Studying abroad has several benefits but it is not always all fun and frolic as the academic journey has many challenges. Let us take a look at the main challenges that students have to cope with and address one by one.
Studying abroad can be hard at times as it is not a vacation and put to test the personality traits and skills of students and also teach many valuable lessons that will stand in good stead for the future. Knowing the challenges of students abroad and ways to deal with them can make the journey successful.
One main challenge for most international students is the language issue. The guest country may be having a different language or even if it is the same language as the student, sometimes the local accent will be hard to understand. According to students who have faced such situations, the best thing is to go for the advanced practice of the language before the studies start.
Another way is to immerse well in the local culture and take the help of local people to pronounce hard words and pick up the tongue faster as most locals are very supportive. There are also online tools like Duolingo useful in language learning and Reverso helps to translate sentences.
At the core of living abroad, staying within the limits of the student income is very important. That means partying and dining out will not fit with a budgeted life. Managing money is a big issue during living abroad for a student. This awareness about the foreign exchange rate of the local currency Vis a vis home currency and US dollar is important in controlling overspending. The spending must be within the daily, monthly limits and control expenses. Managing money also involves keeping a surplus to handle any emergency. Currency conversion apps such as XE Currency, Oanda can help to compare prices and purchases can be managed within the budget’s limit.
For many international students, assignments writings to the expected standards by the university can be cumbersome. This can be solved with practise and help from research writing services. The latter can provide assignment writing as well as free samples to throw more light on the nuances of formatting dissertations and assignments.
As mentioned earlier, the transition to the new academic modes and expectations differ concerning assignments, tasks, deadlines, homework, citations, paper format, workload, and all communication. This has the potential to inhibit the performance of International students who face problems to expand the volume of work and adjust to the new academic format. It takes time to feel comfortable on the dos and dont’s of the new system.
When studying abroad many distractions are likely to put pressure on the student. Instead of staying put in a lecture hall, the temptation will mount to skip class and hang around in the city checking out new places. Staying motivated to get the best return from the money invested is a big responsibility for the student. The fact that all examinations post the first semester will be tough and attending classes diligently is very essential to crack exams and avoid grade- crashing and losing scholarship funds must be a constant red alert.
In addition to language and local currency, adjusting to the local culture can be a challenge. For example, a firm handshake might be a sign of friendliness in one city while it may be offensive in another country. The solution is; be a good observer of local customs and get involved and expand interaction with people.
Culture shock can make a person feel like an outsider. In classrooms and campus to culture shock can happen; the professor may have a different method of teaching and the modes of sharing information can be different. The assignments have to be written in a different language. But it is very important on the part of students not to overindulge in imaginary fears and not get overwhelmed by the process of adjusting to a new situation. Be proactive and welcome change as a learning opportunity and turn it into an advantage.
Expand communications with others and do not worry about being judged. Be open to make new friends and show curiosity to learn about their culture. The company of like-minded people will make the adjustment process easier in the new setting.
Living abroad can be thrilling as long as things are going well. But when a problem crops up there will be loneliness and longing for family and friends will be a reality. The homesickness or nostalgia may persist in the first few months. That feeling will diminish when focus intensifies on studies and career aspirations until a new “social circle” is formed and the unknown city also becomes increasingly familiar. Many international students attest that after a year it will be easier than in the beginning.
Getting sick in a new environment is not unusual. Bouts of flu are not ruled out. There will be medical centres and specialist services to support. But a health insurance cover is recommended so that the mind can be free of tensions. Most departments for international students have to advise on the choice of healthcare provider and assist in registering with a local health system.
Despite many challenges, studying abroad brings benefits that outweigh all challenges. The career mobility, earnings, financial cushion, skills and multicultural exposure do dwarf the struggle waged on the foreign campus. Staying determined and showing patience can confront any challenge and hard work ensures a better future.
By adopting a problem-solving approach, the challenges before international students can be made less complex and avoid the risk of casting strain on personal lives and academic performance. Many campuses have in house counsellors to assist domestic as well as international students in solving their adaptation problems.
Apart from in-person counselling free apps like Expert Self Care (ESC) Student also help stressed students. There is the empathy that international students have the burden of learning new cultural rules before they achieve a secure sense of self. But then change is always double-faced—it scares before throwing in the excitement.