Students thinking about studying abroad may think they’re facing several hurdles in achieving what they want. In fact, these hurdles can actually put a lot of students off studying abroad altogether. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some of the most common issues that students face abroad, and how you can overcome them.
Lack of opportunity
Many students feel as if they just don’t have the opportunity to study abroad if they want to. This often happens when their school doesn’t’ offer any kind of study abroad opportunities. If your school isn’t helping you, you need to look further afield. There are plenty of study abroad programs you can take part in that won’t be arranged by a particular college. Some research and planning can help you get what you want.
Dealing with bureaucratic procedures
Before you move away to live and study in a different country, there’s going to be a lot of forms to fill in and actions you have to take to get into the country. This will include opening a bank account, getting a visa, and more. It can all feel very overwhelming and many students want to throw in the towel at this point. However, you can get help. Your study abroad team at school will let you know exactly what you need to do, and you can find a lot of help online, too.
All students have worries about their finances, but this is especially true of students who travel abroad. Can they afford the travel, accommodation, and living costs on top of college fees? There are several ways you can cover your costs. You can apply for specialist scholarships, look into funding through your school, and save cash before you move away. In Canada, you can get part time work as a student too, so that’s a good way of funding your studies.
As a student living abroad, you’ll want to live somewhere that’s safe and comfortable, as it’s literally your home away from home. It can be hard to find accommodation though, especially if you can’t go check it out before you move. Online tours can help you get to grips with the layout of student homes, and your school or program may have recommended places that you can check out to live in.
If your country of choice for studying abroad doesn’t speak the same language as you, this can be a source of anxiety. Can you really learn if you’re attending classes in a language you’re unfamiliar with? The best thing to do is to start an intensive language course as soon as you can, and pick up as much language as you can. Once you’re living abroad, you’ll find that you’ll pick up the language even more, as you’re immersed in it.
Depending on where you’re from and your own background, you may not be used to living independently. Students in countries such as Canada will be expected to look after their own needs while they’re studying, and that can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Luckily, it is easy to pick up some essential skills before you move abroad. Many sites will have tips on how to cook, clean, and take care of your home. In fact, if you have any question about independent living, Googling it will give you the answer you need.
No matter how prepared you feel you may be, it’s going to be hard to adjust to living in a new culture. You need to learn what’s expected of you and what’s considered to be good and bad manners. If you know anyone who lives in that country already, they can help you get used to the culture. If not, online research can help a long way. You will always make mistakes though, so be ready to apologise and take action to rectify what you’ve done, and you’ll find it a lot easier to fit in.
Studying in a different country can be a shock to you, as their practices can be very different. For example, lectures in your new country can be very practical, whereas in your country they’re more formal affairs. It can be difficult to acclimatise to this change. If you’re find it hard, talk to the staff at your college, or with friends who are already studying there. They can help you get to grips with how studying works here.
Studying abroad can be an intimidating experience, but also a very fulfilling one. These are hurdles you’ll have to jump, but you can do it with the rest support behind you. Don’t let your worries get in the way of you getting a new and unique experience.
Bio: Rachel Summers is a freelance writer whose passion is helping students get the most out of their learning journey. She started out as a writer and journalist in the newspaper industry, including UK Services Reviews, before breaking out to go freelance and follow her own passions. Her writing is designed to help you get the most out of college, and beyond.