Students enrolling in colleges overseas will find the experience frustrating, challenging but also exciting. When going to a country with a very different culture, students have to try to adjust to their surroundings. While the experience is definitely not easy, it can be a lot of fun. Knowing what to expect before travelling to another country is the best way to make things easier. Given below are a few challenges that students commonly face when they study abroad:
All students will initially feel like an outsider when they go to a new country. They find it difficult to understand the local norms and culture, the language and food. While most countries are quite welcoming, the experience can be trying as you try to come to grips with your new surroundings. However, this problem will eventually seem smaller as you adjust to the new environment and find the locals to be friendly and encouraging.
The culture in every country is different. In fact, the cultures within the same country tend to be quite different. For students, it is important to understand and accept this fact. From minor cultural differences like accepted dressing and communications to larger issues, students in a new country will take a little time to fully understand the extent of cultural differences. The best way to deal with this problem is to read a little about the culture of the country you will be visiting and talking to other international students about their experience.
Every country has different food. The food items served in the college cafeteria in a new country might be very different from what international students are used to eating back home. Initially, there might be a few adjustments required and you may even face physical issues as your body tries to adjust to the new ingredients and taste. However, with time you may easily get used to the new cuisine. Students can also try to find ingredients from their country in specialty grocery stores and supermarkets and try to cook at home.
Language is perhaps one of the most common challenges that all students studying abroad face. Learning a new language takes time but once you are well-immersed, the problem will go away very quickly. English is spoken in most countries today so it should not be too difficult for students to communicate with others. However, it is also important for students to persevere and try to learn the language normally spoken in the new country.
Studying abroad can be a very enjoyable experience. However, being away from friends and family can take its toll over time. The best way to deal with this problem is by building a new support network in your new environment. Make new friends, talk to your classmates, join clubs at the university and do everything you can to build meaningful relationships.
Students from Asian countries are usually accustomed to lecture based classes. Universities in western countries usually involve group discussions, seminar and interactive learning techniques that international students may not be very familiar or comfortable with. These students are usually more comfortable with passive learning and tend to take some time to adjust to self-directed, independent learning that is usually required in western classrooms.
Because of the many difficulties that students tend to face in a new learning environment, it is common to see their grades drop during the first year of university. Some students may have high academic expectations and may find their performance depressing and discouraging. It would be help if you start studying up on some of the more difficult courses in advance. Take fewer credits in the first semester to ensure you have a comfortable schedule and try to avoid going for the tough courses right in the first semester. Most important of all keep an open channel of communication with your instructors and professors.
While there are several challenges that you will normally face when studying abroad, the experience is very rewarding and enriching.