there are several practices that will teach you how to get over a mental block in studying when abroad. Here is a brief explanation of five of these.
Create a suitable environment for studying
Probably the first step you should take to overcome mental blocks is to create a suitable environment for studying. If you feel like your dormitory isn't the ideal place to do that, you should consider going to the library.
The truth is the libraries are extremely quiet spaces with limited distractions. They include desks with study lamps that will allow you to focus better on the material you are reading or working on.
Plus, libraries are based around academia so you will also have easier access to books and online materials in case you need help with your studies.
Find an effective study method
Although every student studies differently, there are various excellent study methods you can try out to help you maintain your focus.
For example, making notecards is an excellent method if you need help with memorizing words, terms and concepts. All you have to do is write the vocabulary or academic term on one side of the card and its explanation or definition on the other.
Another effective study method you should try is creating an outline. This technique helps with mapping out bigger concepts that include small details. It is an excellent strategy if you are more of a visual learner.
Stick to a study schedule
Another strategy you should try out to help you improve your concentration levels when studying is to stick to a consistent study schedule. This will turn study time into a habit, making it seem like it is part of your everyday routine so you will have to follow through.
Start by considering if your energy levels are the highest during the day or at nighttime and create your study schedule around that time. For example, for most students, studying in the morning is the best because the brain is reenergized by a good night's sleep, and the natural light is comforting for the eyes.
Find a study group
Studying alone, especially in the run-up to an exam session, can be very overwhelming and isolating. Therefore, if you really want to make sure you are well-prepared for the test, you might want to consider seeking support from fellow classmates to stay focused and push through the tougher periods.
When creating your study group, be sure to limit the group to a maximum of four to six students who have better subject knowledge and aren't your friends. This way you will take advantage of the opportunity to meet new friends while minimizing socialization and staying dedicated to completing your schoolwork.
It is well known that exercising on a regular basis benefits your overall wellbeing, but not many realize that it can also help you improve your concentration levels. According to research, exercising at least thirty minutes a day can improve your focus for up to several hours by increasing blood flow to the brain. This will additionally improve your mood and sleep while reducing stress and anxiety, all of which can enhance your cognitive function.
So, don't forget to schedule downtime and explore the surroundings of your new hometown in between studying sessions to stay focused and motivated.
It is no secret that studying abroad is a great experience for students. However, living in a new country and exploring new cultures can take its toll on people and actually have a negative impact on their focus and overall studying abilities.
Therefore, it is important that you look for effective strategies that will help you overcome such mental blocks, minimize the stress of studying and keep you focused on what matters.
If you aren't sure how to do this, borrow some of our tips and make studying easy and fun.