Studying abroad is an exciting time in any student's life. You can head to a brand new country, and start picking up new skills and making friends for life. There's no better time to go than while you're studying. As a student abroad though, you are going to face some difficulties. Here's the challenges you'll face as a student abroad, and how you can tackle them.
The Language Barrier
The biggest issue you'll encounter while you're abroad is the language barrier. It can feel very isolating to be living in a country where no one speaks your language. That means many students studying abroad can find themselves feeling as though they're on their own, and start feeling homesick too.
The way to combat this is to throw yourself into learning the new language. Our post on communication will help you make a start on communicating with others at college or university.As well as this, you can find a lot of help online. State Of Writing and Best Australian Writers are both excellent language learning tools you can use, to help you get to grips with the language of your new home.
As well as the language, there's going to be difficulties when it comes to culture. Every country has their own culture, and you may be finding it difficult to fit in. This can be especially difficult if you're living with roommates. The behaviour of your roommates may seem strange and wrong to you, but in your new home these behaviours are totally normal.
The best way to deal with this is to research the cultural differences that will relate to you, before you move to your new country. This way, you can be prepared for what's going to happen when you move. Don't be afraid to ask for help from friends in your new home too, as they'll often be willing to help.
Of course, you may run into difficulties when you start classes at your new college or university. The language barrier will contribute to this, as of course you'll be taking classes in a second language. The layout of your classes and the way they're taught can also create issues for you as a student.
If you want to give yourself a leg up in school, the best way to do so is to be prepared. Look into using study writing tools when you're writing your assignments, such as Via Writing and Revieweal. As well as this, we have information on how you can use writing to help you communicate with others, which will help in class.
We mentioned homesickness earlier, but it can become a real problem for many students abroad. You're living thousands of miles away from your friends and family, and that makes it easy for you to feel isolated. Colleges all over the world see issues with students and homesickness, which shows how widespread a problem it is.
The key to dealing with this problem is in technology. Before you move away, set up a video conferencing tool like Skype with your family. You can use this for free, and it means you can use video chat to stay in touch, no matter where you both are. Also, take advantage of social media. It can help you stay in touch easily, and stay up to date with what's happening back home.
Like all students, you'll find it hard to stay on top of your finances from time to time. When you're living abroad, it can be harder as you're juggling your living expenses on top of study expenses. Worries about your finances can really drag you down, and make you feel alone or stressed.
"There are a few ways of making sure you're bringing in enough cash while you're away from home" says author Fiona Morrison from Best British Essays. "Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you." Here's a few you can try out yourself if you need cash:
- Look for scholarships that will help you out. There's plenty out there that you can take advantage of, search around online and you'll find plenty to apply for.
- Depending on the laws in your new country, you may be able to work part time. Try and find a job you can fit in around your studies.
- Cook all of your meals, instead of buying takeaway meals.
- Save up cash for emergencies, as you'll be glad you did when an unexpected bill comes in.
There are a fair few things that can impact you as a student, if you're studying abroad. If you follow the advice on this page, you can alleviate these problems for yourself. Preparation is key, so look into preparing yourself for these issues before you move away for your studies.