5 Most Common Study Abroad Problems with Solution
Studying abroad, arguably, will be the best experience of your life. However, there are some unavoidable challenges that you’re likely to face when going off to a new place to study. Although you get a newfound sense of independence by opting to study abroad, however, like all worthwhile adventures, it will get a bit overwhelming at times. But don’t worry; you’re not the only one who’s feeling this way. Here are some of the most common study abroad problems that you might run into while away from home, along with tips on how to deal with them. Take a look.
1. Language Barrier
Even if you choose to study in a country that speaks your language, there will be subcultural slangs and unique dialects that can still be difficult to understand. This is likely because there is no possible way to learn a language such that you can understand every idiom and regional slang that native speakers incorporate in their speech. And you may stress out considerably, seeing that you have to communicate and manage on your own in an entirely new environment.
Make an honest effort to get acquainted with local cultural norms and slangs, while putting your learned language skills to use as much as possible. However, there is no need to get too hung up on the geographic/linguistic differences that are there. You can also take help from translating apps on your smartphone such as Google Translate to communicate with the locals.
2. Feeling like an Outsider
When you’re exploring the new surroundings on your own, it’s quite easy to feel like an outsider. However, you must not let this fact get your spirits down. It’s understandable that you will need time, like others, to adjust to a different environment and lifestyle than you usually operate in.
Take as many walking trips around the town as possible. The sooner you get out there to explore the surroundings, the more comfortable you’ll be sooner. Instead of getting cooped up between your curriculum and dorm room, you must try making friends and spend time with them exploring the nearby restaurants and places to unwind.
3. Struggling with the New Currency
If you’ve never left your country before, the prospect of going off to an entirely different place can be overwhelming, especially when you have to manage your expenses using a new currency. While you may wonder how your usual currency translates into the new denomination, you may also feel that there’s just not enough money. There’s no need to panic because your loan for higher education will suffice for your education expenses.
Familiarize yourself with the new currency that you’ll be using while studying abroad, even before you’ve actually landed there. Make sure you understand the conversion rates between the two currencies and carry enough of it when going out with friends or exploring the new place on your own.
4. Tackling Homesickness
For many students, the prospect of studying abroad and living on their own, away from friends and family, can be quite daunting. Anxiety can easily become a huge problem for you if you lose confidence about taking care of yourself in a foreign country, especially when your near and dear ones cannot come over to comfort you.
Bring photos of the family with you and learn how to make overseas phone calls. You can even ask your friends/family to write you some supportive notes and letters in advance. These letters will help you stay strong in times and enhance your comfort level.
5. Cultural Misunderstandings
No matter where you go, cultural misunderstandings are almost unavoidable. You will have to prepare yourself for some embarrassing slip-ups and awkward moments as you get familiarised with the new culture and traditions. You may witness activities and behaviours that you haven’t seen before, or you may unknowingly act in a way that’s offensive to the native people, though it may seem normal to you.
You cannot learn every custom and cultural nuance that exists in a given country before actually visiting there. Therefore, you need to maintain a flexible and a respectful attitude when interacting with the locals or making your way around the new place. If you end up upsetting someone by accident, make a genuine apology to them and learn from that interaction. You can also learn a lot by watching people around you and asking questions to them.
Study abroad may have its fair share of problems, but the entire experience will definitely be a memorable one for you. While you may feel overwhelmed by the fact that you would have to leave your loved ones to live in a strange place, or that you have a huge financial liability because of the education loan for abroad, you would still be benefitted by the experiences and the stories that you’ll live through to tell your friends back home. Live it up while you have the chance to explore a new culture, and don’t take any problem too seriously. In a new country and among different people, you need to be flexible and have an open mindset.