To many people, getting an academic degree is one of the most important goals in life. As a student, you get to have unique experiences and create unforgettable memories. Your student days are one of a kind; you’ll never feel the same after getting a degree and moving on with your adult life.
Studying in your home country is both challenging and exciting. If, however, you decide to study abroad, your experiences will be amplified. Moving to another country to receive higher education is an opportunity like no other – make sure you don’t waste it!
That being said, international students deal with situations they wouldn’t face in their home country. Below, you’ll learn about the five most common challenges for people studying abroad. They can be difficult, but there are ways to overcome all of them. So, what are these challenges? Keep on reading to find out.
Whether you’re an undergraduate or a Ph.D. student, studying a language in your home country is nothing like using it abroad, among its native speakers. If you’re studying abroad and need to use your second language on a daily basis, you may have to deal with a language barrier. After all, speaking and listening to others in a foreign country is a whole different experience.
However, remember that nobody is perfect. At first, you’ll probably make some mistakes – and it’s not the end of the world! People in your new country will be understanding, and after some time, your language skills will improve through immersion. On the other hand, if you’re going to a foreign country to study in your native language, you’ll get used to people not speaking yours perfectly. If you want, you can take classes in the language of your new country to communicate with them even better. People will appreciate your efforts, and it can be an excellent opportunity to make new friends.
Even if you move to a neighboring country, you can be sure that the customs and traditions will be much different from those that you’re used to. After all, each nation has its own identity, and there are traditions, cultural elements, and a set of behaviors that make it so unique. If you managed to travel throughout your life before moving away to study, the shock might not be as severe. Nevertheless, adjusting to new reality and culture is quite challenging to everyone, especially if they’re moving there for a more extended period of time.
Even though the food won’t be the same, the views will be new, and people will behave differently, it’s still a great opportunity to learn exciting things and grow as a person. Moving abroad is, without a doubt, an enriching experience. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Feeling Lonely and Homesick
If you go to another country to study, you’ll have to leave your friends and family behind. You’ll no longer live a life you’ve been used to for so many years. Your loved ones will be a phone call away – so close, and yet so far.
Dealing with reality in a foreign country without your support system will be difficult at times. You may feel lonely and miss your friends, home, and all the places you left behind in your home country. Fortunately, there are ways that can help you cope with your feelings. Consider attending meetings at your new university, participating in social activities, and getting to know your new city better. Open up for new experiences, and you’ll quickly make unforgettable memories.
Let’s get real: a student’s life is not the easiest in this matter. Not everyone can afford to get a higher education because tuition fees are high. Some people also don’t want to get in substantial debt only to get a degree. Those who decide to go for it, however, often struggle financially.
As an international student, you’ll probably have enough money to cover your basic expenses and treat yourself from time to time. However, without a student grant or other sources of funds, your life will be far from comfortable. Keep in mind, though, that this situation is temporary. You’re getting a degree to have better career opportunities. If you don’t waste your time, you can end up in a great place in life.
Dealing with Stress
All of the challenges mentioned above can contribute to yet another one – stress. Add tons of assignments, tight deadlines, peer pressure, and academic expectations, and it turns out you can’t even remember when was the last time you had a chance to unwind.
If you let this situation go on for too long, you’ll burn out, and your mental health will suffer. As such, you should remember how important it is to relax. Obviously, your goal is to get your degree. Nevertheless, don’t forget to have a good time in a foreign country, make great memories, and take a step back when reality gets too overwhelming.
The Bottom Line
Moving away to study abroad is a great, enriching experience. With so many opportunities also come challenges that many students face. If you’re currently dealing with a difficult situation and you can relate to the points mentioned above, keep your head up high! Remember why you chose to study abroad in the first place, and keep your eyes on the prize.
After you get your degree, you can do with your life whatever you want: go back to your home country, stay and look for job opportunities, or move to yet another place. Your possibilities are almost endless, and all the hardships you have to endure are only temporary. Stay strong and be open to new experiences.