Top Challenges Students Face When Studying Abroad

Students are facing challenges and struggle when they are studying in Foreign

Nothing is perfect in this world. Yes, you may get an acceptance letter from your dream university-based abroad and you get over the moon. But once the happiness subsides, you realize that the university is based abroad and away from home and this brings you back to your senses. You realize that you do not know anyone over there. You quickly google about the place and reality dawns on you that you are going to be faced with a myriad of problems settling in from cultural barrier to homesickness to other problems. However, these challenges should not hinder you but rather you should use it to your advantage to make the experience fun and exciting. Here are the top challenges students face when studying abroad.

1. Language barrier

This is the major problem that most people encounter when they go abroad. You may have studied English or Spanish for 4 years or in high school, aced all your language tests, but once you step foot into the country you realize that there is a serious difference between you and other people. This can be very frustrating to you but there are various steps you can take to help with the situation. These include;

  • In case you do not understand the language, enroll for language classes before you start up your course.
  • If you already understand the language, you should employ your language skills as much as possible. Whether it is oral or written communication, practice until you perfect it.
  • Use your smartphone to download language and translating apps such as Google translate to help you go through your day.
  • Find a podcast on something that interests you and listens to it as you go through your daily routine.



2. Cultural misunderstanding

So you are all smiles after getting admission to your dream polytechnic or institution, but instead of the Hollywood dream, you had you are greeted with culture shock. Whether it is the food, the dressing or activities and behaviors that you are not used to. Occasionally you will have some embarrassing moments and slip ups, but worry not. Instead use these opportunities as a learning experience. You can remedy this by;

  • Be flexible and have an open mind to be willing to learn new things. Most importantly, maintain a respectful attitude so that even if you make a mistake, your genuineness in not knowing and willing to learn shows and you won’t be ostracized for making a mistake.
  • If you are unsure on what to do, watch what the people around you are doing and emulate them. Also, asks questions so that you gain clarity on things.
  • Eat out more. This way, you can easily strike up a conversation with a native and learn more about their culture.
  • Watch TV films and documentaries to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture.

3. Homesickness

Just when you are about to settle in and aim at your dream career, you are hit by a bout of homesickness. Maybe it is because it is your first time away from home alone that makes you scared or the anxiety of not fitting in or the impending studies. Homesickness is a good sign that you love your family and genuinely miss them. However, how you deal with it is what will make it healthy or unhealthy. You should not just hold yourself in the room and call them or Skype with them. However, there are better ways to deal with homesickness which enables you get out more and meet new people. These include;

  • Schedule time to call your folks. Possibly face time with them during the weekends and message them during the week.
  • Join clubs and societies in your new school. You can try new activities such as hiking, mountain climbing or swimming to keep you busy.
  • Join a gym or yoga and use it to vent out your frustrations.
  • Start a diary or journal and record your activities during this time as this will increase your self-awareness.
    Treat yourself to home food by visiting a restaurant or buy the ingredients and cook for yourself at home. This way you will relive the memories

4. Managing Finances

While some people may not be lucky to land a scholarship, others are so lucky to land a scholarship with fully paid expenses including accommodation and food. Whether or not you land a scholarship, sooner or later you have to learn how to manage your finances otherwise, you will be sleeping hungry or on the streets. Since your family is far away, it may not be easy to get financial support so you have to work out a plan for yourself. You can manage your finances through various ways including;

  • Apply for available scholarships or financial aid from the school or your embassy to pay your tuition fees.
    Get a part-time job that won’t come in the way of your studies. You can look for jobs with restaurants or shops as long as you can work after school.
  • Find an apartment near the school or within the campus to cut out transportation costs. If you have to use transportation, use public means.
  • Find a roommate to help you split the house rent.
  • Cook your meals instead of eating out as it is usually expensive to eat from restaurants.
  • Do not apply for a credit card, instead, work a budget on what you earn from your part time job and what your parents send you to make sure that you live within your budget.
  • Make sure you live within the legal laws of the country to ensure you don’t use your money on paying unnecessary fines that could have been otherwise avoided.

5. Academic difficulties

Because of the difficulties associated with adjusting to a new environment with a different culture, it is not uncommon to see students’ grades dropping during their first year of college. In addition, universities follow different curricula ranging from various cities. This means that all of a sudden you are thrown into a different learning format that you were not used to backing at home. Sometimes the lecturers may not be interactive or the exam system is totally different, but worry not, you can and will have to adjust. Have a look at some of the top essay writing services that you employ to make the transition less painful. Other ways include;

  • Start studying for the courses well in advance. Make sure you read ahead of the lecturer to make sure you grasp and understand what is going on when the class is being taught.
  • Take fewer credits in the first semester so that you are not overwhelmed. Develop a comfortable schedule first, then add other class, later on, to ensure you keep up with the class. You can also take extra units during the holidays once you are comfortable.
  • Keep an open communication channel with the professor. You will be surprised that they are willing to help you during the transition process.
  • Develop study groups with your classmates.
  • Even though the transitioning period is difficult, you will be surprised at how fun and enriching the experience is once you have settled down. Remember, everything in life is a learning opportunity. Make the most out of your experience. Just don’t refuse to go back home once the period is over.

Janet Anthony

Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about writing tips, education system, and blogging. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. Find Janet here: twitter, facebook, LinkedIn.

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