Studying abroad has been a dream for quite a number of people. The thought of getting a degree from a foreign university, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures and for some, a pathway to relocating to a new country or even escaping parental constraints. It is definitely exciting, but it is usually not an easy transition in all cases.
Here are some tips to help in your transition when moving to a new country for your studies:
- Feeling Like an Outsider:
Irrespective of where you are from or where you are going, it is nearly guaranteed that you will feel like an ‘outsider’ at least a portion of the time. You could be confused about why their jokes don’t seem funny to you, or why everyone you do not seem to connect with people and in some cases how you feel very lonely. Don’t let this discourage you. While studying abroad, you would meet many international students just like yourself. You would also meet people who are very welcoming and friendly. This eventually reduces the challenge bit by bit. You can join a local gym, a religious group, or volunteer. This exposes you to new people you get to interact with and eventually become friends with.
- Getting accustomed to currency differences:
A very important thing to do even before you go abroad for your studies is to save in Dollars. African currencies are always at a disadvantage, unstable, and getting devalued repeatedly. So, we advise that you start saving in dollars with Risevest(click to start) and use the referral code: EDWARD.. Also, when you are abroad, make a simple conversion method for yourself so that you can immediately figure out the pricing when shopping and learn the “average” price for core products — for example, ask the locals how much they would expect to spend. Pro tips: Once you get there, stop doing every conversion to your home country’s local currency – this would most likely break your heart.
- Being away from your support system:
When everything else is going well, living abroad is fantastic. But when the heavens appear to be working against you, you might feel alone. Your typical “support system” of friends and family will be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Even if you weren’t aware of their significance before, now is the time you would find out.
This is particularly likely to be felt in the first few months of studying abroad. But, if you can go out, and interact with people either classmates or locals, you’ll be able to develop a new support system, and everything will be okay in a year or so.
- Cultural Misunderstandings:
As a foreigner, you are unfamiliar with the native customs and all of the unwritten norms of the nation into which you have relocated, so you are prone to making errors and finding yourself in awkward situations. Don’t be ashamed; instead, learn from cultural misconceptions and avoid them in the future. You’ll grow to know all of these subtle unspoken agreements over time.
Observing what others do and how they do it is a simple method to prevent cultural misunderstandings. If you’re unsure, simply ask! Most people are eager to talk about their traditions and will gladly share their firsthand knowledge with you.
Devoting to a multi-year study abroad program involves various hurdles. Knowing the benefits of international education, especially when weighed against perceived disadvantages, can help prospective students make a more informed decision as to whether and where to study abroad.
Getting an education while living in a different culture provides students with an international perspective that might be helpful in a global economy. Even a brief course or semester of study abroad can provide long-term benefits to the student.
Written by Doris Ukaonu