Applying to a university in a foreign country may – in most cases – be a pretty complicated and nerve wracking process. Even so, the experience you will get from it will be worth it. Before choosing a country for your studies, be sure to make a little research about its culture, laws, and weather in order to be prepared.
Keep in mind that you will live your next few years in a different country. That means that your life will change completely. Knowing that, you must make the necessary preparations in order to embrace the changes that are about to come.
In today’s article, we will help you remember 10 common mistakes that you should avoid when studying abroad.
1. Knowing Nothing about the Host Country
If you are committed to studying abroad, make sure to study the culture of the country which will host you for the next few years. Before arriving, you should make a little research about where will you be living, the geography and the people living in the country. It’s important for you to know how people live their daily lives and probably know a few words in their language.
2. Speaking only English
When studying abroad, instead of speaking only English, try learning a few words in the native language. Keep an open mind. You don’t have to be perfect in pronouncing the words; just say hello and listen to those unique people you meet.
You should take advantage of each situation that may improve your speaking, even if they respond in English. People who know many languages are usually more appreciated. Therefore, learn as many languages as you can to improve your experiences wherever you travel.
3. Staying in Comfort Zone
Keep in mind that a foreign country is not designed to keep you comfortable but to keep its people comfortable. When you are in a foreign country, be curious. Try their food and clothes, be curious about their beliefs, and learn their rituals and customs.
By wanting to know more and actively pursuing that wish, you will get out of your comfort zone. The whole point of being in a different country is to learn new and interesting things and to have amazing experiences. Well, just do that!
4. Carry Old Emotional Baggage
When you are traveling, your reputation may not always follow you. Therefore, you have the chance to be your true self. People don’t know your past or your goals. So, you are free to express yourself in your unique way. Being able to express yourself is a rare thing, therefore don’t fake it.
5. Too Much Technology
Make sure that technology won’t stay in your way. Disconnect from everything for at least few days. Give yourself the chance to experience the food, the views, the people, and everything that the country has to offer. The world should be seen through your eyes, not through a screen. Use this time to learn through experience. Be completely involved in this wonderful experience.
6. Traveling Without a Diary
Every adventurer must have a journal. Therefore, you will have something to look back at. We are talking about a journal not a blog. A pen is needed in order to write down your wonderful experiences.
Taking notes about every event that happens while plunging in another culture is what you should do. Probably you will even have the chance to meet your true self. Anyway, this diary will be of much worth in the years to come.
7. Only Traveling in Groups
It’s a wonderful thing to travel with your loved ones. But you should take into consideration traveling alone as well. While traveling alone, you are able to experience everything in more profound ways. When you are alone, every emotion and feeling tends to get more powerful. Take the time to be with yourself.
Maria Stain part-time editor at UKbestessays and passionate travel blogger says:
“I was traveling with my family since I got married in 2009, it was great, and we had an amazing time. This year I wanted to go on a solo trip to Peru, just to see how it would work out for me. It was the best experience I’ve ever had. I had plenty of time to meditate and think about my life. Now, I’m a changed person.”
8. Allowing Fear to Be in Control
Never miss out incredible opportunities only because of the fear factor that is involved. Experience everything you can while you are abroad. Conquer your fears, look for interesting people to meet, and never hold back.
9. Thinking That Local Laws Don’t Apply for You
Remember that even if some things are done differently from where you come from, that doesn’t mean that if you break the local laws you won’t be punished. You will get arrested for breaking any law exactly the same as a native would be. Therefore, before leaving your country make sure to study the laws of the country you’re heading to.
10. Partying Too Much
If you are hungover almost all the time, it will be hard for you to see all the beauty around you. Many cultures have different opinions about how much is normal to drink or how you should behave while you are drunk. Don’t make a fool of yourself. The drinks are the same all over the world, try something new.
Studying abroad will be a much more fun and interesting experience if you will manage not to do any of these mistakes. Traveling is all about learning while having fun. Therefore, keep an open mind and go see the world.
Joan Selby is an ESL teacher and a blogger; a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and a fancy-shoe lover; a writer by day and reader by night, giving a creative touch to everything. Find her on Twitter and Facebook