The thought of studying abroad and living in another country may sound thrilling and many international students, during their first few weeks or months are usually full of expectations and believe their journey will be full of surprises and good things. However, aside from all the good stuff like meeting new friends and visiting famous places, there are also a lot of difficulties international students usually face, such as adjusting to a new teaching style, learning a new language, experiencing culture shock, homesickness, and so on.
Moreover, those difficulties are more common with first-year or new international students. To help new students adjust to their host country, here are some tips they can follow.
Join a Club or a Society
Many international students sometimes feel alienated because they are not able to make new friends easily. This may be due to the language barrier or culture gap between them and other students, both local and international. If that is the case, one of the best ways to meet new friends is by having the same shared interests and also experience. That is why, during their first year, international students should join a club or society. Having the same hobbies and interests is a good way to build bonds and relationships easier. Also, by having activities aside from studying, international students are more likely to look forward to those.
Create a Budget and Keep to It
This is crucial for many international students as it is difficult to get financial assistance away from home. While it is fine to enjoy the places and activities in another country, be sure to keep it in moderation. As an international student, the biggest mistake one can make is to exhaust their allowance during their first few months or year and then, later on, have a lot of difficulties adjusting their remaining money for the remainder of their stay abroad. Thus, it is prudent for international students to create a budget that can last them during their whole stay, and keep to it.
Ask for Help When You Need It
When you are having a hard time, do not forget to ask for help, from your friends, faculty staff, and especially from the international student support service. Although it is important to prepare and do your research before you travel abroad, as an international student, you are not expected to know everything. Also, you will get to learn that many people are willing to help and assist you.
Learn and Speak the Local Language
Even if your institution of choice offers programs in English, it is still useful to learn the local language of another country. New international students will get to learn that learning useful phrases in their host country’s local language makes it easier to communicate both inside and outside their institution. Also, it will show the people around them that they are making an effort about the culture and may earn them a level of respect.
Copy the Locals, Live Like Them
If you are worried about your finances, one thing you can practice doing is trying to live like the locals. This is more useful when you go to other countries outside Europe, where the cost of living is usually higher.
Start by buying local ingredients and learning how to cook local food by asking some of your local friends to teach you. Also, learn what local people in that county do for fun. Not only are you able to save more money, but you are also able to immerse yourself in the culture more.
Do Your Research Before Traveling Abroad
Preparing in advance may be one of the most crucial things one should do before their study abroad program. Preparation includes knowing your host country’s cost of living, what accommodations you can access, how you can access the internet, or are there mobile phone plans you can avail of. Also, if you are going to stay in another country for more than one year, it is wise to research which bank and account type is the best for an international student.
Moreover, aside from the practical stuff, research about local practices and norms you need to take note of to avoid making a cultural faux pas.
Feeling nervous about living in another country? There are many articles in MSM Unify that offer tips about living abroad, useful for both long-time and new international students. Check them out to learn more.