Going to another country to live and study can be an exciting experience for many students. Not only are they able to experience living in another country, but they have a chance to meet friends from different parts of the world, and in the future, expand their career prospects. However, once they arrive in their host country, and their excitement begins to wear out, they also begin to experience the many challenges most international students face while in another country.
Facing problems abroad is normal. In fact, it is normal no matter where you are. However, there is a certain advantage to knowing what you are about to face abroad since you get to have time to prepare for them.
To prepare for them, here are some common problems international students usually face when studying abroad.
Difficulty in the language is hailed as one of the most critical problems that affect international students. In fact, according to a study among international students in Australia, international students with lower levels of English proficiency experience stress and academic difficulties more than those with higher language proficiency.
One thing one can do is choose institutions that teach English. Many countries now, even France and Spain, both countries whose medium of language is not English offer a lot of English programs to international students. Another thing you can do is to take language classes too, before you go study abroad or during the first months or years of stay there.
Managing One’s Finances
Visiting another country sounds exciting because many students, during their first weeks or months in the country, wanted to experience everything at once. For example, going to some famous places, or joining a lot of fun activities. However, it should not be the case, and students should learn how to budget their money or suffer difficulties in most of their stay abroad. There are various ways one can save money and stick to their budgets, like buying ingredients and cooking their own meals, availing transportation discounts for students, and buying second-hand books for studying.
Experiencing Culture Shock
Most students, after their excitement of studying in another country fades, begin experiencing culture shock. This includes being with people with a different language, food, norms, and types of socializing. There are many ways you can cope with it such as by keeping an open mind or focusing on the positive side of things. Remember that everyone learns on their own pacing, and adjustment differs. Do not pressure yourself, as long as you also put little by little effort into learning and adjusting to the culture, you will eventually get to the point where things will become easier.
It is normal to experience homesickness when you are in a place that is far from your family and friends unless you already have family and friends in the country where you are going. The best way to face homesickness is not by just sitting around and wallowing on it. Go out, talk to people and make new friends. However, at the same time, do also talk regularly to your family and friends back home.
Adjusting to the Country and Institution’s Learning Style
When you study in another country’s institution, aside from its academic requirements, the main thing that might bring you more difficulty is adjusting to its learning style. For example, in Ireland, the country is known for its independent learning culture. Meaning, the student is in charge of their own learning, including organizing their time to study efficiently.
One thing you can do is to research your host country’s teaching style and start preparing for it. Once you arrive in the country, however, it does not mean you won’t have any more difficulties, that is why it is important to continue practicing it.
Facing problems abroad is common, and as an international student, it is your responsibility to learn more about how you can cope with those difficulties. Learn more tips about living abroad such as adjusting to culture shock and managing your finances by checking out MSM Unify’s articles.