Studying abroad has always been a challenge for most students. Not living in your native environment comes with several challenges too: uncomfortable cultural norms, homesick symptoms, or the lack of motivation are just a few of the issues.
Besides these “normal” problems, some students may experience challenges that are unique and related to their own way of living. Even in this case, you must understand that all these problems are not permanent and that only by facing them you will be able to get rid of them.
Therefore, let’s find out how to conquer our deepest problems. Here are 7 problems that you might experience while studying abroad, and also their solutions:
Have you ever thought that you might miss your mom’s cooking, your crazy sister, or your favorite stuffed animals? Feeling homesick is normal, and most students experience it mostly during their first few months away from home.
In order to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling, you may try to get involved in some new clubs or just start enjoying new activities like yoga, meditation, or journaling. However, try avoiding activities like scrolling on Facebook or talking excessively on social media, as these will only increase your homesickness. Focus on making new friends and experiencing new outdoor activities.
2. Getting Lost
Getting lost in the middle of a place that you barely know is quite a scary feeling. This will happen, so try not to freak out!
So whenever you get lost, the first thing you should do is eliminate the panic. Keep in mind – you’ll get out of this uncomfortable situation. So, before adventuring in the city, make sure to have a few maps, a few helpful sentences, and a bit of courage. Travel guidebooks are great in these situations. But the important thing is that you will find your way back home, so even if you get lost, enjoy the adventure.
3. Staying Motivated
You just arrived in a completely new environment and teachers expect you to pay attention in class and focus on the study? How can this be even possible? You could instead spend your time exploring the city, visiting museums, making new friends, and having a good time.
First of all, you should remember that your academically studies are the reason you came to this particular country. If you do not focus on getting good results at school, you may lose your scholarship, and this might lead to getting kicked out of the university. Instead of seeing classes as a burden, try perceiving them as a part of your growth and exploration process.
4. Feeling Like an Outsider
When you’re in a completely new country, with a language that you can’t understand, you might feel lonely. You might even feel a little bit out of place, but that will very soon change so don’t worry!
In order to get over this loneliness, try to understand that locals do not see you as an outsider, and that you are totally welcomed. Making friends with locals will help you a lot throughout this process. Try volunteering for different activities that are beneficial to the community. This will get you a lot of friends in no time.
James Smith, writer at SuperiorPapers wishes to share his experience:
“My first time studying abroad was such a powerful experience. When I first arrived I felt so lonely, and my only friend was my dog. He was my best friend and I couldn’t leave him at home. I started going out, exploring the city, and I slowly managed to meet other foreign students. In just 2 months I was feeling like home, I build a few significant relationships, and I felt like I was dreaming. I was much more confident and everything seemed to be exactly how it should be.”
5. Wishing to Stay Forever
You love everything about this new place, and you’d wish this never to end. You feel more confident than ever, you already made a lot of good friends, and every part of you is extremely satisfied with this new “YOU”.
You should understand that every experience in life needs to end in order for a new one to begin. So, returning home should be seen as a new challenge and something you need to do in order to move ahead. Try to maintain this new “you” and present it to your family and friends back home.
6. Running Low on Cash
Whatever you do, managing your budget will always be a challenging task in case you’re not heavily supported by others. You just arrived in a new country, and spending money is a must if you wish to explore and feel good in the city. No one can blame you!
In order to avoid running into this problem, make sure to set aside at least $200 bucks. Transfer it to your parents or to a separate bank account so you won’t feel the need to use them. So, if you run out of money, you will have an extra $200 to survive until you get home. When your running low on cash, remember to focus only on the necessities and forget about your expensive desires. But don’t worry if you still run out of money, Bank of Mom is there to save you.
7. Language Barriers
Communication problems are normal when you’re new in a foreign country. Everything is part of the experience so even if you have a hard time ordering a meal, or making yourself understood, remember that this is an opportunity to learn and explore. Don’t be afraid!
In order to make this process easier, you may take the time to study and familiarize yourself with a few expressions and cultural habits that will definitely come in handy at some point. Don’t be afraid to speak.
Even if you’re struggling to speak their language, that’s not a reason to feel bad or anxious. People love when a foreigner speaks their language. So, your attempts are good enough for other people to appreciate and help you whenever you ask them for something.
As you can see, there’s nothing to worry about when studying abroad. Even if there are challenges that you must overcome, they will only make you stronger. You will truly feel “life”. You will learn how to manage your time and money, two aspects that seemed impossible to attain while living at home. Enjoy your experience and never look back!
Brenda Savoie is a content marketer, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romance novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Check her blog BestWritingClues. Find her on Twitter and Facebook