Last Updated: August 26, 2021
Living as an International Student
Students who wish to go abroad for higher studies will mostly consider the procedures up until leaving to be the most difficult part of the whole experience. They will be surprised to learn that while moving into a new country is a task, adjusting and living in the new space will turn out to be an even more challenging task.
8-Steps for Managing Student Life in a New Country
Getting used to a new culture and new country is not an easy process. Most new students usually feel homesickness and some are even likely to be mildly depressed due to the same. But there is no need to worry because there are some tips that students can make use of to make the acclimatization process faster. With a little diligence and effort, these tips can make living in a foreign country a fun experience that will change one’s life for the better.
1. Researching About the Destination Country
One of the first few things students ought to do as soon as they receive the acceptance letter is to learn as much as they can about the country they are moving into. Starting from Google searches about the country and locality one is going to, candidates can also lookup blogs and vlogs that explain the living experience of the city. Getting familiar with the place names and knowing about personal experiences from alumni or the local people will help the student understand the space better. It will also let them connect to the space on a virtual level before they even step foot in the country.
The initial research to be done can be about the culture, festivals, cuisine, folklore, and other fascinating information about the country. From here, students will be able to learn more about the specific locality they go to and even learn about the cheapest restaurants and grocery stores they can go to once they reach there. Knowing as much as one can about the destination country will ultimately benefit the student in umpteen ways they would have never thought about before.
2. Overcoming the Culture Shock
Students who go to study abroad, however they may be aware of the culture and lifestyle of the place, will get a culture shock of varying degrees. This is going to be the first and hardest step in their life abroad. Students will have to move to the new country with an open mind that is ready to accept the new culture just the way it is. While this doesn’t mean that the student has to shun their own culture, it does imply that the student will be free to merge their own culture to the new setting to not feel estranged.
Every place will have a character of its own which might have taken centuries to form. Accepting the culture without relying on negative traits that one might know through hearsay is one of the best ways to cope in the new country. Though one might tend to stick to people from their own nation, they will be able to adjust and experience life better if they step out of their comfort zone and engage in local activities. Ultimately, the student will have to put in their best efforts to understand and learn about the culture and language of the place if they wish to acclimatize to the space rather than waiting for the process to happen by itself.
3. Learning the Language
Though being fluent in English is enough to be part of most foreign countries, it will do students well if they take the extra effort of learning other languages while in the new country. Understanding the local tongue will let students blend in with the crowd and learn more about the customs and traditions of the place than sticking to one language will do. Most foreign countries will have more than one language as their commonly spoken tongue. Even learning phrases that can be used in one’s everyday life will be of great help to students.
4. Coping with Being Away from Home
Traveling abroad for higher education will be one of the greatest adventures in a student’s life. It will also mostly create a pathway for future adventures in the lives of students. But one of the major drawbacks of this journey is having to leave one’s comfort zone and family behind. Getting lonely and even being depressed to an extend is common for international students until they have created a new comfort zone for themselves within the new country.
Students who are traveling away from home for the first time will most likely do better if they carry a bit of home with them. This can be in the form of food, books, souvenirs, etc., or something personally associated with home by the student. They will also be able to cope better if they focus on what they have come to the country for. Constant reminders of how they can go back to their country after the completion of the course will also help the student survive their years of study without much hassle.
Unlike a few decades ago when communicating from abroad was nearly impossible, students now will be able to keep virtual contact with their family and friends for as long as they want through their phones. If the student is willing to work extra hard during their duration of the study and earns a substantial amount, they will also be able to visit their country once a year during vacation.
5. Goal-Oriented Coping Strategies
While going abroad is an adventure, it is still an adventure with a purpose. The purpose here is to make use of the excellent academic space available to them to excel in their field of study and either stay or return as an asset in the field. Though students will have to deal with the struggles of missing their family and having to look after themselves day after day, they should ultimately focus on their studies and career.
Having a set routine for every week and sticking to it is one of the ideal ways in which students can master their life as a student abroad. But such routines should also include time for socializing and practicing life skills without which the whole purpose of studying abroad will be defeated.
6. Maintaining Finances
Maintaining one’s finances is an important aspect that students will mostly figure out through a trial-and-error method. Since students who go abroad will still mostly be in their early 20s, they are prone to be ignorant about the nuances relating to earning and spending money. One of the first things students should do is to find a steady source of income in the form of part-time jobs or internships that will be able to help fund their daily expenses. They should also develop a sense of saving money which will let them have financial security at the end of the day.
It will be best for students to keep a budget and stick to it by noting down both the fixed amounts of money they have to spend in a month and even the most mundane expenses they might have. Students must also always keep a specific amount of money as a backup for emergencies since they will be living by themselves in a foreign country.
7. Keep Track of Visa/Job/Immigration Rules
Students must always keep an eye on the changing immigration rules and laws of the country they are moving to. Being a foreigner in a country will be a challenging experience for students who would have previously taken similar news to be of not much consequence to them. This is the same for all students irrespective of the course or country they have chosen to be in. They will have to keep their passport handy at all times and will also have to cross-check the expiry date of their passport and renew it at the earliest if it is about to expire.
Students who plan to stay in the same country after the completion of their course will also have to pay attention to the visa and job rules and regulations the country might update for foreign nationals.
8. Growing One Step at a Time
Moving to a new country for either job or education is a challenging task. The process becomes comparatively tougher for students in their early 20s who would probably have no life experience in functioning as an adult right from earning an income to paying all their bills. But this will probably be the turning point they will require on the way to excellence.
Students must keep some room for errors and trials in this journey where they are bound to fail a few times before they master the art of living. The tasks they have been assigned will initially seem troublesome considering how the student is new to the whole process. But with practice, they will be able to master these tasks and juggle both career and education while enjoying life at the same time.