It may be fascinating to study abroad, but many challenges await you when you finally reach your destination. This list is not meant to deter you from your path though, but to help you prepare to overcome these challenges!
Studying abroad is a life-changing event. In this article, we will shed light on the challenges of studying abroad. It is far from being a walk in the park, so make sure you are willing to take on such opportunities to pursue education in a different country. Growing personally and professionally requires you to go out of your comfort zone, like a bird whose purpose is not to remain in the safety of its nest but to fly to other destinations.
Challenges of studying abroad
Here are some common challenges of studying abroad:
1. Feeling left out
When you go out to study in a new place and country, the culture, food, language, time zone, and everything else change, and we often need time to adapt to new surroundings and routines. So you may feel like a fish out of water in your new surroundings, with many new faces and places, it is easy to feel anxious and lost.
Generally, you should give yourself time to adjust to your situation. It is a new beginning, and it will take time. At the same time, you should be receptive and respectful of this new community and its norms and culture. Talk with the people from your home country who have adjusted to this new society to help ease your way into it.
2. Finding work and handling pressure
As an international student, you have to manage your own expenses, which will be difficult because you will be on a strict budget. This is where part-time jobs come in. However, finding work while studying has its own set of challenges.
If you have never worked while studying before, you might find it challenging to juggle these two things while living in a foreign place. There is a huge pressure in doing your work and making sure you are on top of your studies at the same time. Keep this in mind as you decide how to handle your finances abroad.
3. Adjusting to currency differences
When handling finances, it can be difficult to manage expenses when using your host country’s currency. The change in currency also changes the value of items. For example, in the context of India and Canada – the value of 50 INR is different from 50 CAD.
With time you will understand this currency difference and will be adept in currency conversions, but initially, it will be challenging to manage your finances using a different currency.
4. Homesickness and being far from your social connections and network
Naturally, you make connections with people in your home country. Your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are your support system. When you go to a foreign country, you will have to start building this network from scratch. It will take time, but you will eventually have another support system as you navigate through your studies abroad.
Another challenge when studying abroad is homesickness. It is natural to miss the place where you grew up and made friends and met your role models in life. It is easy to lose motivation when you are missing home, but just remember that your loved ones will always be there to support you wherever you are. Think of studying abroad as an opportunity to have your home away from home where you can build new friendships and meet other inspiring people.
5. Adapting to new norms and culture
When you’re in a foreign country, you are expected to adapt to its culture and traditions. It is natural to misunderstand some of the nuances of the new society’s norms, especially when they differ vastly from what you were used to back home.
Besides reading up on your host country’s culture and traditions, observing your peers and talking with them about their customs can help you adapt and avoid misunderstandings or unintentionally offending the locals.
Studying abroad as an international student is a big challenge that is equally rewarding. If you can overcome these challenges and face them head-on, then you are on your way to making your academic dreams a reality.